Monday, May 28, 2007

How To Re-Populate Detroit: Grassroots Democrats and Republicans Need To Get To Know Each Other by Akindele Akinyemi


In order for us to build the Next Detroit we need both Democrats and Republicans working together to build effective public policies that will help benefit Detroit. Even though I view "Democrat" and "Republican" or even "independent" as labels we have one thing in common:

Detroit needs fresh and principled leadership on both sides of the aisle.

I would like to see a dialogue with Democrats and Republicans in a room dealing with the city crisis not just here in Detroit but across urban Michigan.

Nobody should underestimate the importance of the city conversation in terms of what direction Detroit is headed. If the city conversation is about past Democratic failures of performance (a referendum), then Democrats lose. If, however, the conversation is a fact based discussion about reality, the nature of the world, the serious threats we face, and which sets of ideas and solutions will best serve Detroit as we move toward the future -- and how destructive a choice for the Left would be (a choice), then Republicans can step in and assist with building a better future for Detroit.

Detroit voters currently face a choice between the unimaginative and the unthinkable. Republicans have the advantage in overcoming our current unimaginative condition because our party’s founder Abraham Lincoln modeled exactly what Americans need to do when in difficult circumstances: we must “think and act anew.” There is zero sign that Americans are ready to enthusiastically embrace a Contract with Vermont and San Francisco and zero sign at this time that the Democrats are prepared to offer anything more than that.

It is time for the grassroots, educators, business and civic leaders to create what is known as a Generation of Solutions. This effort will be powered by the Sheer Scale of Scientific Change and Applying Principles That Work -- Drive Three Large Themes of a New Conversation

1. A Conversation About the Real World Presents a Clear Choice Between Victory and Appeasement. As Abraham Lincoln said, there is no escaping history. We must engage the most important debate of our time that goes well beyond such awful possibilities as Sept. 11-style airliner plots.We need to begin implementing policies that work to curb crime and violence in Detroit. New York City is much larger than Detroit, yet, it is much safer to walk down the street in NYC as compared to Detroit. One of the main factors of people leaving the city is because of crime.

We must engage a fact based discussion and not an ideological argument to convince a solid majority of both Democrats and Republicans that it is necessary to do everything we can to achieve victory in Detroit as it pertains to criminal activity.

2. A Conversation About the Opportunities Afforded by Science and Technology -Combined With Free Market Principles and a Work Ethic - Presents a Clear Choice Between Dramatic Opportunity for a Generation of Solutions to Win the Future and Deadly Obstruction. Detroiters are disgusted by mindless political fights and will simply tune out any conversation that that is blatantly political and mean spirited. Politicians will lose using this old conversation formula. However, they will embrace new conversations that matter personally and matter historically. Four examples: finding a vaccine for Alzheimer’s; ending cancer as a cause of death; saving the children from failing schools; and developing a breakthrough car that use dramatically less gasoline and is the first step in stripping the oil dictatorships of their wealth.
The Left grassroots here in Detroit will oppose almost all of these solutions. The failure of the Detroit Public Schools to graduate nearly 80% of graduates on time is an example that the Left is blocking real change.
Governing majorities focus on painting the positive vision of a better future. It is important to describe this better future in personal terms. This is what it will mean for you, your family, your children, and your grandchildren. Detroiters have always been stunningly optimistic and optimistic positive leadership almost always beats negative pessimistic leadership.

3. A Conversation About Where the Democrats Who Leads the City Presents a Clear Choice Between Why Voting Democrat Will Be Turning Back and Why Voting Republican will help establish political balance in the City of Detroit. Urban conservatives must make Detroiters aware what would have been the results if the Pelosi-Reid Democrats had won their votes over the last six years, and what it would mean in the future. Five examples of the fights we should wage leading up to 2008:
a. for lower v. higher taxes;
b. for controlling the border;
c. for expanding educational options with families and children;
d. for free market economics; and
e. for the right to say ‘one nation under God’ in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Our opponents must be forced to bear the burden of their positions. If you are unwilling to control the border as the first priority, what will you say when Hezbollah cells are picked up in Southwest Detroit or Dearborn? If you will not defeat terrorism overseas, what will you say when it strikes here? If you do not want to reform taxation, litigation, regulation, education and health so we can compete successfully with China and India, what will you say to our children and grandchildren when we decay and we become the number three country in the world in their lifetime?

If Detroiters understand that while they may be irritated with Republicans, they at least broadly share our values and visions -- and the left is just out of touch with reality, I think we would have a totally different debate by next year. But we must have the nerve to do it. There is going to be a city and state conversation shortly in Detroit on bringing both Democrats and Republicans together to create better public policies. The only question is whether the Republicans are committed to working with Democrats and vice versa without going of the handle?


The primary engineering principle for a majority is to deliver. The key engineering principle for a minority is to fight. Fighting draws attention, draws a sharp contrast, reinforces the energy and interest of your own partisans and sets the stage for a campaign of contrast and choice. If things are working and the majority seems to be getting the job done then the public will have an enormous bias toward reinforcing and rewarding the majority. If everything is mired down in fighting and things are not working then Detroit will have a bias toward replacing the current team with new faces.




1 comment:

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