Over the last twenty years Detroit, once one of American’s absolute rock star cities, has been many things: crime-ridden, shrinking, failing. None of it prepared us to ponder what it is today, and that is bankrupt. It’s hard to even know that that means. But we’d better pay real close attention, because what happens next could be terribly important for our nation.
First we have to understand what it is that contributed to a response to losing a foundational industry – in this case the auto industry- that ultimately resulted in the nation’s largest-ever municipal bankruptcy. It is in all likelihood a decades-long string of denial, missed opportunities and bad decisions. Then we have to muster the best minds and most creative approaches available to re-build this city that is, make no mistake, doing a lot of things right. They just aren’t enough. It’s as if this hitting bottom needed to happen to begin the return to health. Let’s hope it works. Not just our country needs a strong Detroit, but because it needs a strong Milwaukee too.