Saturday, 20 November 2010

Detroit Motor City and Motown - The Buggered American Dream


It must have been growing up in the 60s and 70s and with most of my spare time spent and I must say; immoderately chained to that Box, the Television; and that somehow gave me the impression back then, that America was positively’ the land of milk and honey. I also often wondered back then, why were we in Britain so far behind them, why was it that most Americans portrayed on the TV lived in big large houses, devoured no-end of supper hot-dogs and gigantic burgers after which they would take a spin in the open top convertible to the beach for a spot of surfing on the crest of a wave?"

But then again, on the other hand, there were some clues that gestured the American Dream was not all it was being made out to be. It was The Waltons’ believe it or not that shattered some of my illusions, and gave me a good idea that America really was no different to anywhere else on the plant. I must say that I did and still love that programme which was repeated so many times. The plot was just charming, although the more serious side was about The Walton family, consisting of John and Olivia, their seven children, and John's parents Zebulon "Zeb" Tyler and Esther Walton, struggling to make a decent life during the Great Depression up until World War II. The family's story is seen primarily through the eyes of John-Boy, and I’m sure you will all remember The Waltons’ and possibly like me with some fondness.

I broke the habit of a compulsive disorder long ago, that of being addicted to the TV and don’t own a set anymore, although the licensing people refuse to believe me, but that’s as they say another story.

The one thing that I am sure about, and that’s the effects of the Great Depression upon the working class of 1930s America, would have been a lot more difficult, backbreaking and arduous.

But I wonder how does it compare with the America of today? Now we all know about the crises that started in America two years ago, the foreclosures of homes, and the escalating joblessness of working people.

Some states it is being reported are close to complete bankruptcy.

Motor City and Motown now Rubdown!"   

But what I want to focus on in this post and bring attention to those that stumble upon this site, is the very serious and dreadful situation in the sprawling region of the US known as the Metro Detroit area, with a population of 4,403,437 making it the nation's eleventh-largest populated area and domain. Many will be familiar with the name and heard of the city of Detroit which is known and made famous first the world over by it’s place taken in the history of the automobile industry and then secondly by the popular music legacies celebrated by the city's two familiar nicknames, the Motor City and Motown.

The Metro Detroit which includes Detroit; and I do hope that I am able to respectfully add and not in an abrupt or discourteous manner, is indeed cogent evidence that the American Dream for a great many is dead and buried; if at all it ever existed in the first place. It seems very strange that when we hear, read or see reports about America, there is a news blackout when it comes to the true and full picture, is this deliberate or not I do sometimes question. For what would the world reception be if the real horrors created by the system of capitalism were to be reported in the mass media on a frequent basis, would it awaken many to start and question for themselves, the oh so baron a rock upon which world capitalism rests?”   

In three short years it is estimated one out of four people in the Metro Detroit region won't know where two of their daily meals will come from, according to the United Way for South-eastern Michigan. In 2009, there were 706,000 people hungry in Metro Detroit; by 2013, 952,000 people could be in need. These are the people who will suffer most with any rise in food prices. Meanwhile, Detroit remains blighted by over 13% unemployment, which economists don't expect to drop for years.

God's helping hands

The Detroit News reported three day’s ago; that Lingering double-digit unemployment is projected to fuel a hunger crisis in Metro Detroit over the next three years.

"The biggest challenge is how much free and low-cost food is available," said Gerry Brisson, senior vice president of Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeast Michigan, the largest provider of emergency food in the state.
Gleaners will increase its food distribution — last year at 37 million pounds — by 10 percent each year for the next three years, joining other agencies in Metro Detroit looking to dramatically ramp up food distribution — some by as much as double — in the next three years.

One grasps the enormity of the crises when you read that Many Metro Detroit families already are feeling the strains of a food shortage — the long waits at the pantries, rationing at soup kitchens and agencies resorting to cheaper filler foods — pasta, breads, canned goods — to fill more stomachs. The agencies also are turning to unprecedented solutions by offering food-budgeting classes and tapping new sources to rescue discarded food: farms, hydroponic growers and food manufacturers.

The real picture is best painted by those who try to help; here is a taste of the sheer real frustration of a battle to keep many alive, and can you believe in the richest and most powerful nation in the world.

The word and testament are the real evidence that the system dose not work for the majority, and summed up in the following statement from that above mentioned Detroit New article:

“At God's Helping Hands, drops in food supply mean sending families home with less: two cans of fruit, instead of four; one box of cereal, not two.
"Sometimes, that breaks your heart, but there's nothing we can do," said Cain, who founded the pantry 12 years ago with her husband, Brian Cain. "We have never turned anybody away. …We don't want to start now."
On a recent morning, a half-dozen seniors and mothers waited outside the office on Star-Batt Drive a half-hour before doors opened. Once inside, a staffer handed each person a paper stub with a number — similar to those pulled at butcher counters — and then directed them into a waiting room. There, they sat silently until their number was called. On some days, volunteers distribute sandwiches and water.
Elizabeth Huff, who is hypoglycemic, gratefully accepts the food.
"Standing there in line or sitting there when I should be eating — it's not a good combination," said Huff, a mother of two from Rochester Hills.
Out of work for a year, Huff relies on pantry food, her monthly food stamps ($59) and jobless benefits ($350). Her husband, meanwhile, earns $8.10 an hour working as a clerk at a nearby Speedway gas station.”

So what I have learnt about the working class people of the Metro Detroit area of Michigan in the great USA, confirms the words to be true of that old British music hall song:

Time has flown - outcast and homeless
In the street she stands and says,
While the snowflakes fall around her,
'Won't you buy my bootlaces.'

It's the same the whole world over,
It's the poor what gets the blame,
It's the rich what gets the pleasure,
Isn't it a blooming shame? 

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