After America's Midlife Crisis (Boston Review Books) by Michael Gecan

By Michael Gecan

An established neighborhood organizer outlines the way to opposite the fifty-year decline in social mobility and fiscal development.

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Some blame them for the current fiscal crisis. Meanwhile, the structural, financial, and political challenges of the suburbs—built into their creation and preceding the newest wave of immigrants by three decades—are not dealt with. Withdrawal: increasing fragmentation and privatization. As the budget crises persist, as the gimmicks  after america’s midlife crisis become more transparent and inadequate, as the racial and ethnic rhetoric rises, those with resources begin to protect their own interests.

What’s the next one-shot? Naming rights are being discussed. And, of course, there is always the summer Olympics of 2016. In a desolate corner of the Near South Side, amid boarded up graystones and eerily empty boulevards during what should be the morning rush hour, a beleaguered local pastor told me that the possibility of an Olympic swimming venue (proposed by the city, for eight years in the future, as part of an Olympic bid with little or no chance of succeeding) would help revive the neighborhood.

As we say in organizing, the internal fights are always the toughest. michael gecan  1 On Borrowed Time In the spring of 2008, about 125 leaders from religious institutions, civic organizations, and social service groups met at Etz Chaim synagogue in the town of Lombard, in DuPage County, to wrestle with a new reality: a budget crisis. Budget crises are not supposed to happen in places like suburban DuPage. Cook County’s western neighbor is home to nearly one million souls and more than 600,000 private sector jobs.

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