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It's exhausting to be governed by a set of wind-up chattering teeth in a Klan hood. Every day the Fox goons spin the president's little knob with a new ginned up outrage. Every day he goes clattering off to Twitter with his racist attacks and lies. Every day his aides and abettors in Congress race frantically to defend the indefensible and pretend that we're not being led by an absolute lunatic. Which they know he is, they all know, they've always known.

Here in Baltimore, a black city with pockets of endemic poverty, a sky-high murder rate, and a powerful, Democratic congressman leading the charge against Trump, I've always known that our turn would come. I'm frankly surprised that it took this long. But this weekend Baltimore County Republican Central Committeewoman Kimberly Klacik did a segment on Fox & Friends proving that Rep. Elijah Cummings is not allowed to criticize Trump's concentration camps where caged migrant babies sleep on the floor in their own filth by ... showing pictures of boarded up houses in Rep. Cummings's district. Because Kimberly Klacik is a helper, just trying to "shine a light" and "result in positive change." She's always helping like that.

How does trash piling up in Baltimore's alleys justify locking babies in cages without toothbrushes or soap at the border? Who cares! What matters is that Donald Trump gets to go on the attack against a black politician from a majority black city where no one votes for Republicans anyway. Win-win-win!


And I'm not posting the tweets. We've all seen the tweets. He's still at it forty-eight hours later, screaming that my home is "a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess," calling Rep. Cummings a "racist," retweeting actual racist Katie Hopkins describing Baltimore as a "proper sh*thole," and casting himself as the savior of African Americans. If doubling down doesn't work, then quadruple down and insist that a major American city of 600,000 people is unfit for human habitation. He's incapable of doing otherwise.

The Baltimore Sun struck back in an editorial entitled, "Better to Have a Few Rats Than to Be One," describing the president as "the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women's private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are 'good people' among murderous neo-Nazis." All true, of course.

But conservatives respond that anyone who mentions John Hopkins University and Hospital, the University of Maryland, the Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry, or the city's thriving art scene -- or points out that Cummings's district, which includes almost all of Howard County, is the second wealthiest majority-black district in the country -- is whitewashing the very real crime and drug problems in Baltimore. As if anyone here could possibly forget that the relationship between African Americans and law enforcement is horribly broken in ways that will take generations to repair. We're supposed to give up and admit that no good thing exists in this urban hellscape, that we're all just prisoners, cowering in our beautiful old homes on tree-lined streets.

Hats off to Trump's most shameless defender, Mick Mulvaney, who actually went on Fox and said, "If I had poverty in my district like they have in Baltimore, if I had crime in my district like they have in Chicago, if I had homelessness in my district like they have in San Francisco, and I spent all of my time in Washington DC, chasing down this Mueller investigation, this bizarre impeachment crusade, I'd get fired." As if Mulvaney didn't spend years trying to pin the Benghazi killings on Hillary Clinton. Not for nothing, but the poverty rate in Mulvaney's old district is a whopping 1.7 percent lower than in Cummings's -- not exactly anything to brag about -- and 4.7 percent above Pelosi's. But facts aren't really the point now, are they?

Here's the difference between Baltimore, Maryland, and Lordstown, Ohio, or Janesville, Wisconsin, or Coatesville, Pennsylvania. In Baltimore, we already know that no one is coming to save us. The president isn't going to twist GM's arm to keep a plant open here. He's not even going to go through the motions of pretending to get his buddy Terry Gou to build a factory in Baltimore. We're never getting a bailout like those soybean farmers bribed with taxpayer dollars to keep voting red despite Trump's inane trade war. We're on our own here, slowly clawing our way back out of this deep, deep hole.

And if you ask Fox News, that's how it should be. Why should Real Americans spend tax dollars to help black and brown people from these "crime infested districts"? The infestation is always black and brown, never white, as CNN host Victor Blackwell pointed out. West Virginia has a high poverty rate, and no one calls it "infested." But when it comes to Baltimore, "no human" would live cheek by jowl in a broken-down house with rats and roaches and trash in the yard. What can you expect when there's a "culture of poverty," as Trump's pal Pete Hegseth called it.

Because poverty happens to rural white people, where urban black people choose to be poor. It's just part of their culture, after all. In The Heartland, they're victims of an opioid epidemic. But here in the city, there was a War on Drugs, with "junkies" and "crack babies" and mandatory minimums and no victims. We need to "Bail out Main Street, not Wall Street!" And not Martin Luther King Boulevard, obviously. Or maybe we need to prop up banks and car companies that are "too big to fail." But trying to undo the effects of a hundred years of redlining, and blockbusting, and segregation, and deindustrialization, and lead paint, and public schools abandoned after Brown, is vile socialism designed to turn us into Venezuela. And why do you hate America, and go back where you came from, and talking about reparations is the real racism.

Yeah, I know. This is the richest country in the world, and we have enough to take care of everyone. Allowing Republicans to pit vulnerable constituencies against each other to fight for crumbs while Republicans award the super rich a $1.5 trillion tax cut is a sucker move.

So we hold hands, and we keep on marching, and we bend that arc. What else can we do? Roll over and die? Not here in Charm City. Not today, not ever.

Oh, and PS, I cannot WAIT for whatever craziness this is. Because I'm from Baltimore, and we are not that nice.

Karma's a bitch, Hon.

[Baltimore Sun]

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