Once again the solutions to Detroit’s financial problems are approached with the vacuity of an Easter Islander cutting down the last trees on the island because he can’t think of any other way to solve resource issues. Attracting resources to the island has never occurred to him because he is merely a shell counter.
Actually, the situation is even worse. It is as though a representative from a distant archipelago descended upon Easter Island, took over in spite of how the people voted, and unilaterally decided to send what is left of the Easter Island trees to the kings and princes of his homeland. Let’s call his home island “Oligarchy.” Then, dropping a few shells in the wampum box, the representative from Oligarchy bids adieu to the Easter Islanders and heads home to reap the rewards of his largesse from those who could afford the rare trees. No one, of course, wants to come to Easter Island any longer because it has nothing to offer. You can’t eat shells and the people are famished. In and of themselves, the shells are worthless and the Oligarchians know it. The islanders can give the shells to the Oligarch merchants in exchange for some firewood, but soon the wampum box runs dry again and there is nothing left. Easter Island dies.
Detroit is Easter Island and the brain trust that is Kevin Orr is the representative of Oligarchy, with his ridiculous scheme to pay off the short-term debt of Detroit by selling the treasures from the Detroit Institute of Art, when what is actually needed is to repopulate Detroit and increase the tax base. These artworks are truly among Detroit’s last remaining treasures and these accountants of doom need to understand that shells in a wampum box aren’t going to cut it. We cannot sit idly by and let the monied elite buy these works of art in a fire sale, using money that is nearly worthless to them because they have so much of it that it no longer really matters. They just want everyone else’s nice things to show off to one another in an orgy of wealthy one-upmanship. These oligarchs don’t want to share or have to mix with the commoners during a visit the art museum. Why should they when they can basically just take the art in exchange for a few colorful shells? In case any readers have been asleep, many believe that such outcomes have been among the goals of a significant percentage of the wealthy oligarchs all along, a part of the schemes planned by ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) that they have been inserting into every state, with some of their greatest success right here in Michigan. They don’t want a commons that can be shared, they just want everything for themselves and their corporate interests, for all things to be privately held. Don’t misunderstand, we at Detroit Metro Mashup have nothing against corporations, we’d like to be a huge one, but we have sufficient brains to realize that there is a balance among all things in life and, when things become sufficiently unbalanced, chaos is insured. And chaos usually entails great hardship for the multitudes of regular people that eventually results in the elimination of the elite. We’d rather not go down that road, it’s been too well traveled for far too long.
There are massive numbers of us working every angle we know to improve the entire Metro area and attract young professionals to live, work, and repopulate downtown Detroit. People must have inspiration to do their best work, to be their most creative, and inspiration cannot be derived from works of art that are displayed only in the galleries of a few billionaires and millionaires. How do the geniuses who think selling the DIA art is a positive thing suppose that you attract great talent and great companies to a city that is bereft of culture? To a city that has sold its soul to generate a few shells that will be gone in an instant? Do they even care what happens ultimately to Detroit or is their concern all lip-service for a completely different agenda?
What we desperately need is to preserve, enhance, and rebuild Detroit’s treasures, not sell them off to the highest bidders. We need to attract talent, not repulse it. If this is the best that Emergency Manager Orr can come up with, he should move back to Washington, D.C., and let someone who actually loves Detroit and its history have the job; a job that shouldn’t even exist based upon the voting of the people of Michigan.