Baltimore came out in a big way for a rally-turned-impromptu-march in solidarity with Charlottesville. On Sunday, about a thousand people took to the streets of Charles Village following a rally at Wyman Park Dell near the Lee-Jackson Monument. Organized by Baltimore Bloc, the massive group was in the streets and against traffic, chanting, among other things, "Any time, any place, punch a Nazi in the face." The feeling was nearly joyful and the group was energized—it felt like 2015 again. When the group returned to Wyman Park Dell, a "Black Lives Matter" chant lasted nearly 15 minutes and artist Pablo Machioli's sculpture 'Madre Luz,' of a black pregnant woman with her fist raised, was placed in front of the Lee-Jackson Monument—a final "fuck you" to white supremacy to wrap up the night.
⬅︎➡︎ The Governorship
It's not too early to start thinking about how we rid ourselves of the Republican currently in charge of our mostly blue state. Dems have slowly been throwing their hats in the ring, gearing up for the 2018 election: first, lawyer James L. Shea, then former NAACP head Ben Jealous (Jealous has already been endorsed by a few progressive groups and Sen. Bernie Sanders, by the way), and last week Krishanti Vignarajah, a former policy director for Michelle Obama, announced she was looking for the job. It would be good for our blood pressure if we could get a governor who isn't Hogan, but we're also nervous about how this is going to go—Dems have a well-documented follow-through and messaging problem.
Mayor Catherine Pugh finally released a crime plan last week and the big attention grabber was her proposal for free community college for all Baltimore City Public School graduates, starting in 2018. That's good—education can help people from some of this city's most disadvantaged areas create better lives for themselves. Of course, in a city where violent deaths are at a crisis level (we're at 218 so far), the plan falls short. "There is still a need for us to have a more in-depth plan with accountability and goals and measurable targets," City Councilman and chair of the council's public Safety committee Brandon Scott told The Sun soon after the plan's release. Baltimore needs brave, decisive, and forward-thinking leadership, and we haven't seen it from Mayor Pugh yet.
When called upon to comment on the latest actions of a mad dictator half a world away, it behooves a U.S. President not to paraphrase a Tom Waits song about Old Testament-style redemption, taking the devil's role. Admittedly, the stakes are high. CNN ran a picture showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un standing next to what looks like a New Year's Eve disco ball decorated with a couple of external electrodes—supposedly a miniaturized nuclear warhead that could fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile. But the pictured "nuke" is probably bogus. All we have saying otherwise is a few anonymous national security types strategically leaking to the press. Yes, like Satan, Donald Trump does indeed have "the fire and the fury at his command." Hold on to Jesus's hand, everyone.
Last Saturday, James Fields, an attendee of the Unite the Right rally—a gathering of racists and fascists in Charlottesville—intentionally drove his car into a group of antifascist protesters marching in the streets victoriously after the rally was shut down before it ever started. Fields killed one, injured 19, and Trump refused to condemn anyone in particular, offering up a "both sides" kind of argument to what was clearly a premeditated attack by a fascist. Long before the attack, racists and fascists fought anti-fascists and anti-racists who were ready to fight back as police looked on or hid and, either way, did little to nothing, and let the fascists get away. Meanwhile, clueless white people declared "this is not us"—oh, but it is.