Last night, I had a terrible nightmare about the future. New York had followed Pennsylvania’s lead and allowed fracking, and now the effects of gas exploration and fracking were coming home to roost. It was worse than any sorority house slasher movie, and more terrifying than the implementation of Obamacare.
Refugees by the tens of thousands were leaving Pennsylvania and New York seeking safety, economic opportunity, and a better life in the liberal, Democratic bastion of Detroit.
They fled because our dairy farms were going out of business, every year over 80 percent of our high school graduates had to leave this area to find jobs, and those that returned with a college degree flipped burgers, greeted at Walmart or sold athletic supporters at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Our small towns were all but gone! No longer did we find feed mills, equipment dealers, large animal vets, or local hardware and grocery stores. Instead, we had vacant hulks, or if we were lucky, antique stores, hair salons, or real estate offices filled the void.
Our larger towns and cities were also decaying. Many downtown stores were vacant, and those still open no longer were of substance. Gone were the department stores, sporting goods and furniture stores. They had been replaced by tattoo parlors, candle and incense stores, and snack shops.
What little manufacturing we had was gone, and the possibility of luring new industry was nil. Anyone with the tens of millions needed to build a manufacturing facility would be too smart to invest those millions in this wasteland created by gas exploration and fracking.
We had been cursed with a long-standing 16 percent poverty rate, unemployment was frozen at 8 percent, and tourism had gone the way of the spotted owl.
My heart was pounding, and finally, I awoke! Thank goodness it was just a dream! After my obligatory 64-year-old man’s middle of the night trip to the bathroom, I realized it was not a dream at all. Except for the refugees, this nightmare is happening now!