T.D. Allman


It’s the people who make Miami so worth experiencing. Immerse yourself in their joys and their conflicts, and you see what America is becoming, what it already has become, in fact. More than a vacation spot or an exotic film location, Miami is, and always has been, a revelation of America.

That was considered a perverse, ridiculous contention 30 years ago, when in the pages of Esquire Magazine, I first pointed out that Miami was America’s City of the Future. The “experts” already had decided: Miami was un-American; Miami was finished. I had come to a very different judgment: that all the things that made Miami seem so un-American were what made it America’s newest great city — a subtropical Chicago, a salsa-flavored New York — the city that was leading us into a nationwide reinvention.

Time has vindicated that judgment. Today you find immigrants, drugs, globalization and service-sector economies in Northern suburbs and Midwestern farm towns. In fact the rest of America gets more Miami-like with each passing year. That is because the forces that once made Miami seem so peculiar never were unique to Miami. They were universal phenomena, reshaping people’s lives and the substance of nations around the world.

Today America in its entirety finds itself caught up in the kind of metamorphosis that Miami, prophetically, underwent starting many decades ago. The most important thing Miami has to teach us is that, when it comes to the future, you can’t pick and choose. You must make the best of all the changes overtaking you. You must learn from them, also enjoy them if you can. Miami certainly continues to be a trend-setter in that regard.

The macro-indicators tell us climate change and rising ocean levels may make Miami the whole world’s city of the future, but who cares what the barometers tell us, so long as Miami remains America’s best party town!

If you want to see the lies America tells itself, head for the theme parks, but if you want to see the truth about America, start with Miami. Miami does not deceive us as to the true nature of life. Life is tough. Life is unpredictable. Life is stranger than we can anticipate or even imagine, and there is no escaping it. Life never ends well, but what a ride toward that ultimate denouement! Faster, wilder, better, I’ll tell you, than any ride in any amusement park.

If you’re scared of Miami, you’re scared of life.

Excerpted from the new revised edition of “Miami: City of the Future.” T.D. Allman will appear at 4 p.m., Nov. 23, Room 7106.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">GAZA DESTRUCTION:</span> Palestinians sit amid the rubble of a building this week while attending a “victory rally” organized by the military wing of Hamas.


    People of Gaza must be helped

    Now that the guns have fallen silent, leaders of Israel and Hamas are busy trying to convince their respective peoples that they emerged victorious from this 50-day war.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE:</span> The rise of a terrorist state in the Middle East may be the defining crisis of President Obama’s presidency.


    Obama too detached to lead?

    Having once served a president, I don’t begrudge any president a vacation. There is, in fact, no escape from this relentless job. A change of scenery does not involve a change in responsibilities, or even a release from the essence of the president’s routine.



    Up close and personal with migrant children in Dade school

    This year, on the first day of the academic calendar, I kicked off the day at Francis Tucker Elementary in Coconut Grove donating book bags and supplies to excited kindergartners in this historic and economically fragile neighborhood of the City of Miami.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category