One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Our election day

Today is a monumental day in Michigan and across our country. It is Election Day.

Like so many others, I will cast my ballot, dragging two small future voters along with me. Granted, the weightiest thing in my city is the local council and a school millage. But my friend is running, so I hope my vote will put her into office.

In previous elections, I haven't cared much about Detroit. I have never been eligible to cast a vote in the city. I've never owned land in Detroit. I've never even rented an apartment there. So I never had a stake in its politics – or so it seemed.

As a former employee of a Detroit-based company, I knew who the candidates were and watched the election results – but always with a sense of derision.

That is because Detroit politics are full of characters, good and evil. The whole thing seemed like a hot mess. Two words: Kwame Kilpatrick. And let's not forget this is a city council where members verbally and nearly physically attack one another, claim they are being electrocuted through their seat or resign in disgrace only when they're caught by federal agents.

This year is different. This year, I feel I have an investment in the election's outcome, both personally and professionally.

The blog makes me care about Detroit more than I ever have. For some reason, writing about the city for Assignment Detroit has made me feel like its parent – so in love with this grubby place that I feel dizzy with emotion.

As such, I want the city to succeed. I want people on the inside – and the outside – to feel as passionate about the outcome as I now do. I want those within Detroit to vote. And I want those in the suburbs to really get involved with this city, this election and Detroit's future.

Here's why – and allow me to wander a bit here. Last week, Detroit dedicated the new William G. Milliken State Park and Harbor.

Formerly known as Tricentennial Park, this huge area was renamed for Bill Milliken, who was governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983 – a living legend indeed. At the ceremony, Milliken talked about “a new Detroit.”

Here are some of his comments, taken directly from his speech:

“The simple truth is that if one cares about the future of Michigan, it is not enough to care just about the Great Lakes or our undisturbed areas. To care about the future of Michigan means we all must care about the future of Michigan cities, particularly Detroit.

“For far too long, the politics of division have played too large a role in Southeast Michigan and throughout the state. Division by race, division by economic status and division by geography have all been exploited – and continue to be exploited – by some for their own short-term political gain. But in pursuing their own narrow personal interests, they only hold Michigan back.

“To me, the measures of real leadership have never been associated with promoting our differences. To me, the measures of real leadership involve searching for common ground as we work to develop responsible public policy.”

It's time to care.

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  • 1

    I for one would like to see a major cange in the City on the day of elections. Some new fresh faces, and a diverse group would be great both young and old, working to make Detroit a better place for everyone. I will keep my fingers crossed.

  • 2

    I guess it takes 4 times for the public to vote to elect Dave Bing as mayor. Once he is elected today he and his staff can get down to business of resurrecting the city.

    For the first time in a long time the slate for city council offers hope that all elected members have the best interest of the citizens and the city at heart. Put the criminal activity and other comical nonsense behind us and do what is right for the citizens.

    Hopefully, newly elected city govenment will start to recognize that the heart beat of Detroit is not down town but in the neighborhoods. It is the people that will make this city great again, not the buildings or institutions that have been idolized for way to long.

  • 3

    Much like you Karen, I grew up just outside the actual border of Detroit and didn't really care about what happened inside the borders; except for the occassional trip to Belle Isle or to see a show at the Fisher. But now I have a vested interest in the city and the wellbeing of it's citizens. I work for a credit union and have been touched by soooo many people in Detroit. I have heard first hand the stories, both good and bad, about the city and its survival. I have watched the faces of students light up as I hand over a $1,000 check for their future education, or get a hug from a member when they got a loan they never thought they could get, or a helping hand when times were tough. This year has been filled with tears and tough times, and even if I didn't work for the credit union, I still am affected by the success or failure of my neighboring city. So I have my fingers crossed today as a new chapter in the city's political life begins to unfold, because as someone who doesn't live in the actual city, that's the most I can do. I hope all of your readers who do have the right to vote in Detroit can help choose the leaders who will help turn things around for all of us.

  • 4

    [...] more from the original source:  A Meaningful Election Day in Detroit (Time Magazine) Filed under: Object Leave a comment Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) ( subscribe to comments on [...]

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