Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I saw broken roads and abandoned buildings in Detroit

I saw broken roads and abandoned buildings in Detroit. It can be very sad. When my daughter gave me the downtown tour, I almost asked to leave because I couldn't face the despair, but I stuck it out. It was a hot afternoon, so we ducked into a hotel for an iced coffee. There was a line in the lobby -- baseball fans coming into town for the game. The Detroit Tigers are really hot this year and Comerica Stadium has a sell-out crowd every night.

That evidence counters the sight of the ruins, so I can't support the grimmest scenario.

That same day, we drove out to the countryside to camp by a lake. The campground was full to overflowing with happy people and children riding bicycles. They may have been on their last dollar and escaping from the misery of their doubtful future. But I saw America at leisure -- America like you can only see it in the Midwest -- overfed, in lawn chairs, swatting mosquitoes in the sultry air.

I interviewed a young man studying history in graduate school at the University of Michigan. He's worried about getting a job when he finishes. But that's not news. The humanities have always been a tough sell.

I toured the Business School on the Ann Arbor campus and talked with MBA students and faculty. They are happy people. Business school is not theoretical, it's about how to get thing done. Business school is about developing a project that will solve a problem. And when you have a project that engages your mind and your heart, you tend to be happy.

I have been chided by loyal Frog Hospital readers to get off the happy face and tell it like it is. Well, the news is not all bad. I'm only writing about what I have seen, to the best of my ability.

So I have arrived at a balanced presentation of the state of Michigan. It's an awesome beautiful place, full of energetic, intelligent people, and it's really, really screwed up right now.

No comments: