Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Small Minds Fear Greatly

We are not afraid. That’s the message residents of the small town of Standish, Michigan would like to send to Liz Cheney and the rest of the fraidy-cats on the Right according to a report on Greg Sargent’s blog.

The Plum Line report includes a five-minute mini-documentary commercial released by Cheney’s group, Keep America Safe, showing a few residents of Standish who oppose housing Gitmo prisoners in the local prison.

What the video doesn’t show you is the overwhelming majority of people in Standish who support the move. The video claims that the local politicians are acting against the wishes of the townspeople. A claim like that is ridiculous. If the opposition is as strong as opponents claim then any politician who acted against their wishes would be facing a recall.

The intrusion by outside groups and politicians is reminiscent of the recent NY 23 election fiasco. Cheney’s group isn’t the only outside fear monger. The town was “blessed” by the presence of one of Michigan’s leading GOP embarrassments in the person of Pete Hoekstra R-MI shortly after the first reports that the prison was under consideration. There were other outsiders and they all had a common theme – be afraid, be very afraid.

Apparently, these outsiders don’t know the people in this area any better than they knew the people of up-state NY when they ran Scozzafava out of the race.

I know Standish well. Most downstaters have been through it many times. It’s a good pit-stop on the way to the north shore of Saginaw Bay. It’s where travelers switch to US 23 headed for Au Gres, Tawas, and Oscoda. It’s a small place. The town has around 1600 residents. Like most of northern Michigan, jobs are scarce. The prison would supply badly needed income for many people in the area. It would be a real boost to the economy.

Where do the fearmongers get the idea that they can tell New Yorkers what to think about dealing with terrorist attacks? Are they unaware of the courage New Yorkers showed during and after the attack? Do they not realize New Yorkers have been going calmly along with their lives for several years now? Doesn’t Tony Soprano live in Brooklyn? “Fuhgid aboud it!”

What business does Liz Cheney have in telling the residents of Michigan to be afraid? Does she really think we are cowards? For pete’s sake, we are the original Wolverines not these teabaggers copying a battlecry from a B-movie. (insert generic Reagan jab) The Michigan Cavalry Brigade fought in 50 engagements during the Civil War. They were first into action at Gettysburg. They were also the last troops to act in that battle when they fell on the Confederate rear guard and captured 1500 soldiers and killed another 125. The brigade lost more than 20% of their numbers in five years of war. The Michigan infantrymen were equally as brave.

Unlike David Brooks and his fellow Beltway pundits, I really do know these people. Standish is only about an hour from where I sit. The majority of people living there aren’t afraid of terrorists in that prison. They want to stay in that area. They need jobs. They want their community to remain intact. I don’t blame them. It’s a nice place to live. The big lake, Lake Huron, is only a short drive away. The bay is full of huge brown trout, salmon, and perch (probably the best eating panfish in the world). The woods are filled with deer.

Michigan is a fairly large state with a lot of hunting land. The area around Standish is mostly farmland and woods. There are a lot of people who are good with guns living in areas like this one. These are small town Americans. They like living away from the crowds. They really are likely to be more self-reliant. These people aren’t cowards. Most of them aren’t. There are always some cowards in a group. There are also people who were against the prison in the first place and they are still against it. They don’t want anyone there. Even combined they make up a small minority.

Why should they be afraid? They aren’t afraid of prison breaks. There are very few, if any, middle-easterners in the area. Intruders would stand out like a sore thumb.

The time has come to put the lie to the fear mongering, pant-wetting rants from the Right. They don’t speak for the majority in this country. There are more of us who really do believe this is the land of the free and home of the brave. Like my father and his two brothers that went off to war and returned as decorated veterans. Or, my great-grandfather Hiram who went off to the Civil War. Or, the early Allens and other ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War. I’m tired of these people making America look like it’s inhabited by a bunch of cowards.

I’ve got one message for all of you cowardly lions. WE ARE NOT AFRAID!

Oh yeah, and WOLVERINES!

[UPDATE] Article from The New Republic about Standish and the prison issue.

Another article from NPR that mentions Standish and then talks about the prison in Illinois.

Andrew Sullivan has also noticed this issue.


  1. The slow dismal piano, the clutching and cowering.  These folks need to be recognized for what they are doing: working hard to spread terror.  I could have sworn that’s what her father and the last President said we should never do?

    The City Manager of Standish dismisses the “fearmongering” video (from The Plum Line):

    But Standish’s City Manager tells us that local leaders and residents want the facility, and dismissed Cheney’s efforts as “fearmongering.”

    Cheney is “certainly not representing the views of our community,” the City Manager, Michael Moran, told our reporter, Amanda Erickson.

    While some local residents do appear to have expressed mixed feelings or opposition to the plan, Moran says that they’re an isolated minority that Ms. Cheney’s video elevates out of proportion in a way that’s “off base.”

    What’s more, the Standish city council recently passed a unanimous resolution expressing support for bringing Gitmo detainees, citing job losses in the wake of the closing of the facility.

  2. HappyinVT

    KSM and his co-defendants but I think their true fear lies in what will come out at trial about the US government and what was known when and how information was obtained.  I’m not a conspiracy theorist who believes Bush/Cheney somehow allowed 9/11 to happen but I think it is well established to anyone paying attention that they ignored key intelligence.

    Will the trial finally drive home that we waterboarded KSM over 100 times, or as Elisabeth Hasselbeck described it “chucked some water on him,” after he confessed and was cooperating?  (I’m embarrassed to share a first name, spelling and all, with that twit.)  I think the Cheney types are much more afraid of what will come out about their behavior than KSM’s.

    It’s also laughable that some lawmakers have said, with straight faces, that moving the detainees to the US will lead to terrorists flocking to O’Hare Airport and basically running amok through the streets.  We should be more concerned with the homegrown nuts, which they are enabling.


  3. sricki

    but something about the title of this diary appeals to me immensely. I have repeated it in my head a number of times — just strikes me as excellent phrasing. I am odd — pleased by small things. But in general terms, I always enjoy your wording. Your recent diary about the swans was beautifully written.

    I have a profound attraction to words, I think. I actually stumbled across one of my application essays to undergrad last night, written when I was 17. It was about the value of language and communication. It closes with:

    …Each word has its own texture, ardor, and spirit.  The English language lives and breathes; it lies dormant in our minds, imparting nothing until we demand everything, and then only granting what we have the skill to seize.  We have only to awaken it.

    I am a weirdo, I think. Heh.

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