Domestic Insecurity: Detroit is Ground Zero in this recession

I’m blogging from Detroit, where you can feel the ressesion as you drive down the street. Passing row after row of shopping centers with partial occupancy, homes in forclosure, abandonded projects, roads in neglect, population depletion – and that is in the suburbs.

Downtown is a horrific mess of hulking abandoned buildings, empty lots where homes and businesses once stood, and thousands of down and out people on the streets. Its like a movie about the Great Depression. Detroit is Ground Zero in the economic downturn, representing everything that has gone terribly wrong.

Thomas Friedman in the NY Times makes the argument that our own domestic insecurity is much more damaging than any perceived or real external enemy:

My fellow Americans: We are a country in debt and in decline — not terminal, not irreversible, but in decline. Our political system seems incapable of producing long-range answers to big problems or big opportunities. We are the ones who need a better-functioning democracy — more than the Iraqis and Afghans. We are the ones in need of nation-building. It is our political system that is not working.

I continue to be appalled at the gap between what is clearly going to be the next great global industry — renewable energy and clean power — and the inability of Congress and the administration to put in place the bold policies we need to ensure that America leads that industry….

We’re at a 34-year low. And digging out of this hole is what the next election has to be about and is going to be about — even if it is interrupted by a terrorist attack or an outbreak of war or peace in Iraq. We need nation-building at home, and we cannot wait another year to get started. Vote for the candidate who you think will do that best. Nothing else matters.

Some of the “bold policies” we need are enforcing laws to prevent corporate greed from running this country, mitigating the materialism that has decayed the American dream, and fixing an education system that cannot teach the majority of Americans the basics they need.

America – Detroit is the canary in the coal mine and we are in deep trouble.

Check out more pictures on Forgotten Detroit.