A lot of people have been writing about Detroit lately and why the one-time economic powerhouse is now a bankrupt echo of wasted opportunity. Most of it, coming from the usual suspects at MSNBC, is a lie designed to direct the public’s attention away from the oil – the lifeblood of the Motor City – on their ideological hands.
The problems of Detroit are not so much economic one; they were caused, for the most part, by political corruption.
Unlike most of those opining on television and in print, I was born in Detroit, in (the now gone) Mt. Carmel Hospital. I grew up six blocks outside the city’s limits and one block on the “bad side” of 8 Mile Road in a lower-middle class neighborhood called Redford Township. My father drove a forklift for Fisher Body, a subsidiary of General Motor, for 30 years. I went to Wayne State University in Downtown Detroit, lived in the Cass Corridor, worked a roofing job throughout the city’s worst areas and, even though I moved to Washington, D.C., in 2001, it’s still the place on Earth I feel the most comfortable.
I’ve never known a thriving Detroit. The economic powerhouse that was once called “Paris of the West” was long since gone by the time of my first memory, but I heard stories, and the shell of what once was can still be found.
Detroit is not the “conservative Utopia” Ed Schultz wants you to think, nor is it a place with a government “small enough to drown in your bathtub,” as Melissa Harris-Perry called it. It’s also not, as David Sirota wants you to think, the result of trade policies and the “conservative movement’s larger long-term economic priorities.” Detroit is the petri dish in which progressive policies and monopolistic political corruption joined forces to kill what could’ve been America’s economic crown jewel.
What once was still is visible in Detroit. The skyline is as beautiful as anyplace on the planet…from a distance. Beautiful stone skyscrapers rivaling anything in New York City become husks of urban decay when you get close enough to see every window smashed.