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The Detroit Double Standard, Cold Weather And Cold Hearts

Is there a Detroit double standard occurring right now? Is it the cold weather that makes for cold hearts toward the plight of the troubled iconic city in need of help? It is inconceivable that Americans would let Los Angeles or Taos go bankrupt, shuttered, dark and desolate, so why is this emerging ghost town being ignored?

The Detroit Double Standard

Detroit landmarks

DIA, Montage of Detroit
Photo courtesy: Yassie CC-BY-SA-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The flood of support (vocal or financial) for this hometown disaster has been dry, but why? Is there a double standard between California (or New Mexico) and Michigan?

Now that the motor city has run out of gas (and cash) it is being shuttered block by block, and becoming increasingly dark, desolate it is being wholly ignored and embarrassingly forgotten about.

By now everyone has heard about the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy, which is the largest municipal bankruptcy in US History. It is baffling to think that a town tougher than steel, could give up so easily.  Detroit is as American as muscle cars and Motown. Yet it’s all quiet and going dark on the North Eastern front, except for the reported gunfire pops in the night.

Detroit Double Standard

Photo: FBI, MS-13 gang member being arrested, Los Angeles, CA

Most people associate Detroit with guns and violence, thanks in part to the aggressive media portrayal and recurring designation as “America’s Most Dangerous City”, yet people do still intentionally reside in the city of champions, including its extensive list of homegrown celebrities.

Of course Henry Ford was a resident of Detroit along with a long list of change-makers, trend setters and a plethora of talented artists and empowering individuals who are still choosing to stay in the dilapidated districts even today. The loyalty to Detroit expressed by its homegrown natives is strong and vocal, and the list of famous athletes, actors, musicians and business men and women and politicians is extensive, making it even more puzzling that none of the living and influential celebrities are rallying to save the city.

By the numbers, here’s just some of the native “Detroiters“:

  • 52 business leaders including Henry Ford, Jimmy Hoffa, Mitt Romney and Stephen Ross

  • 130 musicians such as Eminem, Kid Rock, Bob Seger, Glenn Frey, Iggy Pop, Jack White, Madonna, Stevie Wonder, Ted Nugent, and on and on…

  • 97 famous sports figures and at least 30 famous writers

  • Michigan official became a state of the union in 1837, California subsequently became a state in 1850.

  • Michigan has the largest state forest system in the nation and also boasts the highest number of registered snowmobiles.

Detroit Motor City

1969 Ford Mustang Boss
Photo: By OSX (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 Attracting people to live in Detroit is not an easy task and is partly to blame for the high crime rates as shuttered homes and business are a normal sight on any given street.   Now the non-profit group “Write a House” is literally giving homes (3 to start) to writers-for free. The group Write a House along with the Young Detroit Builders are buying and fixing up homes through a crowdfunding project on Indegogo, not only teaching young people about contracting and building, but further lighting the creative fire of the resident population.

Where is The Spirit of Detroit?

Between the musicians, business leaders, politicians and the influential resident roster, one would think that passion and planning would converge to save the city and preserve its all American heritage, yet it seems easier to raise money for Typhoon Haiyan. Besides selling the of precious works of art from the Detroit Institute of Arts and selling off the rest of the cities assets, a clean slate is just what everyone is hoping for, a rebirth of sorts. The city is also moving forward with plans to build a new $444 million arena for the Red Wings, beginning January 2014 which is predicted to open 8,000 construction jobs in the region.  Sadly they may all be working in the dark since last week it was reported that less than half of Detroit’s 88,000 city lights are not working and there’s no plan to shed light in certain dark corners of Detroit.

We are told that when the government ceases to operate anarchy takes over, yet for Detroit, instead of anarchy the perhaps a renaissance or rebirth of sorts could arise. While it may not be warm like the creative mecca of Taos, New Mexico or be not hot and trendy like Los Angeles, with the right leaders and population of creative residents there could be hope for the iconic city.

Perhaps we should all find one thing we can do for Detroit this holiday season. You don’t have to buy a new car, but if you do make sure it was made in Detroit, buy the new Eminem CD (seriously), buy a Red Wings jersey for someone you love, we should all do something as Americans.

Since 2010 there have been 38 municipalities trying to file for bankruptcy, many of which have been formally dismissed by judges.

About Tonya O'Dell