Not Entirely Alone

As a few people who have spoken with me privately know, the riots in Baltimore have cause to me to question many common liberal beliefs that I once accepted. Even more, it’s driven a real wedge between me and people with whom I’ve been in agreement in the past. It has made me feel something of a political outcast and a pariah. I’ve abandoned comment thread I used to frequent. Today, I read this comment by David Simon, the creator of the tv show The Wire:

What’s happened in Baltimore with that riot was inevitable and understandable — but what drove me crazy about a lot of the immediate response, particularly from outside of Baltimore, was it’s not only inevitable and understandable — it’s good. I’m not talking about the protests, which were epic and good. But a riot is a riot is a riot. And burning is burning and looting is looting.

The demeanor of the people writing from London and New York with the dilettante’s stance of saying, “This is how these people get to be heard, and they won’t be heard otherwise,” you know what? Right now we’re trying to end mass incarceration, we’re trying to end over-policing, we’re trying to end this draconian behavior. The optics are such that for the votes and for the consensus you need in the rest of America, what’s playing on CNN and what’s going to play on CNN, inevitably, is the fires and the looting, and the optics were horrible.

Also, I live in a city [Baltimore] that hasn’t recovered from the riots of 1968. L.A. can have a riot, New York can have a riot, London can have a riot, and they’ll be fine in a year. Something bad happens in Crown Heights in New York? Eh, it’s bad for Crown Heights, but New York’s going to go right. It’s the financial capital of the world. London, a world capital. Baltimore is a second-tier city. We just stopped losing population for the first time in 40 years three years ago, and you tell me that the riots are a good thing? Fuck you. Come to Baltimore and say that. I live there. I was particularly incensed at the insouciance with which people were proclaiming that the riot — that when it gravitated from being mass civil disobedience, which I admire in every sense and want to see continue, to what we were seeing — was a good thing. Fuck you. You don’t live here. You don’t know what a riot is. You don’t know what it could do to the civic firmament.

I don’t think what happened in Baltimore was “inevitable and understandable,” at least not in the way I believe he means it. The rest of it, I understand completely.

Regarding the population, from the Baltimore Sun last March:

The new estimate released Thursday shows a small decline of 611 people to 622,793 people for the year ended June 30, 2014. The dip followed two years of growth that added about 2,500 people to the 620,889 living here in July 2011, the summer before she set the goal.

So they are far from out of the woods.

I’ve been staying away from politics publicly but obsessing about it privately. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get my thoughts in order and write it down. I’ve taken a look at conservative sites, but I still don’t agree with them either. I also don’t like what I feel is the pressure from liberals to fall in line with things I don’t believe.

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