These past couple of difficult days in my beloved hometown of Baltimore, MD have caused me some agita. I am reminded of a 1963 speech by Malcolm X that analogized the assassination of President John F. Kennedy with ‘chickens coming home to roost.” That a climate of hate was ultimately responsible for the president’s death.
Baltimore’s chickens have come home to roost. Decades of neglect; aristocracy masquerading as democracy; executive forces brutalizing the underrepresented; and politicians feeding their own greedy ambitions have contributed. Ill-equipped parents; failing schools; devastating drug culture; the flight of wealth, family structure, and old-school character from the inner city have contributed. Gentrification; greedy churches; broken promises; capitalism; a polarized government; the war on drugs; and overwhelmed teachers. We are all complicit in every window broken, every body bruised, every exploding car and burning pharmacy.
The mob mentality has a firm grip on our communities from Ferguson to Baltimore and images of angry youth standing defiantly against police forces are sobering. The images demonstrate that power is just an illusion and there is no controlling the out-of-controlled. This lost generation, our spawn, will be a problem for years to come. The large numbers of unemployed, uneducated, apathetic young men and women are the result of a butterfly flapping its wings tens, maybe hundreds of years ago. Fractal patterns that have been looping all of my life. It won’t get fixed over night.
What’s happened to our town is wrong from all angles. There is no justification for it; nothing noble about it. It’s a great big shit pile and we are all wallowing in it.
Today, I weep for my city. I only hope that the work to rebuild the spirit, the goodwill, the character of Charm City, from all levels, starts in earnest.