Detroit, once upon a time, was a bustling, thriving city---an international port with industry coming out of its ears. They made cars in Detroit, and better than anyone else. But Detroit also was a huge component to the WWII effort---building tanks and other items of importance.
It was a riverfront city with a brand new convention complex (Cobo) built by 1960 and was even considered as a host city for the Olympics. President Kennedy, no less, appeared on film, making the case for Detroit to host the Games, which was shown to the selection committee.
Detroit had well over a million people living within its boundaries. It was a media market that was just a notch below the New Yorks and LAs of the country. It wasn't unusual for Detroit on-air talent to vamoose to New York, with no stops in between.
Detroit is crumbling. Its infrastructure is a joke. The money is gone. It's a city that can't adequately protect its citizens, pick up the trash on time, or change a busted street light without a month of Sundays going by.
The financial crisis going on in the city is both a tragedy and a mystery. Tragedy because a once great city is tattered and torn; mysterious because it's a wonder how we got here, to this degree.
The enormously frustrating thing is that, whether suburbanites want to admit it or not, the fate of Detroit greatly impacts that of the entire state of Michigan.
Can there be a strong Michigan without a strong Detroit? Yes, but not likely, and it would be oh-so-much more difficult to pull off.
Can Detroit be strong and the state not be? Yes, but also not very likely---though it has happened throughout history.
Governor Rick Snyder, to his credit, isn't a Republican who thinks his state can operate independently from Detroit, as if the city exists in a plastic bubble.
But that doesn't mean there isn't the usual contentiousness between City Council and anyone who works and plays outside the city borders.
Especially politico types.
Bing: Working against a fast-running clock
But time has never been running out on Detroit as it is now. It's so appropriate that the mayor is an ex-NBA star. Dave Bing is used to working against a short shot clock.
He needs to hoist a desperation three point shot at the buzzer.
No, it's not terribly brilliant or clever to make basketball analogies.
But can you think of a better one?
Detroit is on life support. How tragic. And mysterious.