I was traveling over the weekend when my phone started buzzing at lunch. “Did you see it?” was the most common question. It took me a few minutes to figure out what “it” was.

In the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal is a piece, “Welcome to Dearborn, America’s Jihad Capital.”

After reading it, it’s a piece of something.

Have you ever been somewhere and a bird comes in, screaming loudly, takes your fry, leaves and then poops on your table as it flies or waddles away?

The bird, with a snack and the better off gone — and you — left to clean up what’s left over.

I’ve witnessed it so many times over the years. After all, I live in Detroit, the city that for many years America loved to kick.

This poop comes in different forms, such as:

  • Let’s drive through a city and make a video that has poverty and blame the other political party! Research, nah. That takes time!
  • Let’s ask questions; but only want to listen to one answer, the one I think my audience will agree with!
  • Reading? Background as to why this happened? That’s boring! Take me to a burnt out building!
  • Let’s take one small sliver of a story and make it as large as possible because divided people empty their pockets with subscriptions!

It’s a shame that the Wall Street Journal — knowing that the vast majority of people are going to read only the headline of their paywalled publication — went for the cheap heat on this one.

This Israel-Hamas conflict is a difficult discussion; and headlines and pieces like that do nothing to help foster progress. It seemed to me like division was the point.

Defending Dearborn

Others have already come to the defense of Dearborn, far better than I could.

My Daily Detroit podcast colleague, Devon O’Reilly — whose family has been serving Dearborn for decades, and he makes his home there — wrote a piece in the Detroit News.

The Metro Times stepped up and highlighted good things about Dearborn.

Politicians weighed in, from the Mayor of Dearborn to the President of the United States. Who don’t exactly see eye to eye lately.

Look, if you’ve not spent time in Dearborn yourself; I encourage you to do so. I have some great memories there. It’s a diverse community with lots of wonderful people and great food.

(Yes, ill-informed conspiracy bro, I’ve drank alcohol in the city. It’s not Sharia law).

Unlike Mr. Stalinsky, the author of the WSJ op-ed, we live here. We need to eat at this table tomorrow.

He and his colleagues can go back to work finding the next fry or burger bun that happens to be out there to grab, leaving us only to clean up the mess.

I’m not an expert in the subject of the Middle East (and why I generally stay out of it), but after 20+ years living and working here I know there’s real consequences to our communities when conversations get nationalized and polarized. Incidents of hate are up among Arab, Muslim and Jewish communities, for instance.

Fear is a drug. Too often, pundits and politicians are dealers of it.

A wise mentor of mine said to not refer to a group of people as “them,” because that dehumanizes people. It plays to the worst of human nature. It makes for “the others.” It’s tempting because you will get immediate support and that will “feel” good; but long term, it rarely solves anything.

At the end of the day, it’s all “us.” War is hell, in all forms. And an eye for an eye eventually makes the world blind.

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