The colony of Maryland was chartered by King Charles I to Cecil Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore, an English Roman Catholic. Calvert and his father preceding him had sought this charter as a place where Catholics could find a refuge from the persecution to which they were subject in England. The colony was founded on the principle of religious tolerance. Tolerance. That’s a word that has, if it has not vanished from our vocabulary certainly has been largely absent from the behavior of many of us.
Today, a portion of Baltimore is burning, burned by the intolerant, the ignorant and those who would promote anarchy. Granted, the recent death of a young black man under mysterious circumstances while he was in police custody is the focus and purportedly the catalyst for today’s lawlessness. As we saw in Ferguson, MO, young thugs – some of whom may well not be local – are burning and looting. A CVS after being raped of its contents was set ablaze and is on fire as I write this.
Various interviews with local residents suggest that while Freddie Gray’s demise was the immediate cause of today’s outbreak, there has been a very long history of mistrust of the Baltimore police by the black, inner city community that goes back decades. One middle aged man described how he had been detained by the police and spent several months in prison after they discovered that he had his day’s supply of prescription medication wrapped in a napkin in his pocket. The implication of his statement was that they took these capsules to be an illicit substance.
Baltimore has, for the last 47 years had a Democrat installed in the office of mayor. The current occupant is, in addition, a black female. According to the 2013 estimate by the U. S. Census Bureau, of Baltimore’s 622,000 residents, 63.3% are black. As we know, if you merely ask anyone at the DNC – the Democratic party is the party of the oppressed, the down-trodden and minorities. Black Americans overwhelmingly buy into this apparently as more than 90% of them are registered as Democrats nationwide and President Obama got more than 95% of their votes. Every member of Baltimore’s City Council is a Democrat.
Perhaps the man who was interviewed and displayed a great deal of anger toward the police is being completely honest in the statement he made about his interaction with them. If so, that is reprehensible. But the police have generally been portrayed as a quasi-fascist organization – not just in Baltimore but throughout the country whose primary goal is to harass and shoot black Americans, specifically young black American males. And we all know that fascists are supposed to be right wing Republicans. There is a certain failure of logic in the historical facts and the assertions. After all, the mayor and City Council are the ones who direct police policy and activities.
Wouldn’t you think that after 47 years of purported repression, the citizens of Baltimore and most of our large cities which similarly have had Democrats installed in the office of mayor for decades, (Philadelphia – 67 years; Chicago – 84 years, as examples) would figure out that the people for whom they are routinely voting, election after election, are not implementing policies which serve their constituents?
The proper way to effect positive change is through the political process and through peaceful protest but definitely not through destruction of public and private property or by throwing stones or shooting at police. And if the people in our urban ghettos don’t adopt that philosophy – well, Einstein’s definition of insanity comes to mind.