Essential Pittsburgh
4:59 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Leaving Detroit, and Those Who Remain

What's it like to stick around in one of America's most troubled cities?
Credit Don Harder/Flickr

When Ben Schmitt, a free lance writer and former journalist at the Detroit Free Press, left the city, he felt as though the cliche of the American dream “had evolved to fight or flight.” After packing up and heading back to Pittsburgh, he has a few parting words for those who stayed behind:

“I wish them nothing but the best of luck.”

For those who did remain, however, the city’s recent decision to file for bankruptcy is neither a surprise nor a game changer. As Craig Fahle, host of The Craigh Fahle show on Detroit’s NPR member station WDET, puts it, “we’re handling it the same way we’ve always handled the situation here.”

From his conversations with Detroit citizens, Fahle has discerned that for many, the city’s bankruptcy is something of a relief. It offers a way forward from a perpetually difficult situation, because “you’re not going to get help until you recognize that you need help.”