AP Photo/Reed Saxon
If you currently live in Detroit, or you're a former city resident whose heart is still here, then you've surely experienced your share of embarrassment over how the national media has treated your great city over the years. Surely, you're used to the gross disparity between negative and positive stories about the city, and there's no doubt that you've been beyond tired for a long time of people telling the wrong story about the city of Detroit, but it just seems like things have been worse than usual lately, as we've been avalanched with an inordinate number of disparaging stories within the past few months. The question is, what are you going to do about it?
The recent articles, events, surveys, and images have been particularly hard to swallow, with early October's fiasco at Cobo Hall leading the way. On Wednesday, October 7, 2009, a much-maligned city government attempting to turn the page on a dark and corrupted chapter in its history and prove its competence and professionalism took some major steps back, as they presided over an absolute disaster at Cobo Hall, where the Detroit Police Department gang squad was called in to control the outbreak of scores of fights among a long line of 30,000 people vying for 3,500 applications for government assistance for rent and utility bills. This fiasco demonstrated a gross lack of respect for the poor and/or jobless in the city of Detroit, as well as extraordinary ineptitude on the highest levels.
With some proper prior planning by the City of Detroit office and due diligence by Karen Dumas and the city's communication department in issuing press releases to the proper, predominantly black-patroned media outlets, including all Radio One stations in Metro Detroit (AM 1200 WCHB, HOT 102.7, 105.9 Kiss FM), as well as the Michigan Chronicle at least one week before the event, such an embarrassment could have ben avoided, but since these things did not happen, the city got hit with yet another black eye while still trying to rub cocoa butter on the other eye.
This news came in the midst of several other stories and reports that have all served to cast an ominous shadow on the city. Among the many news items were various articles about the city of Detroit ranking last in the nation in cities in which to raise a child, a Sports Illustrated article disingenuously reporting the Detroit Tigers' failed pennant chase this past summer as one galvanizing a broken community, and a TIME Magazine article about the rise and fall of the city by Detroit native Daniel Okrent that has come under much criticism by writers and informed citizens all over the city. These and other news items have created a 'pile-on' effect for citizens in the city of Detroit, such an effect that has outraged residents all over the city.
The question is, city of Detroit, what are you going to do about all of this negativity surrounding our city? You can take a similar approach to Michigan Chronicle editor, Bankole Thompson, and get upset enough to produce an article simply pointing out incomplete truths asserted in articles, or you can go one step further and let your voice be heard through the democratic process that has been established in this country. On Tuesday, November 3, 2009, you have the opportunity to respond to both the perception and perpetuation (through gross incompetence and lacking professionalism) of negativity by voting. If you are unhappy with the direction of this city and are finally ready for change, you have the opportunity to elect bright, new, visionary leadership that can help propel this city forward.
Those who are Christians know God has empowered you to stand up and set the tone for governmental authority, not the other way around. (For a definitive analysis of the role of Christians with respect to government, Please check out this article.) Just as the word of God teaches the importance of good stewardship of finances (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 6:38), followers of Christ are to be good stewards over all things in their purview, including their vote. Empowered Christians who care about their community thus must commit themselves to making intelligent, informed decisions about the people who will set policy over their places of residence.
Detroit, you have a chance to do just that on Tuesday, November 3. After a plethora of television and radio debates, articles, forums, and other events, you've had ample opportunity to evaluate all candidates for City Council, Charter Commission, and Mayor, as well as the bond proposals directly affecting the city. If not, thanks to technology and the world in which we live of instant information, you have a chance to review this thorough resource page from the Detroit News covering all of these issues before you vote tomorrow.
If you're outraged, want your city back, and truly ready for change, you'll vote intelligently on Tuesday. If you live and vote in the suburbs but still care about the city of Detroit, you'll get informed and consult with your city-resident friends before they vote.
People of God, this is too important a time not to let your voice be heard. Walk in your empowerment and VOTE!