I think this is going to be my last word about the news of the past week — at least until my next word — if only because it is making me crazy in ways I can’t quite put my finger on. At least, until today. Brian Dickerson’s column in the Freep today did exactly what a good column should do — it made a point I hadn’t heard made before, and made me say, “Exactly.”
But if the geographic and meteorological particulars of Louisiana’s emergency are outside Michiganders’ experience, its political dynamic is startlingly familiar. The essential ingredients for mayhem — a black underclass isolated by poverty and substandard education; a local leadership void exacerbated by federal neglect; an outmanned police force unable to communicate with itself or its counterparts in neighboring jurisdictions — already have been assembled in Detroit.
Add any disaster of comparable scope — a terrorist attack, for example, or an earthquake that leaves most homes and commercial structures uninhabitable — and it is easy to foresee our own region unraveling in precisely the same way, its mobile middle classes scattered to sanctuaries in Traverse City or Toronto as the black city writhes in unrelieved agony.
What Detroiter watching New Orleans’ freshman mayor could not imagine Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick cast in the same role, raging profanely from exile about the indifference of white Washington bureaucrats?
And I just wrote about five more paragraphs about that, but just deleted them. What’s the point? If it happens under a presidency like this one, or another like it, we’re just screwed.
Also, you should read John Scalzi’s “Being Poor.” If you don’t get it then, well, there’s no hope.
Let’s lighten up.
Did you know there were gay car enthusiasts? I never thought about it. Hey sport — nice bumpers.