Friday, May 1, 2015

Will Baltimore Change the Mindset of America?

It’s been an exhausting week.  Being the “newshound” that I am, I was afraid to turn the television off at night for fear I would miss a new development in the Baltimore City protests (or “riots” if you prefer to call it.)  I was transfixed by those images of the crowd and the passion each person exuded.  I knew that I was watching an historic event and one that I pray will be the real catalyst to addressing the root cause of these repeated incidents.

The problems have been identified.  Now let’s set about to fix them.  The policing issue is just one small part of the problem and probably the easiest to solve.  The other issues like poverty, drugs, racism and violence will require a new mindset.  I don’t have a clue how we change the mindset of an entire country, but I do know it has nothing to do with being a liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. 

While it was great to see all races of Baltimore City coming together, I hope we did not send the message that rioting and looting is an acceptable way to get the attention of the nation.

The “political junkie” in me couldn’t help but analyze the dynamics of the key players.  The Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.  Prior to the death of Freddie Gray, the Mayor was touted as the rising star in Maryland politics and aspired to run for U. S. Senator.  At the beginning of this saga she was strong, confident, and providing exemplary leadership to her city. 

Enters newly elected Republican Governor, Larry Hogan.  He made the comment, “I’m glad she finally called me.”  Governor Hogan made it seem he had not spoken to her previously about the situation in Baltimore.  Truth is, he knew Mayor Rawlings-Blake was in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation and he took unnecessary partisan advantage of that.  We all know that if she had given the go-ahead to call in the National Guard while the protests were still peaceful, she would have been skewered like the officials in Ferguson.  He puffed his chest and intimated, “Here I come to save the day!”  He did it right in front of her face and I thought it was offensive and very unstatesman-like.  Imagine what she thought?

Then, whether from fatigue, frustration, or a miss-speak, she said something out of character for her.  She said something stupid.  The country jumped on her and performed a “beat down.”   By Thursday, the Mayor looked like a shell-shocked zombie as she was lead into a church by Reverend Al Sharpton. 

Then enters Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State’s Attorney.  This position is the equivalent to Georgia’s District Attorneys. And another star is born?  Or will she be another fatality of this historic event?   She’s young, idealistic, and inexperienced.  She’s already playing the political game.  How do I know that?  At the press conference, she thanked the leaders by name, but no mention of the Mayor. 

State’s Attorney Mosby, as the chief prosecutor, must now successfully prosecute the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray.  Being on such a high pedestal is hard to stay there.  Like the Mayor, it can make or break her.  I wish her godspeed.

On another subject, I’m happy to tell you that in case you were worried, I found Fourth District Commissioner Jarod Lovett.  Turns out he wasn’t hiding from High Falls.  He was just busy fixing potholes in other parts of his vast district.  Commissioner Lovett addressed the High Falls Civic Club Thursday night and took questions for over an hour concerning various issues facing Monroe County.  If anyone doubts the saying by former House Speaker “Tip” O’Neal  that “all politics is local,” was not at this meeting.  It’s amazing how much people want to talk about potholes, water, and garbage.  Myself included. 

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