Thursday, March 13, 2008

An idealist gives up

An op-ed in today's Free Press gives powerful voice to the despair felt by many frustrated idealists living in Detroit.

I commend the author, who is choosing to leave Detroit, for having committed herself so passionately to her neighborhood, and I sympathize with the frustration she feels. But I think part of the problem is her implicit notion that her individual effort would transform the city. Dedicated citizens have been sacrificing themselves for years to the cause of Detroit without getting anywhere. To effect real change, we need realistic expectations and a realistic time horizon -- transforming a city takes time! More importantly, we need community, both to multiply the impact of our efforts and keep each other sane as we struggle to revitalize this "dangerous, dirty, neglected and decaying environment" that we nevertheless love.

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