Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Sure Sign Of Spring!

I looked out my window today and saw a curious sight. Across the street in the play area of the Christian school a flock of about 20 to 30 birds were flittering about in the grass, landing, taking off again, doing what birds do in their bird world. The snow had melted away from the week long coverage, and a wet ground was finally visible. I looked at what appeared to be an orange color on the fronts of these small creatures with some dismay. Wow, these guys are robin red breasts! What in the world are they doing here in Eugene, Oregon? It was always my belief that robins migrated to warmer climates in the winter and returned to the buds of Michigan springtime. Here in Eugene, and now, a day before the Winter Solstice, a small group of Robins are playing outside my window in my yard. How can this be? Not able to answer that question, I could only feel the tugging of my memory of living in Detroit and being alerted by the annual prevailing robins that spring was just around the corner. How can that be? We have only just begun to stiffen to the winds and rain, and in the recent week, a formidable snow storm that paralyzed the area for several days. I thought of my brethren in Detroit, remembering now the harshest winters that seemed to last for eternity, plodding against slush and bulk snow through all manner of inconvenient weather. The dark skies and bitter cold air, stinging fingertips and frostbitten ears, going to necessary appointments through the massive traffic chaos that somehow Detroiters take for granted as territorial characteristics. Another winter, another half year of trudging through Hell. So what, a Detroiter might say, it's something we all have in common.
This past week or two, the nation has been exposed to the people of Detroit in desperate need at the feet of our nation's administrators. They are begging for assistance in a crises for survival. They show footage of ordinary people installing parts and systems into assemblies of vehicles. They imply that these ordinary people are somehow aiding in the corrupt practices of their employers to defraud other people by making inferior automobiles. But my heart goes out to these ordinary people who await to first robins of spring to relieve them from their five months of torment called the Michigan winter. And now, in addition to winter, the harshest of realities, that they will no longer have an income. My dad was a Ford Motor Company employee. He worked there for 40 years, and supported his family while his employer made and developed the styles that made our country proud. There were ridiculous creations during periods of dubious inspiration it's true. Yet, beyond the many head shaking designs and outlandish power quests, a fierce national pride came with the territory. Across the planet, people in every country admired American initiative and style. The American automobile, scoffed at by some, ridiculed by many, but the absolute all-out apple of everyones eye when it comes to the individual statement. It is what is symbolic of what our nation is all about, the uniqueness of the individual.
Let us be objective when judging our fellow individuals. The people who assemble Detroit's products are trained to perform a specific task. It is tedious and repetitive. It requires focus and attention, and it requires an appreciation for doing correct application in a multiple task process that culminates in a worthy product. I don't by any stretch of my imagination deem what these people create as inferior. It is what it is, and for the most part, it has created a national identity for this country, not to mention the building of tanks and aircraft that got us through the second world war. Let's give some points to our brethren in Detroit who have endured decades of suffering from drug culture and urban decay that has left the city in a dilapidated state. On a visit a couple of years ago, I was reminded of how the people of Detroit possess a quality of soulfulness that makes them some of the warmest, down to earth people one can ever meet. There is a charm about Detroit that is so remarkable that one is amazed that such humility can exist in such an environment. They are part of our people, people, important part.

I don't have an opinion about the bailout. The problem that caused this consequence is much bigger than Detroit or the auto industry. I do know that many people are in desperate shape. I do know that more people than those who live and work in Detroit are facing unimaginable alternatives. As a nation we must take care of our family. And all honest, hardworking people deserve a robin or two to remind them that spring is just around the corner.