Let’s face it -- Tuesday’s Michigan Primary is all about the GOP. Those living in Detroit will most likely not vote. In fact, Detroit’s Bureau of Elections predicts just 10-12 percent of Detroiters will vote – And Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum know it. In fact, the entire GOP Presidential candidate’s know it. That is why, other than separate appearances at the Detroit Economic Club, Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul all stayed out of Detroit, instead focusing on raising money and building support in Detroit’s suburbs and out-state areas.
In an election, victory is built on dollars and votes, so who can blame them for doing what they have to do build support – They are not going to find it in Detroit. However, although money and the votes rest outside of Detroit, it is Detroit and its history that should take center stage.
Detroit serves as a beacon for the soul of the American Spirit. Romney, Santorum, Gingrich and Paul should each spend more time in the Motor City. Even though Detroiters will most likely not vote in the GOP Primary, their individual stories represent what is both right and wrong with America today. So each should’ve sat down at American Coney Island or Lafayette Coney, in Eastern Market or at Slow’s BBQ to talk to Detroiters about the issues plaguing their lives, as I guarantee it is the same issues affecting those in Milwaukee and Mesa, Portland and Providence Town and communities in between.
In fact, the candidate’s journey to Detroit should’ve started at Ford’s Rouge Factory Tour. There, they would’ve learned about an entrepreneur who spent his evenings after work trying to perfect the automobile. Once that was done, the entrepreneur, Henry Ford, revolutionized how cars and other products were manufactured by creating the modern day assembly line.
Ford did more than just improve the automobile and the process by which he made it. He doubled the wages of his employees and found a way to make a quality car cost effective. By doing so, he improved the lives of millions of ordinary people, by creating the middle class. A group of people that could now afford to not only pay for their first home, but also drive the very car they helped build.
When the Great Depression rocked America, Henry Ford kept the lines moving and kept the employed working. When President Franklin Roosevelt declared war on the Japanese, Ford and the other auto companies stopped car/truck production almost immediately, to fund and support the war industry by creating the Arsenal of Democracy. Finally, during the 1970’s Ford and the other auto companies did not just give up, they found a way to reinvent themselves and made cars more fuel efficient.
Love us or hate us, Detroit are America, and represents what is wrong and what is write with it. Detroit is the soul of America. Detroit is a city that remains flexible and resilient. In fact, no matter what challenges Detroit faces, we face them together. Take that away and you take away the American Spirit. On Tuesday, Detroit must not become irrelevant it must become the central focus of the campaign, even after the election is over.