It amazes me that protest groups march, taunt, disrupt and demonstrate over issues that have little to do with the overwhelming despair faced by the average Detroiter. None has made the slightest contribution to the improvement or advancement of the city. These political mercenaries have boundless expertise in running their mouths — and nothing more.
The UAW, AFSCME, NAACP and Council of Baptist Pastors, among others, are busy holding news conferences or blocking traffic. Their supporters have staged 1960-style marches with the intent of painting Gov. Rick Snyder’s emergency manager decision “anti-democratic.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network has taken to the airwaves to accuse the governor of attempting to undermine voting rights and “the will of the people.” The Rev. Jesse Jackson added his tired voice to the mix.
We know that the Detroit vote is mostly lost to apathy, a self-imposed disenfranchisement. In non-presidential elections, for example, voter turnout in the city is around 20-percent. And there’s no evidence that political power has done much to reverse the deterioration of the city.
Who ordained these pseudo-champions of the people as the only legitimate voices of Detroit? Where did they get the moral authority?
These hypocrites have never run a business or created a job. They sat on the sidelines as unemployment among city dwellers swelled to more than twice the national average. They looked the other way as the city became deluged with untenable levels of crime. They helplessly observed generations of uneducated children become hopelessly mired in poverty.
By their silence, they sanctioned the fracturing of families. Neighborhoods plagued by deplorable abandonment and blight were beyond their powers of prevention.
Further proof of their impotency is a long-festering sore associated the violence visited upon the young. The same people that feign concern about the fiscal crisis were AWOL when it came to diverting high-risk children from criminally violating the life, liberty and property of their neighbors. Missing are principled, committed role models who feel obligated to get down in the trenches and wage war against self-generated destructive forces among the aimless young. It is this leadership “void” that allowed the urban terrorist to become a sad commentary of how the moral outrage about Snyder is misplaced.
The sum of these pathologies is directly or indirectly linked to “pretenders” that now shamelessly advance conspiracy theories to justify the absence of solutions. Rejected is any suggestion that the “enemy within” makes the city immune to self-reliance, resourcefulness and recovery. And nothing will fundamentally change if their anti-Snyder crusade derails the EFM process.
The utterings and actions of Jackson, Sharpton and their self-promoting clery-cult followers are more attuned to holding Detroiters in psychological bondage than helping them rise above their miserable condition. Intoxicated with their ability to generate media coverage, these power-mongering agitators use divisiveness for political advantage — or to get paid. It is they — not the system they rail against — who have failed the people.
It is not a betrayal to criticize these articulate but dysfunctional demagogues for their shortcomings. Too many communities became neglected and desolate under their watch. The survivors are left with a social and economic calamity that won’t be corrected through civil disobedience or further exploitation of the downtrodden.
Sadly, those who identify with their messages of doom find pleasure in wallowing in a perpetual state of victimhood; self-righteousness, self-pity and anger. Liberating them requires an uncompromising resolve by “authentic” leaders who are capable of playing a responsible role in containing the sinkhole that slowly swallows the city. Unfortunately, Detroiters may have to look elsewhere for the voices of reason.