The Rachel Maddow Show | March 14, 2013
MADDOW: You are looking at footage from Detroit , Michigan . This is not slowed down to look unnaturally slow looking. Activists in Detroit for the fifth time are taking to the freeways as of yesterday to drive super slowly during rush hour to protest the impending takeover of Michigan 's largest city. Michigan Republican Governor Rick Snyder made it official today on his order Detroit will be giving up the ability to elect their local officials in favor of a state appointed overseer who can just do with the city whatever he wants. Joining us now is one of the activists behind the freeway protests in Detroit this week pastor David Bullock . He's the national spokesperson of the Change Agent Consortium . He's the president of the Detroit chapter of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition and of the Highland Park Chapter of the NAACP . Pastor Bullock , thank you very much for your time tonight.
REV. DAVID BULLOCK, CHANGE AGENT CONSORTIUM SPOKESPERSON: Thank you.
MADDOW: Do you intend to keep going with these protests, this type of protest specifically now or other kinds of protests now that an emergency manager officially is taking over Detroit ?
BULLOCK: Indeed. We intend to escalate our protests. Rosa Parks sat down in the wrong seat on the right bus and disobeyed a law because it violated her human dignity. We are on freeways, on the right freeway going the wrong speed, because the law emergency management violates our dignity. And our only recourse at this point is protests, it's rallies, it's civil disobedience . But we will not turn around and go back in the corner. We're going to fight for our rights.
MADDOW: One of the hallmarks of civil disobedience is that it is often disruptive to the lives of people who are not participating in the protest. You get in people's way of interrupting what is essentially day to day normalcy to point out and dramatize what you are protesting against. That said, are you worried that you're just making Detroit mad at you? Do you know if you are persuading people rather than alienating them with this type of protest?
BULLOCK: Indeed, it may be inconvenient for some. We've gotten a lot of positive feedback, though. People who say we're with you. We were stuck in traffic today, but we understand that this kind of protest, this civil disobedience is needed to bring awareness to the effect of emergency management on disenfranchising democracy. Think about the inconvenience of having your vote taken from you -- the inconvenience of having democracy destroyed, the inconvenience of knowing that when you go to the ballot box in august or November, that really your vote has no value. I think that inconvenience far outweighs the temporary inconvenience of being stuck in traffic for a few hours.
MADDOW: We have been covering the emergency management phenomenon in Michigan for a long time now. You and I have had several discussions about it. And the feedback I always get whenever we do a segment on this in the show is -- oh, Maddow , you just don't understand how serious the financial problems are here. If you understood how big the problem was, you wouldn't be raising a stink about what it takes to get an emergency manager installed. In thinking about that critique, we have been looking at the track record of emergency management , whether it's actually effective at getting these towns and these school districts out of bad financial situations. It seems like Michigan keeps taking over local democracy on the promise that that will let them fix these towns. But the towns don't get fixed by this process. Why do you think that is?
BULLOCK: Emergency management does not work. Look, it hasn't worked in Benton Harbor . It hasn't worked in Flint . It hasn't worked in Highland Park or Highland Park schools. It hasn't worked in DPS . The bottom line is, there is no connection between a financial turn around and dismantling democracy. There is no relationship between taking people 's right to vote, between disenfranchising their elected representatives and some kind of financial turn around. The emergency manager doesn't come in and bring tax revenue, doesn't come in and bring fire and police. Doesn't come in and stop violence. The emergency manager does not come in and even target or hone in on the long-term systemic problems that have led to the financial crisis . This is not a solution that's viable.
MADDOW: Pastor David Bullock , the national spokesperson of the Change Agent Consortium . Keep us apprised as this protest campaign continues. I think you're poised for more national discussion of this, these issues in part because of the way you are disrupting daily life in your city right now in order to do that. Pastor, thank you very much for your time tonight.
BULLOCK: Thank you so much .
MADDOW: All right. The annual conservative-o-rama known as CPAC started today in Washington . And what an o-rama it was on day one. Stand by. That's next.