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Auchter's Art: Solving, not masking, our problems

John Auchter
Michigan Radio

Not too long ago when I would draw a cartoon related to the city of Detroit, a good portion of the feedback I'd get included suggestions to build some sort of wall around to the city to seal it off from the rest of Michigan. At the time, I recognized these not as legitimate proposals, but folks either venting their frustrations or mongering their fears. Now, I'm not so sure they weren't perfectly serious.

I mean, their argument was that Detroit was different and dangerous. We had made bad deals and they were soaking us, taking our money. Worse, they were invading our land and bringing their drugs and crime. Rapists. I'm sure many were fine people, but... you see where I'm going with this, right?

To be clear, I am not trying to make an apples-to-apples case for Detroit circa 2013 and the Mexican border circa 2019. There are lots and lots of very obvious differences. What I am saying is that there are lessons to be learned.

The first: The desire to build large physical barriers is reactive — a seemingly simple solution to a complex problem. But you have to ask: Functionally, practically, financially, how would it work? The honest answer is: Not well, even in the unlikely event it could be completed.

The second: Think about how much better off Detroit and Michigan are today by working cooperatively, not punitively. Everything is certainly not sunshine and rainbows — there are still (and will always be) real issues. But we should look to solve problems, not mask them.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganRadio.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.
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