For the entire span of my life, the city of Detroit has been in decline. Two generations have grown to adulthood since the Motor City was a safe, vibrant, growing metropolis.
The real shock of its municipal bankruptcy is not that it happened, it is that it took so long. It is an understated yet appropriate counterpoint to the Trayvon foolishness - people protest a the result of a show trial while an entire city succumbs to financial collapse.
The idealist in my hoped that this would be avoided and that the people of goodwill within the city and the state capital would somehow find a way to work together for the common good.
But the realist in my knew it would never happen. The tensions are too profound, the leaders too short-sighted and the stakes too great. Call it King Lear on the River Rouge or MacBeth in Motown, but this tragedy was foreordained. Some people simply have to reach the end to the tether to make a change; so long as there is an inch of rope left, they will play it out.
With the bankruptcy - which is a process, not an event - will come a reckoning. It will not be easy, but it is necessary.
In many ways Detroit's collapse prefigures the national debt crisis that is sure to come. In both cases people will believe that empty promises can somehow be honored, even though the means to do so are long gone.
And in both cases, the sun wills till rise on the morning after, and people will still go about their business. Some will struggle to keep up the appearances of things the way they were, but those with vision will understand that it is time to look forward and adjust to the new reality.
FEARLESS PREDICTION: Having twice handily won Michigan's electoral votes - largely on the strength of black turnout in Detroit, the president will wash his hands of the whole affair, knowing that a bailout is not only a non-starter, but might also compete with his true priorities. Another group of people are about to figure out how much his promises of help are worth.