By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor,

On the morning of April 25, agents of the FBI and IRS raided the Ashburton home of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

On May 1, there was a prayer vigil outside of Pugh’s house, led by her friends, some members of clergy and other political leaders.

Things may not be looking good for Mayor Pugh; but things are looking even worse for Baltimore’s political infrastructure.

When I posted Pugh’s plight on Facebook on April 25, my friend Jefferson Russell perhaps the most talented stage actor to emerge from Baltimore since Howard Rollins, replied incisively.

Sean Yoes (Courtesy Photo)

“And they hard pass on Det. Suiter,” wrote Russell, concisely summing up the ubiquitous nature of political skulduggery smothering our city. Of course Russell is referring to the death, ruled a “likely suicide” by a Baltimore Police Department (BPD) independent review board, of Det. Sean Suiter. As I said in this column last week, the consensus in the streets is that Suiter was murdered by “one of his own” the day before he was to testify against the notorious Gun Trace Task Force.

I won’t re-litigate the last four years since the murder of Freddie Gray and the subsequent Uprising in April 2015. But, in 2019 to conclude anything other than Baltimore’s political infrastructure is irreparably broken, at least for the vast majority of its poor and Black residents, is disingenuous at best.

The headline of this week’s column, “Despite the Madness, Baltimore is an Incredible Place, But…” is derived from a Facebook post I crafted on April 27 with a similar title. Hundreds of people commented on the post; 99 percent of them were positive comments professing love for our city.

However, for this column I added the word “But,” to the headline. For me the “but” is illustrative of the dual meaning of the word “incredible.”

Baltimore is incredible; it is magnificent and beautiful and often awe-inspiring. Baltimore is also incredible; it is absurd, it is petty, it is pathetic and it is breathtaking in its wretchedness.

Let’s be real about the future of Catherine Pugh as the calls for her resignation reach a deafening din; she more than likely will not continue to seek re-election (allegedly many of her political donors want their money back), but, if she does she will not be re-elected.

So, any man or woman currently sitting on the Baltimore City Council, or in some dank municipal office, or in a bougie business suite, or on a barstool who intends to run for mayor, do us all a favor; save the B.S.

Any woman or man coming forward as a candidate to be the next mayor of Baltimore spewing game like, “this great city is broken, but I believe, with your help that Baltimore can be healed,” is lying to us.

Any politician who says they can operate within this hopelessly dilapidated political infrastructure and repair it so that it works for people of color and poor people is “in-credible.”

I’m no anarchist, but we have to create a new paradigm of governance in this city, driven primarily by “credible” grassroots leaders; that type of titanic shift relies inherently on the people, not politicians.

Politicians, for the most part have failed us for generations, their track record is undeniable.

Towards the end of part three of the epic Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, Gotham City is threatened by an atomic blast. As a school bus full of orphans await what seems to be their impending doom, a priest wants to lead the boys in a final prayer. But, the actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt who portrays Robin (before Robin’s character is fully formed, but I digress) encourages the boys that everything is going to be alright. The actor who portrays the priest soberly and cynically informs Robin, “It’s an atom bomb!” To which Robin replies, “You want them to die without hope?”

Moments later, Batman pilots “the Bat” a hybrid of a the Batplane and Batcopter and carries the atomic bomb out of range of the city and avoids catastrophe.

Gotham is saved.

But, Batman ain’t real. But if he was, he damn sure ain’t coming to save Baltimore.

All we have is us.

Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.


Sean Yoes

AFRO Baltimore Editor