Column: Detroiters need investments, not Hollywood
The Motor City has a great and illustrious history of being the automotive capital of the entire world. Born and raised in metropolitan Detroit, I take umbrage with anyone from the outside who depicts our storied city in a less than flattering light.
On Aug. 4, Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s long-awaited period crime film “Detroit” will hit movie theaters nationwide. This controversial film will focus on and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 12th Street Riot that wreaked unparalleled sociological and economic devastation upon the entire Detroit area.
As a proud son of Detroit, I have a vested interest in Bigelow’s latest cinematic offering and hope that her movie doesn’t just reopen old wounds and revisit social issues that have long simmered just below the surface of the Motor City for a half century. The film will touch on the particularly sensitive issue of race relations and Detroit’s police department, and I hope the film doesn’t just stir up acrimony without offering a ray of hope and way forward for all of us who love and cherish Motown.
Detroit can be reborn spiritually and economically — and it starts with you and me. The city does not need government handouts, but a clear economic plan for all its citizens, irrespective of our neighborhood and racial demographic.
Detroit can be reborn if all its residents and neighborhoods experience economic prosperity through viable small businesses and working relationships with successful companies that already exist throughout the city, or new ones that want to open up.
I recently spent time with family and friends in the Detroit area during the Fourth of July holiday and took time to drive around much of the city. While I am impressed with the major economic revitalization currently underway downtown, I was equally distressed to see the same crime-filled, blighted and dilapidated neighborhoods throughout the Motor City that have not reaped the same economic benefits enjoyed by those downtown.
Instead of producing sensationalized films that cast aspersions upon Detroit’s police department, we should focus on a way out of the sociological and economic carnage that has plagued Detroit for over a half century.
Spiritual and economic revitalization is the answer to the ills that have long beleaguered the fine residents of Detroit. There is hope for Detroit, and the entire city can rebound and once again become the economic envy of the entire world.
The answer does not lie in government subsidies and entitlements, which act as a placebo that masks many of Detroit’s economic woes. It is time for the fine residents of Detroit to move past the failed entitlement policies of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” legislation that for over a half century have robbed the Motor City of incentive, rewards and ingenuity.
I would like to humbly petition the companies and individuals in Detroit who are working hard to rebuild the downtown area of the city not to forget all the neighborhoods of the Motor City.
If liberty and economic prosperity are enjoyed by all the residents and neighborhoods of Detroit, the city will become that “shining city on a hill” envisioned by our forefathers.
Together we can rebuild Detroit, better and stronger than ever before. I don’t need a Hollywood movie to tell me about life in Detroit. I was born and raised in the Motor City, and together we will rebuild our great city.
Lee Enochs is a graduate of Detroit’s Holy Redeemer High School and is currently pursuing his master’s degree at Princeton Theological Seminary.