Earlier this week, people were seriously arguing a city whose crime rate is 342 percent higher than the national average is Shangri-La. Now people are going to seriously argue Al Sharpton isn't a race-hustling conman.
There was a man with considerable gravitas who could have stepped in the middle of such nonsense, and perhaps rerouted the conversation to something far more productive. His name is David Simon, the creator of the widely acclaimed television series "The Wire" that took place in the aforementioned Baltimore.
During the five seasons of that show's run between 2002 and 2008, he painstakingly detailed the systematic dysfunction at almost every institutional and cultural level in a city now brought back into the spotlight because of some disparaging tweets by President Trump. Then, as if to confirm Simon's assessment of the cancerous waste, fraud, and abuse that chokes the town he used to cover as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, $1.8 billion of federal money was fruitlessly directed to help the city courtesy of President Barack Obama's stimulus efforts.
Yet here we are as recently as 2018, watching a documentary about how Baltimore is still being overrun by a rat infestation, not to mention the succession of three consecutive Democratic mayors who have failed their city in pursuit of their true calling as cons and grifters.
Seems hardly controversial then that President Trump threw a few rhetorical bombs that city's way, considering the general odious state of our current civic debate. That's exactly where Simon could have swooped in to set aside the tribalism for something meatier, by acknowledging that Trump, for all his faults, had a point.
You know, a reminder that Baltimore was in chaos long before Trump, and would continue to be until the end of time unless scapegoating the president of a political party with zero standing in Baltimore was selected as the cure. Because that's the thing you do if your eye is truly on the original prize and hope is genuinely your plumb line.
Instead, Simon turned the tribal up to 11, while littering his Twitter feed with f-bombs and labeling his detractors as "mooks," when they pointed out the very Trump he hates was really only doing a far less painstaking version of what he did with "The Wire."
For a progressive, such a dose of reality simply can't stand and must be snuffed out at almost any price. The rules are clear. Simon gets to get rich as the white savior of Baltimore for years worth of cinematic truth telling, but Trump's indirect ode to his work is somehow racist. Nailing that down for Simon and his soulmates at this point in their progressive fervor, where ego thrives most easily through juvenile hatred, crushes whatever genuine impulse that once existed to help Simon's city thrive again.
Cults by definition make sure of that in the end. They offer their detractors/opponents no reasoned discourse or debate, and they shield those in good standing within the cult from any external accountability. So course correction is literally impossible and the cause is ultimately lost to delusions of insane self importance.
In that regard, Simon may as well never have even spent a second of his life promoting an honest narrative about Baltimore considering how useless he is to honesty now.