Thursday, June 19, 2008

...In a Name

If I had to pick just one non-existent question that my many fictitious readers ask me all the time, it would almost definitely be "What's the deal with with the name of your blog?" Well, fictitious readers, I couldn't be happier that you asked! Some elaboration...every year Michigan's civic, government, and business leaders head to Mackinac Island for what I can only assume is significant quantities of fudge consumption (don't be gross) and horseback riding (again, don't be gross). I think they may even manage to fit in some time to discuss the most current and pressing issues of the mitten. Prior to the conference this year, Edsel Ford II, great-grandson of Henry Ford, was interviewed by The Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh. In this interview, Mr. Ford declared:

"We want our kids to stay here. We want them to be of Detroit, like we are of Detroit,"

Tom Walsh expands on this viewpoint:

"His choice of words about his aspirations for young people is compelling: We want them to be of Detroit.

Not from Detroit.

Of Detroit.

It suggests not only that they live here now, or did at one time, but they are molded and formed from this place and these people. And that that's a good thing. Or at least it used to be."

I have heard more than my fair share of mind-bogglingly dumb and poorly constructed inspirational quotes. However, the unique statement "of Detroit", while arguably grammatically incorrect, touched my soul in a way that finally motivated me to start writing my thoughts on the interweb. Perhaps the last thought of Tom Walsh struck me more than anything else. He implies that possibly being of Detroit is no longer worthy of pride. I don't think that this is what he is truly saying, but rather I think he is challenging us to reflect on whether pride in our city and state is something for which we will fight.

Who, but us, has the right to define what we are allowed to be proud of? If we do not choose to own strong pride in our cities and state, then why would anyone outside of our boundaries think anything better of us? When I get the jesting question from an acquaintance who lives in a different part of the country, "Why would you want to live there?" I answer, "Because I choose to. Because I love it."

I am not apologetic for my state, its industries, and the people who live here, and while you are free to your opinion Mr. California, Mr. New York, and Mr. Florida, we don't need you to spread uninformed and close-minded derision simply because, in your opinion, things are a little bit better where you are. Stand up and fight for your state and don't accept the harsh words of non-natives just because Michigan has been the whipping boy for the past several years. If we don't stop people from shooting their insults at us, then who else will? Furthermore, why would opinions outside of Michigan change unless we each do our part to make these opinions change?

I am Of Detroit. I am Of Michigan. We are Of Michigan.

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