With the news out of Detroit this morning that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his former chief of staff Christine Beatty have been charged with a slew of felonies, I'm left wondering what to think.
I don't live in SE Michigan anymore, and even when I did, I never technically lived in the city of Detroit. But don't think I didn't care what happened in Detroit, and don't think that I still don't care what happens in Detroit.
I had the pleasure of working in downtown Detroit for well over a year and while I hated the rush-hour commute to my home in the suburbs, I loved working in the city. The sights, the smells, the tastes, the people, the noise, the entire experience that was Detroit was great. Even the unpleasant part was still an experience that shouldn't be missed.
Working there and visiting there for conferences, events, friends, and everything in between only furthered my love of the city. Say what you want, there are very few places like Detroit and I think all of us should experience Detroit at least once in our lives, because if nothing else, it's a part of Michigan, and a part of who we are as a people and a state.
For me, Detroit is a great underdog story, and there's nothing I love more than a good underdog to root for. It's the perfect candidate because while it lacks much now, you need only look back to what it was (pre-1967) and you see what it could be. There are so many people now moving back, and there's a lot of revitalizing going on, and so many more who are starting to look toward investing in the city, whether it be through a business or a home. There's just so much promise, and I'm tired of feeling that for every two steps the city takes forward, there's another three back.
It's exactly that kind of defeatist attitude that has caused so much of the flight and blight that has brought Detroit down. The city has made progress, a lot of it, but there's still so much to be made. Kwame Kilpatrick was a fresh voice for the city, and I think most of the state was relieved to see him be brought on when he first got elected. But now, well, now it's time to continue to put the city first. Regardless of these charges, they are a massive black eye on the city, and the entire Text-Gate episode has stolen the show from the real player, the city itself.
So let's get back to business, put the drama where it belongs, off to the side, and let's focus on moving the city of Detroit forward with the hope, dedication, and promise that it deserves because it's so much more than just one man and his legal troubles. When Detroit moves forward, Michigan moves forward, and we all benefit in the end.