Posts Tagged ‘detroit lions’

The Paper Lions or The Great Debate

October 23, 2012

The Washington’s, no relations to Harold the former first black mayor of Chicago or George the first white president of the United States that they are aware of but then again you never know, were sitting in their living room after work, school and dinner.
Lincoln Washington, the patriarch got a job at Mc Donald’s as junior in high school. Lincoln would take a Woodward Avenue bus from a rough section of Detroit and when you are talking about a rougher than average area of Detroit, it would be in the running with some of the most dangerous areas in the world. Be that as it were, Lincoln found a job in the suburbs and started at $3.35 an hour in 1983 by 2012, Lincoln owned two franchises of his own. Lincoln drove a Lincoln Navigator and his wife drove a Chrysler 300. Lincoln set his wife Mi’chelle up with a day spa in downtown Detroit near the casinos, ball parks and Greektown. One could get their nails done and the stress of American life kneed out of their backs while listening to Kenny G and a waterfall within a small cubical. The Washington’s were ahead of the American curve and living the American dream.
Lincoln and Mi’chelle had two children, Tonisha and Dwight. Tonisha, the eldest, left Detroit and immigrated to South Africa. She wanted to be part of the transformation in the new South Africa. While going to school in Capetown, she met a handsome young man who surfed and was an heir to a winery. So much for bonding with true black Africans and taking up their struggle. Tonisha married a blond haired blue eyed Afrikaner who surfs for a living and does part time promotional work for his father’s winery. Their mixed race children run around the beach. The two boys like to play Rugby and surf and hunt with their grandfather Pieter way out in the bush.
Dwight, who was named after a former American president, received a scholarship to the University of Chicago and bought a bean pie one day from a clean cut looking young man on Stoney Island on Chicago’s south side, became his friend and eventually joined the nation of Islam. Dwight returned to Detroit to try and transform poverty sticken areas and convert hopelessly poor people to the Nation of Islam.
Tonisha was in bed asleep in Capetown when the final debate started. She fell asleep wondering how she was going to get her hair done, get Fredrich to his Cricket practice and Wilhelm to his Rugby match all at the same time. The next president of the free world never entered her mind. Meanwhile in Detroit, Michigan, her family sat glued to the television.
“I got it right here what Romney actually said about the auto industry. It’s on the internet for everyone to look up and find. How can that man bold face lie about something that is in print for everyone to find for themselves?” Said Lincoln.
“I wish you’d hush… That man is your president. Your president went out on a limb and saved this town from going outta business. He believed in the auto industry and believed in Detroit and you still standing behind a white man who didn’t even believe you were a human being until 1978.” Said Mi’chelle.
“It’s been 4000 years since white people came from Africa and Africans to go into the world and become the pasty white devils that they are. Black people are duped and herded by the Jewish agenda. Jews have us buying into believing that they carry the struggle of the black man with them. How many poor blacks do you see? Now how many poor Jews do you know?” Said Dwight.
“Boy, hush up… Sammy Davis Jr. was as black as he was Jewish.” Said Lincoln.
“How can I respond to that sort of a comment? Where is the logic, dad? The Candy Man was a black Jew so we should all become Jews?” Asked Dwight.
“No, I’m asking you to hold your tongue so we can hear what the men have to say. Ron Paul ain’t going to be the next president no matter how much you and Farrakhan want him in. It’s going to be one or the other and you might as well get used to it.” Said Lincoln.
The president and Mitt Romney went on to sell themselves on the American public on who would be a better man to serve the nation’s interests and needs. Lincoln sat in his chair strategically in front of the television, Mi’chelle sat on the couch while Dwight leaned with arms folded against the wall of their 4,000 square foot home that was insulated by the fact that at 14 Mile Road and Telegraph Road, they were a great distance from the blight and hopelessness that the average Detroiter lives with day in and day out. Quiet and desolate streets appearing to be a ghost town among abandoned homes or slabs of concrete where homes used to be where sparsely scattered homes inhabited by trapped people whose plight will not change whether the president is a Republican or Democrat. At 14 miles from the center of downtown Detroit, there was low unemployment, well kept homes with manicured lawns, nice cars and children playing outside. The difference between living and surviving could be found within fourteen miles. The difference between the first world and the third world, the invisible and not invisible, haves and have-nots all within just 14 miles.
The father, mother and son agreed to disagree. The father wanted a man who was a good business man to run the country like a prosperous business. The mother wanted to stay the course and follow a man who inherited a tremendous mess and believed he was doing well considering the hand he was dealt and then there was their son. Their son was rebelling against his parents who embodied the true essence of the American dream; follow your dreams, work hard and you will prosper. Like any bored and privileged suburban young man who is underemployed and still living at home, Dwight was raging against the status quo. Idealism eventually gives way to reality with maturity or when bills need to be paid was what Lincoln quietly concluded to himself about his son.
The debate ended and Lincoln turned the television on to the football game between The Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears just in time to see the Lions fail to score. At the one yard line with less than three feet from the end zone and six points, the Lions fumbled the football. The family winced collectively and then they were quiet for a moment. Things appeared to be returning to the way things had been in Detroit for a long time after a great football season the year before.
“I think we can all agree on one thing… The Lions are still the same old Lions. Thank god for the Tigers.”

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Occupy Detroit

December 19, 2011

It sounded silly at first as if someone was trying to be funny but it wasn’t a joke when a protestor by the name of Billy amassed people from all over North America and the world to occupy public space within the city of Detroit.

900,000 vacant lots within the city limits of Detroit and to occupy a blighted big city sounded almost charitable. Bill was feeling anything but compassion for the city of Detroit and the United States in general. Bill started off watching crowds of people on television in the Middle East fell leaders like Mubarak and Gaddafi. It was en vogue to drop heads of state like at no time since the fall of the Soviet empire. Billy joined people in occupying parks in places like Oakland and New York Cityonly to be returned home by Billy’s father’s deep pockets when it came time to bail him out. Soon the idea came to Billy to amass as many dissatisfied, disenchanted, and downtrodden; serfs and petty bourgeoisie and set up camp around the General Motor’sRenaissance Center in the heart of downtown Detroit ironically enough called Hart Plaza.

At first, Bill didn’t have many takers as most of his Detroit buddies who lived in metropolitan Detroit, knew that at night, late night, there were not a whole lot of people around downtown Detroit. Sewer covers blew off steam like English tea kettles every few feet around desolate streets and sidewalks. Every now and then you’d see a Chrysler 300 at a red light, waiting for no other cars to pass as the lights quietly turned from green to yellow and red. Most police officers patrolled several blocks away in the more vibrant Greektown where middle class Detroiters could take a stay-cation at one of the casino hotels, eat at a fairly upscale restaurant and try to win their house out of foreclosure inside the casinos. Those that stayed at the Hilton at the top of the GM Renaissance Center drove in by taxi or limousine and never had to venture out into the streets of Detroit. The people the protesters were trying to harass were largely unreachable. From up high, executives staying for a night or two could see the tents set up in the plaza. Most thought it was some sort of Hooverville in a town with nearly 20% unemployment.

The first Occupy Detroit gatherings were sort of pathetic as those who wanted to yell and scream at passersby took note of congregation of homeless men who actually danced to the sounds of a drummer who was leading a chant, “Bring out the 1%, bring out the 1%”. The black homeless men wondered if somehow the population of white people had actually dropped to 1%. The thought of white people being only 1% of the city of Detroit lead a few homeless people to wonder if they should pick up and move to other big cities where there was a larger pool of financially stable and generous white folk. The native Detroiters felt sort of silly when nobody noticed them except a few Red Wing fans that cut through HartPlaza on their way to Joe Louis Arena to catch a game. The hockey fans thought it was sort of dumb to camp outside in inner city Detroit but they politely ignored the small group. Within a few days, the Detroit protestors packed up and went home without any fanfare. No beatings, television crews, cops with night sticks or tear gas. Billy had to retool. Billy read up on other charismatic leaders like Hitler, Jim Jones, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro and H. Ross Perot to see how it was that they were able to draw people to them. Billy would never admit to reading Perot’s biography since he was in the top 1% of the top 1% but he read it nonetheless.

Billy remembered Michael Moore’s movie called Roger and me and how Moore had hounded a GM executive named Roger Smith everywhere in order to get an explanation why it was that he closed GM plants in Flint, Michigan and so Billy wrote a letter to Moore in hopes that he might be willing to help a fellow antiestablishment native of Michigan. Mooreliked the idea quite a bit. Michael Moore then used his larger base of fans and followers who hated the government, rich people and the mainstream in general and before long, Billy had close to a 1000 people who had descended upon Jefferson Avenue in front of the GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. Moorehad chosen a rare time when there were throngs of sports fans out to see the Detroit Lions on a Sunday afternoon and the Detroit Red Wings in the evening. Moore told Billy to get the people together at about five in the evening and think of something that would bring traffic to a screeching halt. Billy had a great idea.

Hundreds of football fans on their way to see a hockey game and hockey fans that had just seen a football game, were stopped by a large group of mostly young white people who were throwing metal spoons onto Jefferson Avenue in front of the General Motors building. Bill felt like Che Guevara and Fidel Castro rolled up into one big Hugo Chavez. Bill climbed up a statue that symbolized the city of Detroit onWoodward Avenue and spoke through a megaphone. A few news trucks were out in front of the melee and filmed the action. Bill was in heaven.

The crowd quit banging drums and throwing metal spoons onto Jeffersonwhile Bill stood with his ratty looking red dread locks that hung like dirty rope over a Jamaican flag hoodie as he shouted into the amplification device.

“I’ve been to Seattle and New York and Oakland to help the people of those cities get people to understand that we are being taken for a ride by our government, by the fat cats who own 85% of everything worth owning. Look at that giant symbol of what the government involved itself in… General Motors. General Motors made a shit product and made the people at the top wealthy while working people on assembly lines lost their jobs. What happened? Your government gave your tax dollars to save a company that should have never failed. General Motors was once the largest manufacturer of automobiles in the world and they became in danger of going under. How does that happen? Your government bailed out companies that have fucked us all in the ass… How many people are out of jobs? How many people have been foreclosed on? Who has swooped up and bought up all these homes that once belonged to working people? The very banks that have caused this fucking mess. You starve and they eat cake with silver spoons in their mouths. Well if they are in search of a spoon tonight, my friends let them come down to the streets ofDetroitto find one. Millions of spoons for millionaires. When are you going to wake up people? When are you going to get up out of your chair and go to the window and yell that you’re mad as hell and not going to take it anymore?”

It was at that moment that a man by the name of Bob who owned a gun shop and riffle range in Northern Michigan, had decided that since the Lions were in danger of making the playoffs for the first time in years and that the Detroit Red Wings were in danger of making the playoffs for the 21st year in a row, that he would make the pilgrimage to the city of Detroit that epitomized everything that Bob disliked about America; Crime, racial tension, traffic, shopping malls, unemployment and rich white kids with nothing better to do than take up a liberal cause. Bob decided to rip through Jefferson over the spoons in his large truck, sending protestors flying to the left and right of him. A dozen or more people had leaned on a sign near the tunnel to Canada that read, Welcome to the United States of America. The sign snapped off and flew into the windshield of Bob’s brand new GMC truck that had a hand painted sign on both sides and the back window that read, “Bob’s Emporium of armaments- The playground for those believe in the Bill of Rights.

The windshield looked like a kaleidoscope after the heavy sign hit the windshield. Bob exited the vehicle as his wife rolled down the passenger side window and calmly lit a cigarette and gazed at the mob that had filled the street. Bob walked towards the sound of the voice and saw the slight figure yelling passionately into the megaphone. Bill seemed like the ring leader of the band of misfits and so he pulled Billy down off of the symbol ofDetroitand gave him and ass beating like he had never had before. The local news caught the whole the incident. A large man in a Detroit Lions hat and a Red Wings Gordie Howe jersey beat the young man with the megaphone senseless. Protestors through bottles and rocks at the Bob and before long, large groups of drunken football and hockey fans came to the rescue of Gordie Howe or at least a man wearing his jersey. When the dust settled,Detroit had made the national and international news. Possibly a million spoons littered Jefferson Avenue in front of the GM Renaissance Center and brought traffic to a stand still. Red Wing and Lions fans and protestors alike were taken into custody by the Detroit Police. Billy was given his proverbial one call. Billy called his father as he always did and expected to be bailed out without question once again. Billy hated his father for being a rich and successful owner of a flatware company that had moved operations from the United States to China. The spoons that were scattered all over the streets of Detroit came from a warehouse belonging to Billy’s father. Billy, well known to everyone who worked for his father, loaded crate after crate of spoons into trucks from his father’s factory for the sole purpose of letting people know that the rich were born, living and dying with silver spoons in their mouths. Billy’s father attitude had changed towards his son. He was very firm and to the point with Billy who had cost him a lot of money by stealing his spoons. Several millions.

“I’m going to speak plainly to you, son. The fake Rasta hair, no deodorant, Reggae listening, Haile Salassie is god bullshit was cute. You thought you’d rebel against having life the easy way and I would just sit back and shrug my shoulders because I should have some sort of guilt for having money. I have no guilt, son. I don’t know a man alive who ever claimed to have enough money and today, you cost me a whole lot of money. Your father is part of the 1% and you thought you might try to punish me at a tremendous expense by taking my spoons. You’ve dubbed yourself the new voice for the poor and people of color, right? A modern day Lenin waiting for the revolution to take hold in the streets of Detroit. It isn’t coming, Billy. Well I want you to know that you are going to work to pay off your debt. You want to ally yourself with the poor and ordinary man. You’re going to be right there with them now. Reading Marx and hating me while I put you through college and this is what I get… A big bill for all your pseudo communist bullshit. Here’s the deal, son; you will learn what it is like to truly work for one solid year or I will see to it that you spend your time in jail for what you’ve done. This is America, son. A free country and one where you have choices and so I give you the choice, if I bail you out this time, you go to work for one year, no days off or you can say no and know that I will do all I can with my pull and connections to see that you do at least a year for your brash stupidity. When some lifer is lining your ass up in the shower like a Penn State date, you’ll wish you had joined the proletariat… The choice is yours to make.”

In a factory in a remote part of China, where people wear medical masks over their faces at all times and are forced to breathe the air that has a strange tint to it when the light of day illuminates the sky, works Billy. Behind him wearing a suit is a young black man, whose only job is to watch and live with Billy 24 hours a day for a year. The day after Billy’s father bailed him out of jail; Billy’s father ordered a shake at a fast food restaurant and offered a job to a young man that was mopping a floor who was roughly the same age as Billy. The young man went from making minimum wage to a half million dollars in a year and his only job was to make sure Billy worked every day, twelve hours a day, loading silverware into boxes to be shipped to the head quarters in Detroit,Michigan. Hundreds of sullen Chinese stood in front of an assembly line, collecting spoons, knives and forks with one young white American. Jefferson, who just the week before had to take two buses to make just over $200.00 a week, was dressed in nice clothes, had a chauffeur and a nice apartment that he shared with Billy. Billy’s father sent Jefferson a text, thanking him for taking the $500,000.00 dollar job that came with a bonus of a new car and a condo if Billy could complete the year without fail. Jefferson replied to Billy’s father.

NO THANK YOU, SIR. AND THANK YOU FOR KEEPING THE AMERICAN DREAM ALIVE AND WELL. GOD BLESS YOU, SIR.