What Detroit Can Teach Us

“Ideology is just a pejorative word for principles in which you happen not to believe.”

The Economist, 11 February 2012

Ideology colors everything.  For the dyed-in-the-wool conservative, Obama’s healthcare plan is a socialist plot that threatens the very foundation of the United States.  For the liberal, it’s a half-assed compromise that sells out to big business and especially insurance companies.  In reality, it’s the first step toward reining in out of control healthcare spending that simultaneously provides a laughable level of actual service.

And ideology goes further than that, filtering everything through a lens of principles and beliefs.  This is fine to a certain extent when the debate is constructive and leads to better proposals and more responsive policies.  But when ideology goes too far, it leads to a total lack of common sense.

For instance, take the uproar over Chrysler’s Super Bowl ad.  Setting aside the fact that Clint Eastwood is apolitical at best, it’s hard to see how this car ad could be taken as anything but a commentary on the tough economic conditions Americans have faced over the past few years and how Chrysler wants them to know that they went through the same thing.  Look at it again:

Me, I see a pretty darn effective car commercial.  But conservatives see a hidden campaign for Obama’s re-election while liberals interpret it as anti-union.  It makes me wonder what they’d see in last year’s Chrysler Super Bowl commercial:

Xenophobia?  Racism?  Socialism?

Here’s what I think.  Detroit is a metaphor for America.  And Detroit has had a rough decade.  But Detroit hasn’t given up.  Look at the Tigers and Lions.  Look at the new line of Fords.  Hell, look at what Chrysler is turning out.  That, my friends, has nothing to do with ideology.  It has everything to do with inspiration.



  1. This is a very simple game...

    It was a great commercial and incredibly moving. Detroit is absolutely a metaphor for America, as you say, and should be an inspiration. The political fallout over this was just plain stupid. It is also, without a doubt, the most pro American spirit commercial ever put together by an Italian car compay…but my amusement and snark over that particular detail doesn’t change the fact that the message is one we should all take to heart.
    — Kristen

  2. Randy Stern

    Thank you, Allen, for your take on “Halftime in America.” It speaks to all of us with Detroit in the background. It is a message the spoke loud and clear (and quieted Twitter war between GM and Ford over the “Apocalypse” ad).

    It came at the right time. We lost our sense of the common ground. On here – baseball was that common ground, which works. Still, we became so entrenched with being completely partisan, narrow-minded, and agenda-driven that we often forget the essentials of who we are as a nation – diverse, polyglot and free.

    This is exactly what Chrysler Group intentioned in this ad.

    Kristen – love ya, miss ya – but a point about Fiat Auto’s 58% stake in Chrysler Group. No, they are not integrating Auburn Hills, but are expanding what they’re doing globally while redeveloping the product lineup. Though the platforms were originally developed in Turin/Milan, they are produced in NAFTA-land. If Sergio Marchionne did not have any Canadian blood and education in him, he wouldn’t be here – and he’s more animated than Dr. Zetsche. 🙂

    These are just bullet points. Have a great season, Jeff, Allen, Johanna, Pie and the rest of the RSBS and MLBlogs crew! Miss y’all!

    – The Heirloom…now Victory & Reseda…still, Randy, yo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s