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People who refuse to see or hear Trump’s racism in attack on Baltimore are beyond reach, but here goes

People who refuse to see or hear Trump’s racism in attack on Baltimore are beyond reach, but here goes
Baltimore politicians respond to President Donald Trump calling Baltimore a “disgusting,” “rodent infested mess" in a series of tweets Saturday morning. From left, Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, City Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton, City Council President Brandon Scott, Mayor Jack Young, and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. (Christina Tkacik/Baltimore Sun / Baltimore Sun)

People who support President Donald Trump, no matter what he says or does, are beyond reach with reason and facts. To continue to support this president, you have to either agree with every bit of what he says and does or put yourself in a kind of bubble where you never hear his racism and never see his ignorance and cruelty. For you, Trump is all about conservative judges and a strong economy. Life is good, and so what if the president is a high-grade bigot?

And that explains why a tweet like this shows up: “Do you always jump on the ‘Race’ wagon? Did you hear Trump say anything about race? where do you demtards get this prejudice, xenophobic, misogynist, narcissistic crap?? you like to perpetuate lies, Anything i missed?”

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This tweet was in response to others critical of Trump for his Saturday morning attack on Rep. Elijah Cummings and the conditions in his congressional district, which includes Baltimore. The language Trump used on Twitter to describe Cummings’ district was similar to the disparaging screeds I often receive from suburban white men; they generally regard Baltimore as a violent hellhole in full collapse, not worth further federal funding, and they blame 50-plus years of Democratic dominance for the mess. Some of the people I hear from use racial profanities to describe the city while others express their hostility in milder ways.

And “hostility” is no exaggeration.

Now, as to Brad, the writer of that aforequoted tweet: No, I don’t always jump on the “Race” wagon; I point out and condemn racism as it’s warranted. And, when it comes to Trump, there’s a long history of racism; that is an established fact, and that fact has been reported and memorialized by a diligent U.S. press countless times.

I normally don’t bother respond to people like Brad, who say they don’t see the racism that “demtards” or “libtards” do. First of all, people who use such offensive terms to describe those of us with different views — that we must be mentally disabled — don’t deserve a response; a response is a kind of reward for their provocation. And secondly, anyone who refuses to acknowledge Trump’s “prejudice, xenophobic, misogynist, narcissistic crap” is beyond reach.

But other tweets in defense of Trump’s comments on Baltimore — that what he said was basically true — are worth response.

Here’s a comment from a guy named Jim: “Too bad Baltimore City is nationally known as an awful dangerous place. People do not want to come to the city anymore. I feel bad for those that have to live there and the businesses that are suffering because of the elected officials who have made a mess of things.”

So, yeah, Baltimore has had a long spell of violent crime, and we are per capita one of the most violent cities in the country. It has been a miserable fact of life here for a long time, the last four years particularly. And yes, we have rats and we have trash.

But we do not need the president of the United States to rub it all in our faces, especially a president of a political party that has done as little as possible over the last half-century to relieve us of these problems.

When I hear people slam Cummings and other Democrats for the conditions in Baltimore, I always answer by asking: OK, but where are the Republicans? You can sit on your duff in ‘burbia and knock Democrats all you like because you have no other choice. The city has not had a Republican mayor since 1967, and the GOP has had little presence in the city for decades. Republican President Ronald Regan shifted funding priorities away from cities. Maryland’s Republican governor, elected the year before the Freddie Gray uprising of 2015, had some big chances to help the city after the day of riots, and didn’t. Trump? Has he even been here?

So when he teed off on Cummings, Trump wasn’t coming from a place of caring. He certainly wasn’t coming from the Bernie Sanders place. (Sanders visited Baltimore in 2016 and likened the level of poverty here to a Third World country, calling it a disgrace.)

It’s clear by now that Trump only cares about his #MAGA base of support, the people who ignore his racism and cruelty, or relish it. His attack on Cummings was an attack on a black congressman who represents, in part, a majority African-American city, and a city with a host of problems that, with his tweet, Trump exploited for political gain.

No one who lives in Baltimore is happy with the state of the city. We have people being shot and killed all the time, even as cranes and construction workers deliver new, classy places for people to live, even as dozens of nonprofits do the hard work of trying to save and improve lives, even as a new police commissioner tries to stem crime while making his officers effective and trusted. The violence is a 10-ton burden we all feel here. It is a drag on the city’s progress. Trump used it as an ax against us.

But his worst offense came in this phrase: “No human being would want to live there.” That’s as deeply racist a comment as he has ever uttered or tweeted. It says that the 600,000-plus of us who live here must be subhuman, or in some way defective human beings. (“Demtards”?) That he said this about a struggling city with a majority African American population caps Trump’s persistent and ugly effort to play the race card as a reelection strategy. And, if you don’t see that by now, I can’t help you.

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