A Nice Day In Baltimore

Visiting Baltimore this past weekend, the same weekend which marked the 100th day of President Trump’s presidency, I was struck at Spring’s beauty in the face of disorder and ugliness which seems all around us. Arguably I shouldn’t have been, but never the less, I was. Here’s why.

The world is awash in regional conflicts, religious wars fought for nonsense reasons, and confrontations waged for expansion purposes. Whether it is Africa, the Middle East, or Asia some country is trying to influence the sovereign events in another. The headline grabbers such as Iran, Syria, Russia, or North Korea are painted in stark black and white terms, while other countries such as China, South Sudan, Somalia, or Venezuela are nuanced with footnotes attempting to explain these countries motivations. Add to this mix, a currently incoherent US foreign policy, it would be understandable if someone felt the world was on fire and there were no firemen to extinguish the blazes.

Domestically the US is gripped with inflammatory rhetoric and difficult to understand contradictions. Americans hear the language that Mexicans are rapists and terrible criminals but also know that Mexicans build houses, cut lawns, and perform highly valued household chores. The idea that any foreigner can come across the US borders without proper paper work seems prima facia wrong, but once the Mexicans are here, they do not seem like bad people.

Another huge disconnect is over healthcare. Most Americans (minus the 1% very wealthy) are extremely dissatisfied with the high cost of healthcare and often the disparity in availability. For the past six years Republicans have conflated Obamacare and the broad, general public dissatisfaction with healthcare. Republicans have successful convinced many Americans that the high cost of healthcare is due to Obamacare. Nothing could be further from the truth. Americans are confused and will soon come to realize that GOP promises are undeliverable.

Other similar issues such as tax reform, global warming, and civil rights enforcement reflect government policy intended to demonize the role of government in the public’s mind, thereby enabling those in control to maximize income for the rich and perpetuate legislative control by conservatives. It’s a tough world even at home.

Along Baltimore’s Charles Street, in the communities on either side, where stand beautiful flowering trees and bushes, there seems an oasis. The freshly cut grass, the beautiful trees and brilliant red and white Azaleas surrounded by blooming ground cover seems to ignore the apparent world and domestic dysfunction. One is struck with how good life can be, if given a chance.

Spring is known as the season of renewal, when the harshness of winter gives way to rebirth and hope. The world is always a complex and often dangerous place. The role of “real” national leadership includes putting issues in context and balance, something Americans have seen sparingly with President Trump.

I wonder whether the President will mellow and become a real leader?

Hmmm.

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