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GM Post Divorce (I mean post bankruptcy)

I was going to write about names, the changing of them, and how changing your name doesn’t mean starting over, changing yourself, or amount to forgiveness.

I don't believe that.

A few weeks ago GMAC announced their name change to Ally Bank.  It seemed logical, the strategic distancing from an unattractive albatross.  With layoffs, plant closures, dealership cuts, it was how GM could justify money coming in, but not out.

As GM filed bankruptcy, I fantasized about months of free car payments.  As the media announced the government’s plan to bail GM out and explained the theoretical 60% share the American people now owned in GM, I mentally reduced my car payment by 60%.

When I got divorced I kept my hyphenated married name. I kept it because two of my children have my ex-husband’s name and I kept it because when I was a kid, my mother didn’t.  I can remember how hot my face felt when teachers called her Mrs. Battle. 

 “Carter.” 

The correction was immediate, firm, hostile.

My mother was right to change her name, there was too much wrought within a last name like Battle, and maybe keeping it meant she had lost one.

Tonight, days after they filed, I saw the GM post-bankruptcy-filing commercial.  It admitted to mistakes, hard choices, and plans to move on.  It was honest--if not delayed. Hot cars and other symbols (maybe that’s just to me) of strength flashed by to an almost somber sounding voice over, the affect is understated confidence, not conceit and certainly not defeat.

When the president announced the need to be optimistic during GM’s bankruptcy, I wondered if Americans could afford to be optimistic.

The answer is yes.

I kept my name.  I am reinventing and rediscovering myself.

If I can do it, can GM?

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