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.