One unexplained death. So many negative images. So many pundits talking past real issues. So many obvious problems.
The storylines of Baltimore’s latest riots are heavy fodder for observers from all sides of the political spectrum.
On the left, it’s mostly about racism and bad cops and not enough social spending. The Ferguson-inspired slogan “Black Lives Matter” is renewed even though in the spate of highly publicized recent young black deaths there is no evidence that Michael Brown, who attacked a police officer, was deprived of any rights at all.
In Baltimore, the mayor turns to the feds in order to investigate her allegedly out-of-control police. A newly elected state’s attorney promises to answer the angry mob’s cries for justice. Yet, nobody asks the (indelicate) question of why the mayor and her chief prosecutor waited for FreddieGray’s death before asking for federal intervention. Another indelicate question: where was the street rage when 1/6 of the population of Baltimore was arrested in 2005?
On the right, it’s a more complex debate, including the facts and circumstances of Mr. Gray’s arrest and transport that fateful morning. Besides police process and procedure, I and so many others bemoan the considerable social ills that poison West Baltimore neighborhoods: too many pregnant teenagers, too many sick babies, too many fatherless children, too many single-income households, too many high school dropouts, too many welfare dependents, too few manufacturing jobs, too much drug culture, too little hope.
Our conclusion is familiar: Trillions of dollars directed into poor communities over the past 50 years has failed to produce better neighborhoods. Just too many left behind, with little hope. It seems a value-less culture trumps social welfare programs every time.
Going forward, it’s not nearly good enough to ritualisticallyrepeat the usual clichés regarding the importance of “healing” and “coming together.” Here, we truly need to define our terms.
Healing is not about demanding your unique definition of justice or threatening to burn the place down if your demands are not met. Neither is it about a not-so-secret war on African Americans in a police department where the mayor, police commissioner, and nearly 50% of the force is black. Real healing is respecting the criminal justice system’s search for truth and then working within the system for change if you disagree with the result. Kind of like Dr. King taught us to think and act.
Similarly, coming together is great if it means everybody working to bring about positive change. In this case, bringing the police closer to the community they are paid to protect and rooting out bad actors within the department along the way. There may be bad cops, but the Baltimore riots were not explained by a reaction to bad police work.
Mostimportant, progress will only come if we are willing to think reallybig and long term. Such a new way of thinking about our inner cities would include parental demands for better schools; community leaders lobbying businesses to reinvest in their neighborhoods; political leaders willing to alleviate the dis-incentivizing impacts of high property taxes; a recognition that teenage pregnancy is a key predictor of cultural dysfunction; and a willingness to admit that young boys desperately need a strong male influence in their lives.
Leaders from both sides of the aisle will be willing to go “all in” if our leaders can shake off their Great Society blinders. Yes, big-time barriers will always be present – not the least of which is a newfound challenge to widespread acceptance of social welfarism – a central tenet of today’s progressive thought. But the case against government subsidy and dependence grows day-by-day, month-by-month, year-by-year.
On the other side, the right must pursue reform of criminal sentencing laws and seek to better understand the rage – frustration – bitterness – that flashed across America’s television screens two weeks ago. Such a task is far easier said than done as most conservatives live a life far removed from the realities of inner city life.
There’s a small group of potential Republican presidential candidates you don’t hear much about, though they speak at events along with better-known candidates. They don’t have exploratory committees or campaign staffs. They’re one-man bands. But what they do have are impressive records. This group includes John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, ex-Virginia governor Jim Gilmore—and Robert Ehrlich, the former governor
New Jersey governor Chris Christie will be sending New Jersey cops to Baltimore. The Republican governor made the announcement on Twitter.
"I spoke directly with Maryland Governor @LarryHogan last night and let him know that New Jersey is offering our full support & solidarity," Christie tweeted. "…in their efforts to protect the lives and well-being of the people in the city of Baltimore while calm and order are being restored. Following my conversation with Gov @LarryHogan, the @NJSP placed an assessment team on the ground in Maryland.
"You know, I’d really had a nightmare about this, but I didn’t realize they would do it. I didn’t think they would. The kids must be terrified.” So exclaimed Danielle Meitiv of Silver Spring, Maryland, to free-range-parenting godmother Lenore Skenazy. The “they” in this case are the authorities—police officers and child protective services workers—who, for all intents and purposes, kidnapped the Meitiv children on their way home from the park on a clear Sunday afternoon in April.
Is former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley moving closer to running for president? A short video on the Democrat's Facebook page looks like the beginning of a campaign ad.
"This bizarre sort of trickle-down experiment we've had where we think that by keeping wages down and concentrating wealth at the very top, we're somehow creating a better future for our kids," says O'Malley in the 15-second clip. "It doesn't work. It never has."
Outgoing Maryland governor Martin O'Malley is commuting the sentences of the state's four remaining inmates on death row. In 2012, Maryland abolished the death penalty, but the law did not apply to those already sentenced for execution. O'Malley, a Democrat, said in an official statement that executions of convicted murderers "make every citizen a party to a legalized killing as punishment."
Speaking truth to power is easy—or easier, anyway, than speaking truth to money. We might resist a sovereign who commands us to preach his favored doctrines. But a sovereign who slips us a little cash on the side, just for a sermon or two on something we maybe don’t really disagree with all that much? Harder. Much, much harder. It was true back in 1717, for example, when Benjamin Hoadly preached a famous Anglican sermon in front of a receptive King George I—a sermon that called for church government to be taken away from the bishops and given directly to the king.
Of all the rituals I count on to give my life shape, there is none so sacred as witnessing my former brother-in-law, Mike Benton, stand for local office in our pleasant burg of Calvert County, Maryland. Though my wife’s sister wound down with Mike two decades ago, he and I have a same-time-next-cycle arrangement, in which we use each quadrennial Election Day to catch up on the families, celebrate public service, and drink until we can’t feel our legs.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has a 5-point lead over Democrat Anthony Brown in a surprisingly close race in Maryland, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Hogan campaign and obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.
The survey of more than 500 likely Maryland voters finds Hogan with 44 percent support, while Brown, the lieutenant governor, has 39 percent support. Fourteen percent say they remain undecided. That's a 17-point swing from the campaign's internal poll in July, when Brown led Hogan by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.
Speaking to the overflow crowd at a campaign rally at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, President Obama urged the crowd to make sure "cousin Pookie" voted in November's election.