Miami is a real American city. You know those criticisms lobbed by conservatives against New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles? It’s not a real American city. It’s bullshit in plenty of ways as our urban populations define America as much as rural, but it’s also true. Places like Miami maintain an essence, a kind of “here-ness” that reveals a thriving ecosystem of all classes, backgrounds and beliefs living in the same place.
It’s a thriving cosmopolitan city with an extremely wealth ruling class. It has welcomed it’s new leadership in the form of startup expats from “fake cities” moving in. The irony is that those are fake places and no one lives there. It’s transient wealth moving in and out for opportunities. Which is exactly what they are doing to Miami. The churn comes for us all. Before it was tech it was drug money and mortgages. It’s a free enterprise kind of place.
But it’s a relief to see mix of people. To see the shitty neighborhoods and the anxiety about crime, reminds you we have to do better for each other. To see the luxury houses and the amenity industry pop up to service everyone rich from yuppie to billionaire. It’s a vibrancy of hustle that isn’t everywhere. It’s a positive thing. For me it smells like America. A belief in the future where things could be better. A sense that capitalism is working.
As I write this my Uber driver is complaining about the local cops. How unfair their targeting is of everyone going too fast. A real class solidarity moment against the fuzz. Lambo owners and ride share drivers. I feel like that doesn’t happen in striated societies where the top use the police to torture their plebeian neighbors.
I didn’t really enjoy my time here. It’s way too hot. It’s facing intense pressures from climate change so I’d like to come more often before it’s too late. It it’s already too late maybe.
There really are issues related to inequality and the challenges it manifests via societal issues. It’s got crime and infrastructure issues and intense political culture war currents.
If I’m honest I’d rather be in a colder less populated state where some of the existential risks of the future are better mitigated. But I admire the optimism of people who do. They are the optimistic people we need for a better future.