Wow, three posts in one day! My mind is being invigorated by being in school again! Especially after last year’s sophomoric environment…*ahem*. Anyway…
So my musings in the previous post about Humanity’s condition being on a pendulum swinging between good and bad made me think of Detroit’s flag. Here it is:
Inside the center circle there are two figures: one lamenting the fire that destroyed the City in 1805, and the other consoling her, signaling toward the new City. The Latin words to either side of them, “Speramus Meliora” and “Resurget Cineribus” mean “We hope for better things” and “It will rise from the ashes”. (That’s the translation from Wikipedia. While I don’t know Latin proper, I speak Spanish, so I can say that translation is accurate enough, if not the most poetic wording.) I knew about the Fire, but I had never thought about the symbolism of it as it relates to today; it struck me how the theme of Rebirth has been with the City since so close to it’s…uh, Birth. People have been going on about Detroit’s current Renaissance for a good while now, and it seems we never quite get to be Reborn. Hence, the title of this post. So, we need to propel ourselves forward and help Mama push us out.
I think many of the signs of Detroit’s decline and one of it’s insufficiencies (the lack of a good mass transit network) can actually work in our favor. That there are currently no trains (Sorry, People Mover!) is good in that it means the City doesn’t have to replace a clankety, rusty system, but can install the latest in light rail rapid transit. Just imagine those sleek machines shuttling people to and fro about our region. Yummy! That it has so many vacant lots, called the ruralization of the urban, is good because it keeps the City from feeling over-stuffed, and can be transformed into green spaces for enjoyment and the protection of the environment. Don’t know about you, but I think plants deserve some gratitude for kinda, you know, keeping us alive. And those beaten paths diagonally across big, open fields make me feel like I’m walking in an RPG. (Yeah, I’m a Geek.)
The ultimate symbol of a Rebirth would be, not the Renaissance Center, but if the old Michigan Central Depot could be renovated and become once more a hub of transportation. (Those of you not familiar with Detroit’s historic architecture, Google Image search it. If you’ve seen the movies The Island or Transformers, to name a few, you’ve seen this grand building.) Yes, it would take a gazillion dollars. But it would so be worth it! I’m sure hipsters who pride themselves on entering the fenced-off building and tagging it and those who delight in taking “deep” photographs of Detroit’s decay would be pissed off if it were restored to glory. No offense intended to the hipsters or photographers, it’s just that a lot of them don’t live within the City proper so it bothers me when they come to gawk at our demise, call the photos art, and return to their manicured lawns in the suburbs and talk about how bad Detroit it. (I know, it’s not a regionalism-fostering sentiment. I’m defensive of my home. Sue me. …I’ll work on it.)
Lastly, I think we need to stop waiting on Mama to push us out and realize that we need to help ourselves out of the birth canal. So much of our City and region is in our hands. Don’t like to see litter in the streets? Then don’t litter. Don’t like to see drug dealers and prostitutes? Then stop doing drugs and hiring the prosties. Don’t like the shape of our schools? Then shape our kids to be good students before they get to school. And if you need help to stop littering, doing drugs, hiring prostitutes, or being a model of someone who enjoys reading to the young’uns, ask for it. Did I just get on a soapbox? Yes. Getting off now.
So, here’s to hoping the good midwife will be declaring our Rebirth soon!