Detroiters left to suffer from Mayor Kilpatrick’s fallout

The forecast calls for rain.

Today, finally, after 8 months of dealing with this, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick did what he would have done months ago if he really cared about the city as much as he claimed. Mayor Kilpatrick resigned. He had little choice. It was either that or get evicted courtesy of Gov. Granholm.

I’d really like to say I was able to sigh with relief, or that I felt some sort of joy that the circus has finally left town. But I know better. Ridding Detroit of Mayor Kilpatrick was an essential first step in rescuing the city from certain disaster before it’s too late, but there is so much more work to be done that there really isn’t time to sit back and feel good about this or to even reflect upon it.

But even if there was time for all that, this isn’t an occasion for joy or celebration. Certainly the late-night comedians and certain pundits will have themselves a field day with this mess for days to come. Jay Leno, David Letterman, and whoever else will do what they get paid to do, and what they’re getting paid to do right now is to point fingers and laugh at Detroit. But Detroiters have to live with the fallout from this disaster. Detroiters have to live, period.

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigns -- DETROIT FREE PRESS PHOTO

Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick resigns -- DETROIT FREE PRESS PHOTO

This isn’t joke material to us. This is real life.

We have a city that has been paralyzed throughout the course of a traumatic situation that threatened not merely Detroit’s supposed renaissance but it’s very existence. And when I say this, I don’t mean Detroit was in danger of disappearing from the map. There will always be a spot on the map called Detroit. But what was in danger was whether or not that location, our home, would have ever been able to survive at better than a bare subsistence level. Because there is a dramatic difference between true living and mere survival. And right when it seemed like Detroit was poised to raise itself to the level of the truly living, Kilpatrick happened.

The same man who was responsible for so many good things that happened to our city is the same man responsible for setting fire to it all, then trying out for his own interpretive role as Nero. To quote the city council attorney Bill Goodman during his presentation before the Governor at yesterday’s removal hearings, sometimes you kill the things you love. How many abused women were beaten senseless or murdered by men who swore up and down how much they loved that fucking bitch?

So now he’s gone, and the process of rebuilding begins. And the first cornerstone of that reconstruction must, by necessity, be an acknowledgment of the truth. Not only of the true amount of damage done to us by our former mayor, but of the true amount of shit he has left behind for us to clean up behind him. This is the kind of task that would make Hercules run screaming.

So yeah, Kilpatrick is gone. And Detroit is still here. They say Detroiters are tough? We had damned sure better prove it.

The forecast calls for rain…

SHAMELESS PLUG: Read my wife’s blog at


~ by Keith A. Owens on September 4, 2008.

4 Responses to “Detroiters left to suffer from Mayor Kilpatrick’s fallout”

  1. Keith — I feel your pain brotha! I’m confident that the good people of Detroit will use this opportunity to truly rise from the ashes…

    peace, Villager

  2. Hey, Keith – very well said! I’m getting out my umbrella as I speak. Here’s hoping we can all move forward, and eventually put this storm behind us.

  3. Villager,

    I know you do feel the pain as someone who hs also loved the city. And I am counting on this city rising again.

    Ms. Kimba,

    That is definitely the plan right now. It may be pouring right now, but we all know storms don’t last forever. We simply have to rise above this thing and call up the strength of the Detroiters we know ourselves to be. It will be one of the toughest things we’ve been called to do as a city, but we’ve got to rise to the challenge because we don’t have a choice.

  4. Interesting 90% of your article is grounded in the past ,I guess we move forward tomorrow

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