One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Detroit Will be Fine, I'm Sure

That's it. I'm throwing in the towel.

Some days, I just want to give up. Detroit's reputation will never be fixed. People's grim outlook on the city will never change. There is no redeeming such a bedeviled place.

Chatting with a neighbor yesterday, she quoted her husband to me: “He says the rest of the world believes Detroit has no value, no purpose, no right to exist. There is nothing good here in the eyes of everyone else. Any small moves we make toward improvement are ignored in belief that Detroit cannot be changed or saved.”

And, you know, there are times when I kind of believe it, too.

So what do you do about it? Write a blog for a year about how many baby steps Detroit has made over the past 12 months? Nah, I don't recommend it. Because someone will write something else about crime, guns, murder and other hideous facts that will completely turn your comments around and make you look weak, small and misinformed.

Could I start a movement to change even one parcel of land here? Nope. I don't think urban farms will make a big difference until there is a true agenda here – political or personal. And I don't think the city's residents really believe a few crops here or there will make their lives that much better or healthier. Just me talking here.

How about I fix a playground or install some public art? Don't think so. It will get defaced, moved or ignored. Kids will untie the swing, break the slides. Adults will mock the art and belittle my efforts as useless or ineffectual. Nope. Not going there at all.

Perhaps I could volunteer a few hours a week to read to some preschoolers. Some people might think that would affect the lives or one or two children, and they might go on to greatness. Maybe. But I just can't find enough time between my bigotry, pedicures or house shopping to do it.

How about I join a task force? Sign up for a lecture? Run for office? Move into the city? Start a business here? Offer to tear down a broken house or office? Rather not. That means I'd care about Detroit's fate, and I'm better off worrying about the two vacant homes on my street. After all, that affects my property values, and that's more important than what's happening in Detroit.

So you see, I'd had it. Today, I'm not interested in fixing Detroit or even hoping. I'm just going to be one more anonymous commenter, using a fake name to put some misery out there for the rest of the world to read. That will keep me safe and secure. I'm not ready to solve anything. Detroit will be fine, I'm sure of it.

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