First, my position: I have more positive sentiments for President Obama than negative. I am a lifelong GM driver and just purchased a new GM product (that I can’t wait to talk about when it gets here). I have this weird passion for Detroit.
Now, my frustration: I wish President Obama hadn’t picked a GM plant as the stage for his talk of fixing Detroit.
Here’s why, and this is an outsider opinion. I know my friends in the 313 will set me straight, if I’m wrong: What Detroit needs isn’t a return to more car jobs. What Detroit needs is what Pittsburgh needed: a new identity.
You Are NOT Your Job
The brilliant and talented and hard working people of Detroit were not born to be car company employees. They were born to find ways to fulfill their passions and to add something to the greater society. This doesn’t require one to have a badge at the formerly Big 3. There are other ways to the finish line.
The Frontier is All Around Us
Tune into groups like Motor City Connect, who spends their time connecting passionate business people together. Connect with the startup community and the media community in Detroit. Look for the new stories, the green sprouts coming up around the fallen trees.
This isn’t the writing off of the auto industry. They’ll do just fine. But that’s not what makes Detroit Detroit. It’s just part of the heritage, the DNA.
I live in the Detroit-Before-Detroit of northern Massachusetts, home to the horse-drawn carriage manufacturing center of the universe of the way old days. We are not the where of our old job badges. We are the where of bright minds and passionate potential.
Connect. Make. Grow. Support.
And Mr. President, go find Terry Bean and the rest of the smart people of Detroit, and let GM and Ford and Chrysler do their thing. Please and thanks.