OUR VIEW: Story on Greenville was off the mark

By Daily News • Last Updated 12:28 pm on Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Center for Michigan’s Bridge Report published an article last week referring to the plight of unemployed people from the closing of Greenville’s Electrolux plant. We acknowledge the plight of the people interviewed, but the publication missed by a mile the actual vitality of this area.

Click here for the article by Pat Shellenbarger published June 11 by Bridge Magazine.

We have an abiding and sincere concern for the people of the Montcalm area and beyond who are unemployed as a result of the global economic catastrophe of 2008-2009. We are concerned for their living conditions; and we believe our community has been exemplary in responding to their needs.

But the continuing recession they endure was not their fault, neither was it the result of an overnight economic implosion. It was the calving of a huge economic iceberg that had been warning us that technological advances were making millions of service and paperwork jobs no longer necessary, and that modern transportation and electronic communications made it easy to export even more non- and semi-skilled production jobs to other countries where labor is cheap, friendly and plentiful.

We might also mention the decades of lack of appreciation for the increasing need for greater academic skills at high school and college levels. That, too, was not necessarily the kids’ fault, but the failure of the education industry to anticipate and fulfill the education needs of the masses.

It was there for all to see. Too many of us chose to look the other way, for too long. Then we expected “government” to save us. But American government can ultimately do only what American people can afford to do. Hence, the struggle you see today. If people don’t have the money to share with their less fortunate neighbors, neither does the government.

We were nevertheless headed toward a new world economy, one which would dazzle and frustrate five decades of prosperity for American society.

We in the Greenville and Montcalm area, like the rest of Michigan, have by no means reached broad smilin’ times. And we do admire the consistent quality of the Center for Michigan’s Bridge Report. But as for their recent portrayal of Greenville and its Montcalm County environs, we challenge them to visit Greenville and its community leaders, the Greenville Public School system and its leadership, Montcalm Community College and its leaders, and the leaders of Greenville’s Spectrum Health United Hospital … All of their multi-million dollar new facilities have been developed since the morbid period you describe in your article. We have moved forward … and you’ll need to see it in order to understand.

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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