By Sean Yoes
AFRO Baltimore Editor
Baltimoreans are generally very resilient people. However, Black Baltimoreans exhibit resiliency on steroids. That’s my thesis and those who are from here know I’m right about it.
Baltimore was the first American municipality to mandate legal housing segregation in 1911. Subsequently, Black Baltimore has also endured the punitive policies of blockbusting and redlining. Blight has been the birthright for far too many of us for far too long. Black Baltimore has grappled with the lion’s share of an opioid crisis, which arrived in our city around the middle of the 20th century and never left, contrary to a 21st century rebranding in the wake of a new wave of White addicts. Black people have lived through the crack implosion, two wars on drugs, mass incarceration, zero tolerance policing and two Uprisings, one in 1968 and another in 2015.
So, Black people in Baltimore don’t get spooked up by much, including the White men who have inhabited the White House.
And they have seemed to be particularly stoic during the first three and a half years of the 45th President of the United States, arguably the worst (I suspect James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson are rooting for Trump’s continued failure from their dank graves) in the nation’s history.
But, apparently not anymore.
Since the advent of the coronavirus global pandemic America has moved with deadly ferocity to become the country with the most cases and the most deaths. And tragically the virus has disproportionately ravaged the Black community– lives, health and treasure– for a variety of reasons.
Perhaps the onslaught of “Rona,” as it is being called by many, has triggered a greater sense of urgency when it comes to this president and the desire of the Black community to rid itself of him and “her.”
Trump has been a catastrophic failure in all aspects of combating the deadly virus, and he has incessantly (and predictably) attempted to assign blame to a phalanx of foes real and imagined including, the media, the World Health Organization, Democrats generally, Democratic governors specifically, the Chinese and of course, Barack Obama.
Adding insult to injury (again, literally) for the last few weeks, Trump has subjected the country to a plethora of lies, misinformation, pettiness, personal grievance and rage in the form of daily “coronavirus updates.” During these nakedly political spectacles we get a heavy dose of Trump idolatry from those forced to join the “dear leader.” The briefings, which are anything but, usually rambling on for two hours remind veteran political observers of the so-called “5 o’clock follies,” the military press briefings during the calamitous Vietnam War.
What has been on display during these fiascos is a man so manifestly ill-equipped for the Oval Office it is breathtaking (again, literally), hilarious and horrifying all at once.
We have witnessed Trump’s narcissism, ubiquitous during his decades in the public eye. But, perhaps we’ve also seen a big splash of schizophrenia manifested on April 13, when Trump proclaimed, “When it comes to the President of the United States the authority is total,” antithetical to the 10th Amendment of the Constitution and American Federalism. Then, on April 14, we watched Trump demur to the nation’s governors, “The governors are going to be opening up their states. They decide when.”
And now that more than 90 percent of Americans have been at home for the last several weeks, people are watching, including Black people. And a cursory review of my Facebook newsfeed on April 14, indicates Black people, people of color in Baltimore (at least my friends) want Trump out now. Without naming names, here is a small sample of the venom aimed at 45:
“He is single handedly more destructive to our country than a military invasion or a nuclear bomb.”
“Here’s where I am, I.D.G.A.F about playing fair in THIS race for the white house. Get his a– gone.”
“This man and the men he fronts are absolute maniacs.”
“Trump is a sick, sick man…morally speaking.”
“He’s evil. Straight up.”
So, the proverbial writing is on the wall. Stay in the house now, but plan on coming out in full force on Nov. 3.
Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and the author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.