Glen Beck / Detroit-Hiroshima

Hiroshima after the Atomic Bomb

by Mike Schmitt

So I’m a few days behind with the whole Glenn Beck thing…
It’s March 4th and although I’ve had a couple articles and a blog post bookmarked for a couple days now, I’m just catching up. But really… I don’t feel like there’s much to say.

For you who don’t know yet, you can click through the links above and read for yourself or I’ll try to give a quick recap here:

Basically Glenn Back compared the last 50-60 years of Hiroshima’s history to Detroit.

Hiroshima was hit with an atomic bomb in 1945. Scientists thought the city would be uninhabitable for decades. Instead, they people decided to rebuild their city. Now, 66 years later, Hiroshima is a thriving metropolis. Beck points out that, yes there was some government assistance in rebuilding Hiroshima. But the majority of the work, time and money it took to rebuild came from individuals who loved their city and would not let it lie in ruins.

Over this same time period Detroit has gone from a vibrant and thriving metropolis, the “Paris of the West,” to ruins. Beck says that bad and corrupt government, corporate and union policies are what destroyed the Motor City.

Basically… yes. I would also like to point out that he neglected to mention white flight. White flight, in my opinion, was the catalyzing factor that enabled, encouraged and brought about bad and corrupt government, corporate and union policies.

But why is this news? Anyone who lives in Southeast Michigan and is honest with themselves knows this to be true. We’ve known this for decades. We’ve watched this, we’ve experienced this and we’ve lived this for decades. This isn’t news for February 28th, 2011. This is old news.

Detroit today is not the Detroit that is comparable to Hiroshima. Or maybe it is, but the timelines are just askew. Hiroshima came to its ruin in 1945. Detroit came to its ruin more gradually culminating early this century. But the phrase “will the last one out, please turn out the lights” will never apply to Detroit.

Detroit is being remade. Yes, there are some governmental changes that are helping Detroit to be remade. But not for the most part. For the most part it is people, individuals who have decided they love their city and are not willing to let it fall to the wayside.

What Glenn Beck is missing is the current. The current of Detroit has changed. The river of wealth, knowledge and education is now beginning to flow the other way. We, together, are stemming the tide of escapism, white flight and neglect. We are stirring a new direction for our city. There is a new tomorrow and more importantly, there is a new today.

There’s a song by Robbie Seay Band that says,

“And it might not be
The prettiest thing that you’ll ever see
But it’s a New Day
Oh baby it’s a New Day”

This is Detroit. And this is a New Day. And we have a new current. The current is a city on the incline. The current is a city that is being remade from the ground up through grassroots efforts and community organizers who are encouraging people to love their city and their neighbors. And what is most exciting to me about the current is the strong role the body of Christ is playing in it.

We have people reversing white flight. We have people sharing with other as they have need. We have people beautifying their homes, their blocks and their city. And they’re doing it for no other reason than to show the world that it’s a beautiful place and should be treated that way. We have CCS, the DIA and the DSO. We have food and restaurants galore. We have urban prairies with deer, pheasants and chickens roaming free. We are number 2 in the nation for fishing rod sales. By consumption, we are the potato chip capital of the world. We have more registered bowlers than anywhere else in country. We have Critical Mass, Noel Night, the Auto Show and DEMF.

We may have inherited the problems of our parent’s Detroit. But this is not our parent’s Detroit. This is a New Day and it comes with a new current flowing in a new direction… forward.

Glenn Beck was right about where our problems came from. But he’s missing where we are now. A lot of people have been up in arms about what Glenn Beck said about Detroit. I see no problem. He’s right. He’s just a bit behind the times. There’s no point in denying our history with all of its victories and all of its defeats. To deny one’s history is to deny one’s current state. And I’m proud of our current state… or should I say… City.

A few links to good things: (blatant self-promotion)
Palladium Boots / Johnny Knoxville video:
Requiem for Detroit by the BBC: (no, not the video clip unfortunately, but I do have a DVD)

Link to Glenn Beck on YouTube:
Link to Free Press article about Bing’s reaction:
Link to Patrick Reyes blog post:

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