Baltimore

Of all the people to have insightful comments on the situation in Baltimore, I was not expecting the COO of the Orioles, John Angelos, who has his job by virtue of being the son of the owner (though, to his credit, I learned he’s a Duke graduate).  Well, whatever his background, this is great stuff:

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

8 Responses to Baltimore

  1. rgbact says:

    Ugh, nothing worse than guilt ridden rich white people, frightened to death to pass judgement on anyones immoral actions because someone might throw their “silver spoon” upbringing back in their face.

  2. Kelly Elder says:

    This piece has some interesting, and horrifying, information on what police officers have been doing in these car rides in Baltimore.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/04/what-policing-justice-in-baltimore-requires/391598/?utm_source=SFFB

  3. pino says:

    the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation

    Let’s not forget that 100’s of millions of people around the globe, none of which have a single iota to do with dictators, have been yanked out of a millennium’s worth of bone jarring poverty.

    Let’s face the facts and be honest – this is happening because people are making poor choices. We can debate WHY they are making these choices, but there can be zero doubt that certain behaviors predict certain outcomes.

    • Steve Greene says:

      Yeah, I’ll admit, this was a little to reductionist for me, but I still think he’s right to focus on the larger picture to help explain what’s going on. Riots are not sui generis.

    • Itchy says:

      “Let’s face the facts and be honest – this is happening because people are making poor choices. We can debate WHY they are making these choices, but there can be zero doubt that certain behaviors predict certain outcomes.”

      Yeah, but enough about the bad cops.

      (Rimshot.)

      Seriously, though I appreciate the sentiment, I had a tough time reading Angelos’s comment, because, like pino says, those jobs went to even poorer people. As poor as many Americans are, most are well above the economic level of billions throughout the rest of the world. And I’m not sure the government is morally obliged to stem the flow toward equilibrium. (Of course, that’s not what the corporations and public officials are thinking when they look to make a buck, the but it’s still the outcome.)

      Also, of course, poor choices are not the only reason for poverty. Rich people make poor choices, too. But they can afford to buy or negotiate their way out of their mistakes. I’ve known plenty of lazy idiots who have enough money and connections to prop them up for life.

      • Steve Greene says:

        Good points. I did like that Angelos recognized the socio-economic changes that were so impactful on the community; but did not like he elided global trade. I still like his larger point.

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