Troy, the “City of Tomorrow… Today” has been in the news lately with their recent rejection of federal funding for a transit station.
Now Brian Dickerson’s Free Press column, “In Troy, an all-too-familiar fear of the other” drops an H-bomb by calling them “hicks.”
To be a hick in 2011, then, is to be in a state of denial — which is why “hicks” is precisely the right word to describe Troy Mayor Janice Daniels and the like-minded elected city leaders who’ve sent Troy reeling backward in time, grasping for a past that is not so much racist or unsophisticated as it is, well, past.
But their real motive was transparent: the fear that outsiders currently disinclined to visit Troy may do so if enticed by a modern train station and convenient parking, at an incalculable cost to Troy taxpayers and their way of life.
This reminds us of a speech given by Horatio Earle in the late 1890s. Earle led the Good Roads committee for the League of Michigan Wheelmen — the state’s cycling body. He was in Troy to promote government investments in building good roads.
From his autobiography:
One night in Troy Township Hall, in Oakland County, where I was holding a meeting, it almost became a riot. I told them that they showed lack of intelligence, and gave me less consideration than would be shown a man in the center of Ethiopia; that some time they would be ashamed of themselves. And they have been; since then, they have made profuse apology.
The farmers said the muddy roads were good enough for them. They felt they were taxed enough already and they didn’t want city folks, especially bicyclists riding through their community.
Now to be fair to Troy, Earle garnered the same negative reaction in nearby Royal Oak.
Then again, it’s likely that federal funding to improve the Royal Oak transit station would be greeted with celebration rather than controversy.