People Are What Make the Midwest
It has not been a good week for two big Midwestern cities. Detroit is filing for bankruptcy. Chicago could be the next major city to seek protection from creditors with Illinois not far behind.
Big city problems make the news, but many smaller Midwestern cities are hurting too. From Danville to Dubuque, Midwesterners are having to pick up the pieces of local manufacturing economies broken by decades of globalization. The “race to the bottom” for manufacturing wages has reached America’s heartland and there are no winners, here or in China.
But there’s a spirit of renewal in the Midwest also. I felt a common purpose while visiting local breweries in Detroit during April. On recent trips to small towns in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, I have seen firsthand how local wineries are a source of pride and entertainment for hardworking residents.
The Midwest will come back because “ordinary” people will prevail. The leadership in many parts of our region, and our nation, is corrupt and incompetent, but that does override millions of conscientious citizens.
Carl Sandburg, the Illinois poet, wrote the words below during the Depression and they ring true today. The “Mammoth” is about to be reawakened again here in the center of our country.
The people yes
The people will live on.
The learning and blundering people will live on.
They will be tricked and sold and again sold
And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds,
The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback,
You can’t laugh off their capacity to take it.
The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas.