I’ve given up defending Detroit. In the last three weeks I have spent most of my time in Canada and it’s become quite apparent to me that you learn most about your homeland through the eyes of others. There was once an analogy that I thought was pretty insightful -- it went something like this... America is like a child’s ant farm. There is a maze of tunnels filled with workers, everyone is busy, there is much excitement. The rest of the world is a child who doesn’t like ants.
I’m not sure that analogy was very good. I’ve heard others say that the child is a Martian who does not know what hands are, or is that the child has a giant rock and smashes the glass and the ants don’t enjoy true freedom from the world they created.
I can tell you that whenever someone hears I am from Detroit they explain the wonders that they had as either positive or scary. This I can understand. What I describe individual aspects of Detroit, things that’s a Detroiter would find important, they are quick to let me know of the bad opinions. There is an acronym for Ford which I will not repeat, and they are clearly not a vehicle that is a much admired. When I try to defend Ford and explained that of the major American automotive companies Ford is doing very well, that is very stable, but it didn’t take money from the government’s they brush me off quickly to tell me about Toyota.
When discussing sports I’m quickly shut down. While Detroit boasts one of the greatest hockey teams of all time, a long standing tradition of baseball, a dominating basketball team, and long time Arena football champions others are quick to point out the Detroit Lions suck.
On Sunday I called in to one of my favorites radio programs. It’s a show that discusses history in respect to current events. The upcoming episode focuses on taxes. I pose the question why some states get more federal dollars or services, like Alaska, then other states like Michigan. While their answers of how this came to be where insightful the final conclusion they gave was “Michigan needs fewer residents to get more money.” My only response “I’ll see what I can do”. There has been a mass exodus over the last few months from the great state of Michigan. The slow drip and drainage of my peers moving to Chicago and other major cities has been consistent all my life. There is not much more I can do.
I distinctly recall an article in Newsweek in 1988 reporting that more people are born in Michigan leave Michigan and eventually returned to Michigan to die than any other state in the union. How they track that number I haven’t a clue.
It’s true I’m leaving. You can say I’m throwing in the towel. You can call me nasty things. I love the big mitten we call Michigan. I love the little button located above us. In all my travels there is no finer state, no kinder people, than that of Michigan. I’ll only leave if there for all to read, I love Michigan. One day I shall return. But until that day I will only refer others to read this blog. I win the argument with everyone.