As the deadline for registering to vote in the August 7 primary is one week from today, I thought that now might be a good time to publicly commend a certain local landlord for defecting from the ultra right wing America First Party and professing his allegiance to the party of Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank and Barack Obama. If you walk past his property on Washington Street, of course, you’ll still see his John Birch Society materials scattered about, but, as Mike Eller announced officially that he’s running as a Democrat in our City Council primary, I can only assume that he’s been too busy celebrating our recent health care victory to lug all of his radical right wing propaganda to the trash bin. The alternative, and I hate to even consider it, is that he’s not really a Democrat at all, but just running as one because it’s the politically expedient thing to do, in a city where the winner is almost always decided in the Democratic primary. I’m sure that’s not the case, though. As someone who prides himself on being a man of character, I can’t see as how that would be possible.
Speaking of the America First Party, I’ve just spent the last few minutes skimming through their past platforms, and I can see why someone might be inclined to pack up in the dead of night and flee screaming. The stuff is crazy, even by the Republican standards of today. Not only are they unabashedly homophobic and anti-immigrant, but their views, as far as I can tell, contradict one another at almost every turn. For instance, they spend a great deal of time talking about the sanctity of human life, but then argue that we should bring back the death penalty. And, they talk about how important it is to protect the Great Lakes and our public lands, but, in the very next breath, call for the immediate destruction of the Environmental Protection Agency and all laws that would seek to protect these precious natural resources. And the rest is just a crazy mish-mash of paranoid conspiracy theories, like you might expect to hear from an untreated schizophrenic on a park bench. For instance, it would seem that they don’t believe that “date rape” exists. Furthermore, if I’m understanding correctly, they believe that our seat belt laws were enacted at the behest of Chinese communists. Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but they also don’t believe in the separation of church and state, and feel as though all foreign aid should be eliminated. And, here’s my favorite part. They have a cure of AIDS! Isn’t that exciting? Here it is… “AIDS: The first politically-protected disease. The Cure: Not one Dime (from Government). That would cure it in a hurry.” And, as if that weren’t offensive enough, they also argue that “the Black man” is worse off as a result of civil rights legislation. You know, that terrible legislation that allowed them to attend decent schools, ride public transportation, drink from water fountains, marry whom they loved, and vote. [note: These America First folks also apparently like to capitalize random words.]
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that this fellow who is running for City Council in Ward 3 isn’t sincere about his newfound love of Democratic principles, and that he’s just looking to ride the current anti-incumbent sentiment into office… Is that wrong? I mean, I know that it’s morally reprehensible, but is it technically wrong? And, if so, is there any recourse? Can any action be taken when a person switches party affiliations in order to sneak his way into office? Can the Democratic Party, for instance, do anything about it? Can they deny someone from running with a “D” beside his name? (My guess, given that Democrats couldn’t stop former KK Grand Wizard David Duke from running in their primaries is that nothing can be done, but I thought that I’d ask.)
Regardless of what he really believes, since he’s the one guy on the ballot who stood firm against the proposed Ypsilanti income tax, I’m sure some Democrats will vote for him… It’s kind of sad, but some people just don’t do their homework. Or, worse yet, they just don’t care.
update: For the most part, I got the comments that I was expecting. This one, however, kind of surprised me. It comes from a reader calling himself Ypsi-Republican.
i don’t care what mike eller’s stance is on aids or ponytails or date rape BECAUSE IT DOESN’T MATTER.
i only care that he’s fiscally conservative and against taxes. that’s the kind of leadership this town needs.
ypsilanti doesn’t have the platform to make policy on aids or to keep ypsilanti out of the united nations.
a vote for eller is a vote for a new ypsilanti. if that means less ponytails, then so be it.
“That’s the kind of leadership this town needs,” indeed.
[If you don't know whether or not you're registered to vote in the August 7 Michigan Primary, you can find out here.]