I love you. You’re the quirky uncle that people think is cool, but don’t quite know how to handle when he gets into the booze. You have your problems; we all do. You elicit a dichotomy of powerful emotions that sometimes drives you, in your frustration, to violence, but your capacity for community and good deeds is stronger by far.
You are also my home. A microcosm of our nation. A city on the border straddling two disparate realities like Maryland straddles north and south.
I could write like everyone else about Freddie Gray, or the cops or politicians, or how the media lies and fans the flames of unrest (peaceful protests don’t sell advertising), but I’m not going to.
A spiral can lead up or down, depending on your point of view. Sometimes Baltimore, you’re standing at the top, and sometimes the bottom. I’ve seen so many powerful people use the backs of others as stepping stones to quicken their own elevation. I’ve also seen many reach down and offer a hand up to those who were trying to rise.
Baltimore, there are no simple answers, but your facade is crumbling. You need more than some patchwork and a coat of paint. The fractures run as deep as the waters of the Chesapeake. But out of the bad can come a resounding good.
The world is finally listening. Now is the time. Don’t stay in the shadows. Lift up every voice because change is on the horizon.