Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Steel Valley Shadows

Tyler Clark covered it yesterday, but a message from a member of Greater Youngstown 2.0 encouraged me to give it a close inspection. I'm being asked for my impressions of a Detroit News production about Lordstown and the entire Mahoning Valley.

I would tend to agree with Tyler in that some of the more melodramatic statements sound like hyperbole. The portrait is one of Lordstown trying to avoid the awful fate of Youngstown. The only positive images are from a distant past. Those memories are holding the region back. There isn't a stark choice between glory days and the effacement of home.

While watching the interviews, I imagined being in the shoes of Richard Longworth travelling the Midwest and speaking with people on the wrong end of economic globalization. I hear workers and students struggling to understand the forces ravaging their way of life. What frightens me is the impression that Lordstown is somehow disconnected from Youngstown. Leave Lordstown and head in any direction and you'll find the same story. The same trials. There may be one Mahoning Valley, but you wouldn't know it from listening to its people.

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