On New Year’s Day, when the crisis failed to materialize, one Ohio newspaper ran this huge headline: We’re Still Here.
Well, this holiday season seems a bit like that. Okay, well, we’re still here. Too many of us still don’t have jobs, true.
There’s a fair share we could be gloomy about.
We don’t have a Michigan State Fair any more; we’ve lost the Michigan Promise Grant scholarship, and we are losing a seat in Congress. The Lions are still mostly losing, the Tigers are mediocre, the Red Wings are a little better, the Pistons, are really bad.
And of course, standards of taste prevent me from saying anything about Michigan football.
It was a trifle dismaying this week, when the U.S. Census bureau informed the nation that Michigan was the only state in the union to actually lose population during the last decade.
However, there are things to be happy about. Two years ago, we thought General Motors and Chrysler might be gone by now.
But they’ve reconstituted themselves; they are all still here and making money, and there are even cars people are excited about, like the Chevy Volt.
Whatever your politics, it’s been a disappointing few years. Our elected leaders in Lansing failed to get the job done, either in reinventing the economy or dealing with the deep-seated problems that give us huge deficits every year. However, things are about to change. We elected a new governor this year, a man few of us knew anything about a year ago. He doesn’t take office for another week yet, but there are reasons to be hopeful. Rick Snyder says he isn’t interested in the squabbles and pettiness of the past.
Someone close to him tells me he intends to focus like a laser beam on recharging and reinventing the economy.
No matter how successful he is, we need to remember we aren’t going to get back to prosperity and full employment overnight. What we are doing is getting ready to move beyond the shadows of the past. That’s happening in Detroit. The city finally seems to given up on the Kilpatricks.
Any chance of a comeback for the former mayor seems to have ended forever with the massive federal indictments filed this month; in August, voters told his mother they didn’t want her to be their congressman any longer. The city and the state seem to be moving into an era when we are looking for government by grownups.
Which isn’t all bad. There is bound to be some tough sledding ahead next year, but here’s a couple things to remember.
The days at least are now getting longer. Unemployment is beginning to fall. And Nevada, the state that grew the fastest in the last decade, now has a jobless rate higher than Michigan.
There are almost ten million of us still here, and some of the nicest scenery in the world. There are things to celebrate this holiday season. And Michigan is clearly not ready to roll over and die yet.