Two Candidates, One Blogger: A Michigan Homecoming

I don’t know how else to write this, so I’m just going to be blunt.

It can be very depressing to hang out in metro-Detroit.

I’ve been back “home” visiting family for 48 hours now, and the stories of lay-offs and foreclosure and moves out-of-state are overwhelming.

In all honesty, downtown looks terrible. The suburbs are littered with for-sale signs.

My family and friends continue to keep on, keeping on.

At a family gathering on Sunday, the typical occurred.

We ate and the kids ran around.

The adults sitting around the patio talked about what the ‘Big 3′ needs to do, my Aunt got animated discussing how she doesn’t like Senator Obama (she doesn’t ‘trust him’), another Uncle told a racist joke (no one laughed this time), and I very quietly listened.

While I attempted to be stealth and ninja like listening…my blackberry gave out a huge DING DING DING, and all eyes fell on me.

They know what I do at BlogHer, and had been careful choosing their words around me all day.

With a half dozen pairs of eyes on me, I looked down, and read aloud: “Sen Obama to Unveil His ‘New Energy for America‘ Plan in Speech Monday. From Lansing. ”

Everyone got quiet.

We ate desert and talked gradually picked up again.

Cynicism and cautious optimism abound.

“Lansing …from Michigan. Could be risky. Could be brilliant,” said one uncle.

“He should do it here, they need it most here,” said my Mom.

“I don’t care what he says, I just don’t like him,” said an aunt.

So it was with great interest my mother, my aunt, and I watched the Senator speak from Lansing this morning.

As the Senator discussed his very detailed New Energy for America plan, touted by Climate Progress as “…easily the best energy plan ever put forward by a nominee of either party…” republicans were emailing me to let me know they were handing out tire gauges to mock Obama’s reminders that keeping your tires properly inflated saves gas.

They were mocking a gas saving tip while sending this to my inbox:

“Today, I’m asking for your help in putting Senator Obama’s “tire gauge” energy policy to the test. With an immediate donation of $25 or more, we will send you an “Obama Energy Plan” tire pressure gauge. Will simply inflating your tires reduce the financial burden of high gas prices on your wallet?

It’s clear Senator Obama has no plan to address the energy challenges we face as a nation. He has said no to offshore drilling, no to expanding domestic drilling and no to nuclear energy. He has no plan to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”- Rick Davis Campaign Manager, John McCain 2008.

I read this aloud to my Mom.

She threw her hands in the air, entirely disgusted. She was watching Senator Obama give detailed information, point-by-point, on a plan that not just reduces our dependence on foreign oil but rids of us reliance on Middle East oil on 10 years.

“Why do they do that?”

My Mom asked, still shaking her head over the McCain Campaign email.

For the record NASCAR and the US Department of Energy agree with Senator Obama on the whole tire gauge thing, and the GOP is trying to make a joke of this:

Sugar writes, “Oh gosh I know the Ozoids are writhing even as I write this! lmao I tell you, the McCain camp is making this fun for me again because it is such a joy to see an opponent who doesn’t have the constraints that Hillary did, giving it to Obama raw. Hillary couldn’t ream him like she should have because of that party unity bullshit, but the McCain camp doesn’t have anything to lose…but the election…and they are going all out to ensure that they don’t. I’m loving it. “

But if they’d like to know how their “joke” played with Michigan voters….jokes on them. I’ve got several here either not getting it or disgusted with the gimmick.

They don’t want campaign gimmicks. They want jobs.

The tit-for-tat over who misspoke where over what isn’t playing well with this crowd. Not unless those jokes can pay their mortgage.

Meanwhile, my Aunt (undecided who she is supporting) is listening closer than I thought she would.

I can tell.

My Mom let’s out a ‘WOW’ at Obama saying his plan will create five million new green jobs. My Aunt raised an eyebrow and says “well that’s good.”

TankWoman writes, “I switched to CNN, and was pleasantly surprised by Obama’s plan. Okay, I take that back, I was more than pleasantly surprised, I was excited and inspired by the ideas that Obama spoke about this morning in the birthplace of the auto industry. And though I know that this speech was tailor made for Michigan, and designed to strengthen his poll numbers, I believe that this energy plan is the only way forward for our nation, and that if Obama is serious and dedicated to these issues, we may have a solution not only to climate change, but to the ailing economy.

The things that we need to do to stall the oncoming danger of climate change, are the very things that Obama outlined in his speech. We must invest heavily in alternative energy, if we don’t come up with the capital to take the risk out of these start-up industries, they will fail. We need investment tax credits for solar energy, and wind power, without them, there are major solar projects that will move to Europe, and the wind farms will not get built here, but move to Germany. Our auto industry is near bankruptcy, Ford and GM have reported the lowest sales in nearly 30 years.”

She’s right.

I’m here.

I’m seeing the factories empty and the friends and family members collecting unemployment. It’s been happening for a long time now, and there needs to be a real solution in bringing back not just this state’s economy, but the nation’s.

Tomorrow Senator McCain comes to town to tour a Nuclear Plant. Fermi 2, to be exact.

The same plant I see every time I visit my hometown. I’ll be watching and listening closely to compare the Senator from Arizona’s ideas to the Senator from Illinois.

And after spending the day with my family excited about Obama’s ambitious plan to provide real solutions to the people of Michigan-

Senator McCain had better show up with more than a tire gauge.

Cross posted at blogher.com

Comments

  1. I didn’t care for the tire gauge thing myself. But that little tip has been well known for a long time, it isn’t anything new. Senator Obama did mention a lot of good ideas, but I still have a problem. From a straight up basic economics perspective Senator Obama’s economic and energy plans are going to put us into a Depression. A windfall profits tax isn’t going to happen in real life, it is unconstitutional and it won’t come to fruition. Cap & Trade has been tried before with pretty ugly results. I think Senator Obama is a great orator when he has a teleprompter. But based on his record I don’t trust him. I think he is telling people what they want to hear. He is playing on people’s hopes. Don’t get me wrong, hope can be an inspiring thing, a motivating thing and maybe it will. But Senator Obama’s economic policies just aren’t sound.
    Love your blog, love how you make me think.

  2. ChiliMac says:

    I get so tired of that political crap! Each party does it and all it does is show how little the political machines think about the electorate. I am not a fan of Sen Obama and I am a big fan of Sen McCain but I don’t like that behavior from either side.

  3. As someone who is sitting in a house down the street from you (well, not literally, but nearly — just down I-96 a dozen or so miles), I can tell you that as depressing as it is to visit Detroit right now, it’s even more depressing to be living here in SE Michigan. The loss of jobs, the failing economy, the lowering home values, the fact that our excellent zoo stands to close because Detroit can’t give it any more money, our schools are overcrowded, and our universities are losing enrollments because students can’t afford the tuition, the books, the commute… it’s a terribly uncertain place to live. We are a state that has not only long depended on the auto industry for jobs but also has been planned around the use of the auto to get around. There is nothing like efficient public transportation, no easy way to do things like get groceries or run errands without driving many miles. We are a state that is in desperate need not just of a bandaid of help but of something radical and new.

    I am listening to Obama’s speech right now, so I can’t comment on its entirety — but I will say this: clear, specific details for really NEW ideas are the ONLY thing that will help our ailing economy in Michigan. Small bolsterings of the Big Three will do nothing in the long term. And, I would venture to say, other states that are not so auto industry dependent but are still fuel-dependent could probably stand to have some new ideas too.

    I am encouraged by Obama’s specific notions, by his sense of the difference between short-term and long-term plans, and I look forward to the rest of the speech.

    Thanks for a blog that always makes me think.

  4. dude: there’s sp much to say about this post, but for now? where are you in SE mic? i’m in the ann arbor/ypsi area, and i only got to see you for, like, 20 seconds at blogher. if you’re going to be around for a minute, i’d love to meet up. of not…maybe next time?
    p.s. keep fighting the good fight, sister. but, you know that already.

  5. I think we need a president who can and will organize and galvanize the country to do common sense things like maintaining tire pressure, driving less, turning up (down?) air conditioners, as well as pushing for long range green solutions to our continuing energy problems. I believe, and hope, that Obama, as an experienced community organizer, can get the job started. I think the tire gauge business is preposterous and insulting.

  6. Erin-
    I would have to agree with all the comments that have been made about your post. Thanks for keeping me thinking. I rarely agree with what you have to say, but an open mind is important. I can close mine easily, thanks for keeping things in perspective (whether it’s mine or not). I was just home a couple of weeks ago. Did you drive down Shady Lane yet? Everytime I do it makes me smile.

  7. Fantastic. Love this post. Great job!

  8. Charisma does not count for anything when it comes to wanting to become President of the United States. Obama has the gift of delivering speeches that are prepared for him. When asked to communicate standing on his own two feet…………. he fails.

  9. AllenaTapia says:

    honestly I’m not sure I have the gumption to have a halfway informed political discussion right now, so I just clicked on to say that I’m from Lansing and so heard much of those sound bites and never ever (whip me, I know) bothered to chekc my tire pressure until that day. I was “what’s all the brouhaha” and whoa-is-stupid-little-me what a difference it’s made in the past week! Common sense, yes. And well known? Well, I claim no Nascar ties, and barely out my own gas in the soccer mom minivan, so…
    My point: I’ve heard it before but never acted on it until the uproar here in my hometown. (OH and although Lansing is full of GM peeps, I agree that Detroit would have been well-suited.) (Oh and my brother works down there in the car-making alley!)(Oh and I was quite happy to have CeleObama in town, even though I was too lazy to get up early for tickets.)

  10. AllenaTapia says:

    PS I was Brightmoor (313) born and raised. Detroit is a sad place but I know its roots and I know it could come back with the right leadership.

  11. Rick Kotecki says:

    Yes that inflating tires would help but it’s a PSA announcement, not an energy policy. How many stupid things can this guy say and people still support him, he is another George Bush when it comes to IQ….

  12. I’m from a suburb outside Buffalo New York and we mirror your problems. Thursday Forbes magazine placed us in the top ten of the dying cities. That hurt us emotionally adding high unemployment and the continued loss of population. In it’s hay day the city of Buffalo boasted over 700,000 people. Now we are barely 250,000 and still going down.
    It’s a very concerning time for all of us and who can change this is even more to ponder and wonder about.

    I know no sure cure as yet.

    Dorothy from grammology
    grammology.com

  13. Okay, I’ve lived in MI my whole life and yes it sucks right now. I’ve made the triangle, Lower SE, NM, Kalamazoo and then back to NM. All economies suck right now to some point but yes it’s depressing and sad. Evey other home is for sale. Every other person is out of a job. If you think Detroit is bad come my way! LOL! So anyhow, will Obama save us? Will he bring jobs to Michigan. Will he help the U.S. enconomy and end the war. I think the better question really is, what’s the alternitive? Is there any other hope or person to count on and vote for. No.

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