Baltimore, Land of Political Footballs

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Back in April 2015, a young black man named Freddie Gray was arrested by the Baltimore Police Department. He’d run from the police, had an illegal knife in his pocket and resisted arrest. The police loaded him into the back of the van but allegedly failed to secure him in place. During the ride to the police station, the van’s movement apparently caused Gray to slam his head into one of the walls, resulting in his death.

Given the furor surrounding the deaths of Eric Garner in New York City in July 2014 and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, among other high-profile deaths of young black men in confrontations with the police, Gray’s death quickly spiraled into a national story. Many in Baltimore accused the police of racism and murder.

After Gray’s funeral, protests morphed into riots, with 113 police officers injured, 486 people arrested, and serious looting and burning. The mayor of Baltimore at the time, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, bragged that she had given “space” to “those who wished to destroy.” National conversations began over the legacy of racism in Baltimore.


Most of these conversations failed to note that at the time of the incident, the mayor of Baltimore was black; the majority of the city council was black; the police chief was black; the prosecutor against the police was black; three of the charged officers in Gray's case were black; the congressman for the district was black; the president of the United States was black; and the attorney general of the United States was black.

Then, after all of these profound conversations, everything returned to normal in Baltimore: Violent, poverty-stricken, drug-infested (the term "drug-infested" is, by the way, the phraseology of Rep. Elijah Cummings circa 1999, not of President Trump). As of 2018, Baltimore had the highest murder rate of any major American city. That same year, PBS ran a documentary called "Rat Film" about the infestation problem in Baltimore.

Meanwhile, Rawlings-Blake decided not to run for reelection; she had replaced Mayor Sheila Dixon, who had been ousted from office after an embezzlement conviction. Rawlings-Blake was followed by Mayor Catherine Pugh, who resigned amidst allegations of corruption.

The cycle of failure in Baltimore continued.

Then President Trump decided to use Baltimore's failures of governance as a club to wield against Cummings. This was obviously a convenient brickbat: Trump was not proposing a plan for Baltimore or suggesting solutions. But the media determined that Trump's verbiage wasn't merely boorish but racist — and they suggested that Baltimore is, in fact, a thriving urban success. This, of course, is Trump's gift: Anything he touches becomes toxic to Democrats, while anything he criticizes becomes golden.

But when all this is said and done, will Baltimore be any better off?

We all know the answer to that question. The situation in Baltimore requires real solutions, not jabber from either side. Obfuscating Baltimore's problems because Trump put his finger on them doesn't help Baltimore any more than ignoring Baltimore's problems because Democrats govern it. And simply calling out those problems without providing a solution doesn't help Baltimore, either.

11 thoughts on “Baltimore, Land of Political Footballs”

  1. Same thing as when a school district fails to meet State or Federal standards and a supervisor, or conservator is put in place to realign the district. Power to remove anyone from office if found guilty is standard authority. The Good Ol’ Boy system is trashed and the district is restored to operate same as any business. You know, a balanced budget, accurate ledgers, etc, etc, How about it Congress? jwstx

  2. Wealthier people need to get in there and clean the place up. Law enforcement needs to do their jobs but be more aggressive at it and not listen to BLM types. Everything the president said was right. Unfortunately he can’t fire the elected officials. The governors can’t either. I wish they could.

    1. Wealthier people?? You mean the people who worked their butts off and paid high taxes already to help “the needy”??? Really? The ones who already pay 90% of the taxes in the country while more than HALF of Americans pay none???? Get off the leftist band wagon doll. IT is a complete and total lie.

  3. Baltimore has been a cesspool for 40 yrs. The common denominators are drugs, violence, apathy and corruptness of government, and a shameful disregard for its citizens. Baltimore has gone from a city of 1.1million to less than 700,000 during this time, and Baltimore and Maryland taxes continue rising to ever increasing, exorbitant levels.

    They continually hold the area of the Inner Harbor and Johns Hopkins University A’s areas of pride. They should be. However, they are this way because of massive police and private security patrolling these areas. Venture 2 blocks away from them…and you take your life in your hands.

    Baltimore will NEVER improve as long as corrupt Democraps run the local and state governments.

    1. Ask the Pelosi (b)witch about Balto. Her dad was mayor in the ’50’s, and it was a toilet then also. If you want to get to the bottom of the corruption in Balto, trace the expenditure of the 16.1 billion the feds poured into it in the last 3 (I think) years. 5.1 billion is unaccounted for, enough to fumd Cummings’ cosmetic surgery.

  4. When will black Americans quit listening to, and accepting as truth, all this garbage that democratic politicians have fed them over the past 50 years. They could care less about you. Hell, they don’t even want to hear from you until election season. Then they come around and promise the same old BS they have promised year after year after year. They want to peg the Republicans as racists. Do you remember all the politicians that fought so hard against civil rights laws, George Wallace, Lester Maddox. Almost everyone was in the democratic party. Like Trump says, what do you have to lose?

  5. i live in florida and it’s ranked 26th in the nation for best places to live.moved a company here in
    1977 from over taxed connecticut.we have a riight to work law i ask people if they know where the hood is?almost everyone says’s predominantly black and they most always vote
    democrat!so my question is after 42 years what have they done for the black community? 80 % of the crime is in a half mile radius in the hood!i don’t get it!

  6. Excellent article! It’s fascinating that too many people only want to attack Trump and worry about his words instead of delivering solutions to their own impoverished communities (i.e., Baltimore, Detroit, Oakland, etc.). Truly, it is citizens and elected local and state officials that can bring change to these cities. I hope citizens everywhere rise up and run for office so they can change the future. Forget about being a Democrat or Republican. Just work towards improving your communities for yourselves and future generations!

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