Is Michigan our future?


We are now back from yet another road trip that has hauled us back and forth across nearly 2,500 miles of Midwest over two weekends.  We got all sorts of weather during our travels – glorious sunshine, pouring rain, mean little sleet, patchy fog.  Here is the Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, late Friday night, seen from Fort street and shrouded in cold fog.

This visit to Detroit made me sadder than I expected.  The state legislature had just blitzkrieged through the surprise “right to work for less money” bill in the lame duck session and is now rushing though several other ugly laws, among them anti-women’s health care measures and even an anti-sharia law.

Driving around Detroit at night has become an unusual experience, simply because across so much of the city, the street lights are no longer turned on after dark.  They are just ornaments of another time, when the city gathered together people for art and commerce, and provided services in the collective interest.  This weekend, nearly every residential neighborhood we drove through was dark, except for lights shining from private homes.  The glittering city, the social contract– that’s not Detroit.  Much of it is as dark as North Korea.  This is a new thing – I don’t remember it from even a few months ago.

When I began writing here, I swore I would not do ruins porn.  But on this visit I acutely felt how Michigan has been the vanguard for the dismantling of the United States – the place where the early experiments in destroying our way of life took place, and are ongoing, and have been so very successful.

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