Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Newt Gingrich: Detroit collapse should be centerpiece of Fall campaign

I sometimes wonder whether Detroit -- this decimated wreck of a once magnificent city, which was once hailed as "the Paris of the Midwest" -- is an icon of the future of America; whether there could be anything to the notion that as Detroit goes, so goes America. ... Nawww, I tell myself. Surely not:
"The collapse of Detroit from 1950 to 2008 should be the centerpiece of the Fall [presidential] campaign.... If we can't have an honest conversation about how big a disaster Detroit is, we sure can't have an honest conversation about poverty in America, and we sure can't have an honest conversation about what needs to change. It's that simple ... And I think that virtually no one on the left is prepared to talk candidly about Detroit, because it is their institutions and their culture which has caused the collapse of one of America's great cities. You may think I'm exaggerating, but consider the folilowing. An entrepreneur offered 200 million dollars to develop charter schools in Detroit and was rejected on the ground that he was obviously a white racist attempting to overturn the black power structure. 'I am disappointed and saddened by the anger and hostility that has greeted our proposal,' exclaimed Thompson to the Associated Press. 'Because of these contentious conditions, we are not going to move forward with our planned charter high schools. Our proposal to build a number of new, very small charter schools in Detroit was intended to increase options for Detroit parents and children. The proposal was meant to be for kids and not against anyone or any institution. Now what does it tell you about pathology when you can have a system failing ... and remember, if you're an African-American male, and you drop out of high school, you face a 73% unemployment rate in your 20s, and a 60% chance of going to jail. And you have to ask yourself, by what moral authority did the Detroit school bureaucracy block 200 million dollars from saving young men from going to jail, from giving them an opportunity to go to college, from offering them hope; and why did no one speak out against it?"

Newt Guingerich, "Liberals and the fall oF Detroit." (YouTube)

[Newt Gingrich is author of Real Change: From the World That Fails to the World That Works (Regnery, 2008). Hat tip to Carolyn Binder-Scapone.]

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