Deciding Michigan's future

DETROIT - Yes, we are battered, bruised and otherwise beleaguered. Our decade-long, one state economic depression flowed into a national depression and we're beyond defensive; we are flat out exhausted!

What happens to people who have slogged through the muck? They start out testy, frustrated and angry.

As the years pass and our collective energy gets sapped we feel hurt and bothered. After a decade we feel run down, ashamed of terrible things like bankruptcy and foreclosure, high crime rates and abject failure. We begin to believe the press clippings about ourselves -- that metro Detroit and all of Michigan are old fashioned, out of step, a bad place to live and do business.

We walk with our collective heads down, embarrassed to say we live in the big mitten.

We need a pep talk!

That is precisely what the Business Leaders of Michigan, chaired by William Clay Ford Jr., are in the process of giving us.

When you have six minutes, take a look at this video the Business Leaders made that is the cornerstone of their Michigan Turnaround Plan.

You will find that we have a lot to be proud of, natural resources shown off to the world so nicely in the Pure Michigan campaign. But there is a lot more, we're number one around the globe in engineering talent and prowess, our universities are world class, we can do anything automotive as well as anyone around the globe - if not better.

We all know this in our hearts, but the last decade of trouble beat us down to the point where we forgot our strengths.

The video really only reinforces the obvious for us, reminds us of those things moved to the back of our minds in that economically challenged haze lasting more than a decade.

Still, we need to go beyond the obvious, make a new, better and different future. A future where our children don't leave the day after graduating from one of our world class universities and move to another major city like Chicago or Los Angeles or New York to make their dreams come true.

To that end the Michigan Business Leaders are asking YOU to claim that brighter future.

They ask: What does YOUR New Michigan look like?

Why not spend a few minutes contemplating that question?

Why not enter the contest the Business Leaders are holding soliciting your ideas. If you are 18 years old or older and have a Facebook page, outside the box thinking is not only welcome but encouraged.

You could win a $500 prize or one of five $100 prizes simply by passing along your thoughts.

Here are the details:

It is time for us to shake off the sadness, dig deep into our imaginations and reclaim Michigan as our own, unique and special place.

How about simply channeling our state motto, "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you".

Indeed. Let's hear those ideas and embrace the notion we can all get on board with: feeling like there is nowhere else on earth we'd rather be!

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