Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Gingrich on Detroit

As far as I'm concerned, Newt didn't go far enough when criticizing Michigan. For anyone who left for a length of time and then comes back, visiting the state is like receiving a punch in the stomach. It's distressing on a visceral level.

Once vibrant towns are dead. Even Lansing, where I spent the majority of my growing up years is "sad" as my High School chum said on the phone Sunday. "I don't think it's just me, either," he said. "Lansing hasn't been the same since Oldsmobile left."

It is difficult to describe to teachers or anyone outside of Michigan the vice grip the teachers union has in Michigan. The union has one purpose: protect teachers. It is not interested in educational outcomes. It is not interested in the quality of the product. It is interested in self-preservation. Like the UAW, it is shooting itself in the foot but by different means. By so failing at the mission of teaching, citizens can't work and innovate and contribute to society. As the labor force constricts and moves elsewhere, the teachers are going to lose jobs--there will be no one to teach.

The unions have lived in denial. They have been immoral. You simply cannot get paid to not work for years, as union friends of mine did, and survive. The unions have outlived their usefulness. They committed suicide.

So Detroit, the black hole of Michigan, sucks down resources and gives back little. It's no wonder people seek greener pastures down south.

Speaking of greener pastures, Michigan has some of the most breathtakingly beautiful geography in the 50 united states. Crystal white sand dunes, lakes, forests, and gorgeous parks are everywhere you turn. Michigan also has some amazing architecture and astonishing neighborhoods that harken back to the auto industry's glory days.

My heart aches for Michigan. Without changing the hearts and minds of the people there, it will continue to diminish. It's great that Gingrich is noticing Detroit and citing her as a bad example. Wouldn't it have been nice if someone had given a toot about New Orleans before the hurricane washed up the sludge for all to see? New Orleans seems determined to stay corrupt and base. It is my great hope that Detroit will choose a different path.


Anonymous said...

I have a contact in Michigan (Port Huron area, in Da Mitten) that keeps me up on all the political gossip around Detroit. Including the musical-chairs corruption indictments and "More Black Than Thou" campaign spin.

From all his description, Detroit is not only a Third World country, it is an AFRICAN Third World country. Except the gangbangers strut down the street with pit bulls on the leash instead of spotted hyenas.

P.S. In Northern Michigan/Yooper dialect, Detroiters are "terrists", a cross between "tourist" and "terrorist".

P.P.S. Never mind Devil's Night, where Detroiters burn down abandoned buildings every Oct 30th; this explains why in Animal Cops Detroit, you see so many blocks with only one or two houses, one liquor store, and the rest all charred foundations.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Detroit was never a lovely place. I lived there when I was a little tyke on St. Mary's. We had friends who we couldn't visit without an escort into and out of their neighborhood. And that was a long, long time ago.

Anonymous said...

My only first person information about Michigan was from visiting and talking to people in South Haven and things are good there. Property values are increasing, people seem to have jobs and money, new homes being built, etc. After hearing so much bad news about Michigan in general, I had to look into it to see which side was correct.

As it turns out (no surprise to Dr C I'm sure) South Haven is an anomaly... it's one of the 2 or 3 areas of the state where property values aren't tanking. Now if property values would just tank in South Haven I could afford one of those giant houses in town within walking distance to the beach!

Anonymous said...

Big labor, poor schools, pandering to red neck lowlifes, high taxes, unsafe streets, etc. This is what Democratic socialism brings to the people.

David Foster said...

The comparison between the teachers unions and the UAW seems to me to be a bit unfair to the UAW. As far as I know, the UAW never insisted the the company retain a welder who couldn't weld, and had no interest in learning how to do so.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Actually, I'm being kind to the UAW. The teachers unions might not do anything, but at least they have to show up. The auto workers would get paid to stay home and do nothing. Of course, one could argue that that would improve the education some kids are getting--that is, if the teachers stayed home.

David Foster said...

My understanding is that the ones who are being paid for no work do indeed have to show up...just sit there and waste time. I'm sure that both management and labor, at the point wherein these contract provisions were agreed to, believed that any work shortages would be temporary--not that they would go on for years or decades.

Can't believe I'm defending the UAW, but I think a lot of government-worker unionism is something much more harmful than the old industrial unionism.

Melissa Clouthier said...

Well, I've heard the same thing, David. Now. When I was growing up, though, a buddy's father stayed home in his "shop" and did woodworking for three years before being called back.

Now, my understanding is that they sit in a room all day. Which to my mind, is like being in paid prison. I think I'd go mad. But these workers have been conditioned to be lazy and be paid. They have no economic benefit to work.

The moral decay follows the economic decay. They go together.