Hang around me long enough and you'll hear me express sentiments to this effect. Most people are at least surprised, if not completely taken aback - even people who have traveled. I can't understand how they don't see what I see. Well, Chris Hedges sees what I see:
The Gilead Baptist Church, outside Detroit, is on a four-lane highway called South Telegraph Road. The drive down South Telegraph Road to the church, a warehouse-like structure surrounded by black asphalt parking lots, is a depressing gantlet of boxy, cut-rate motels with names like Melody Lane and Best Value Inn. The highway is flanked by a flat-roofed Walgreens, a Blockbuster, discount liquor stores, a Taco Bell, a McDonald's, a Bob's Big Boy, Sunoco and Citgo gas stations, a Ford dealership, Nails USA, The Dollar Palace, Pro Quick Lube and U-Haul. The tawdry display of cheap consumer goods, emblazoned with neon, lines both sides of the road, a dirty brown strip in the middle. It is a sad reminder that something has gone terribly wrong with America, with its inhuman disregard for beauty and balance, its obsession with speed and utilitarianism, its crass commercialism and its oversized SUVs and trucks and greasy junk food. It is part of our numbing assault against community and connectedness.