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Patrick McDonough, Don’t Mess With Our Town

In the wake of Republican Delegate Patrick McDonough's racist & Anti-Baltimore remarks on the floor of the House of Delegates this week, here is a staunch defense of our City.

It was Wednesday, the House of Delegates was in the last day of the Special Session to vote on taxes measures meant to balance the budget and not have cut a half billion dollars in public services to Maryland.  It should have gone quickly, to the point, without any business brought to the floor that didn’t pertain to the bills at hand.  Parliamentary procedure tries to prevent crazy, but there is always “that guy.”  This time, “that guy” was Delegate Patrick McDonough (R-7th District).  

McDonough, a 4 [non-consecutive] term Delegate representing Baltimore & Harford Counties, decided to announce his outrage that around St Patrick’s Day, while driving on Pratt St, he and his wife allegedly witnessed, as he put it, "a mob of nearly 100 people ‘battling’ in the middle of the street” all of whom he made a point to say were black.  After over two months and having never reported what he supposedly saw to authorities, he decided to send out a press release entitled "Black Youth Mobs Terrorize Baltimore on Holidays."  In both his press release and his statement on the House floor in defense of his unsubtly racist accusations, he claimed the current and previous Mayors of Baltimore of covering up a constant stream violent crime of comparable magnitude for years.  He even went so far as to advise that the Inner Harbor needs to be classified as a “no travel zone” even comparing our home to the Middle East, advocating State Troopers patrol to supplement the BCPD that he feels are doing an inadequate job.  When the Drudge Report picked up the story, at least one person cancelled his family’s upcoming vacation here in reaction.

The big guy kept on keeping on by arguing that if Mayor Rawlings-Blake "would dedicate that energy and resources to youth outreach, community centers and better intelligence tools for police, I think the city would be a lot safer."  I must ask then, why did he, in lock-step with the whole of the GOP caucus, vote moments later against the tax increases to both balance the budget and protect needed public services in Baltimore and statewide, including school funding?  Where was he whenever the Baltimore Education Coalition and others lobbied and rallied in Annapolis to protect state funding for City schools, while uber rich Montgomery Co got a funding increase?  Where was his support of the Democratically-controlled 111th Congress and the President’s administration tried to support urban renewal?  Where was he when any bill ever was voted on in the House that would have sent much needed funding to the City?  Oh yes, that’s right, he was probably at a Golden Corral buffet somewhere.  

I applaud our Governor, Mayor, Delegate Mitchell and others who took the high road and simply responded with such statements as “Pat should come and visit some time."  I thankfully, don’t have to take that road. 

McDonough, age 68 (his toupee is approximately age 27), who had seriously considered running for Governor in the last election, was born and raised in Baltimore City.  That’s surprising, since every time I see him, I mistake him for that Southern fellow who played “Boss Hog” on the Dukes of Hazzard.  He attended City College & UB.  He then left for the County, like so many others during “White Flight.” 

Let us briefly ignore the obvious fact that McDonough and many like him are obviously racist whether he is self-aware enough to admit it or not.  All of this raises another issue of geography, although still inherently racial & socio-economic.  There is a serious disconnect the rest of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan area has with how they perceive Baltimore, versus reality.  It’s not even solely the suburbs and country, people of the District of Columbia are just as guilty of perpetuating, with little to no 1st hand knowledge, the idea that Baltimore is as dangerous as an Afghani warzone. 

DC Blogger, Emil Caillaux, maintains that the majority of people that move to DC, do so in the hopes of improving society in one way or another.  If that’s partly why folks move to our Capitol, then why in the name of Thurgood Marshall do people in their right minds move to or remain in “Mobtown”?  It’s because we are real here, seriously. To live in DC is to want to try to change the world or country, or achieve power.  To live in suburbia is try hard to avoid one’s fellowman as much as possible while not being wholly isolated.  To live in Baltimore, however, is to just want to unapologetically be ourselves, for better or worse, do so together, and to want the dignity and rights we all deserve, although often denied to us, either individually or collectively. We, by and large, have no choice but to accept human nature.  To live in Baltimore, is to accept that the famous quotes of Anne Frank, “In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart” and of Hobbes, “the life of man [is] poor, nasty, brutish, and short” are true with equal regularity, no matter schizophrenic that may seem at first.  For we all see the best and worst of humanity daily.  Here, we are all on the level.  It is not uncommon to witness a well-dressed professional and someone who may barely have a penny to his/her name enjoying each other’s company at a diner, bar, or on the street without thought to class.  They may be childhood friends.  They may be complete strangers.  Regardless, they are neighbors, and that’s enough when Baltimoreans are at our best. 

Yes, our City has issues.  Yes, far too many are homeless people, but here they neither faceless nor nameless.  We know them by name and count them as friends despite their personal troubles (be it mental illness, substance abuse, or both).  LeRoy Moore, the “Mayor of Fell’s Point”, need I say more?  Yes, we have thousands of vacants/blight, but there are numerous non-profits organizations, responsible developers (yes, they exist), and just plain old do-gooder citizens trying to turn things around.  Small businesses are coming back.  Arts, music, and culture of every medium and genre are thriving.  Yes, there is rampant economic injustice, but there are Social Justice groups taking a stand.  Yes, our school buildings are in worse shape than most prisons, and our educational system is leaving our children behind.  But there are hundreds of hard-working teachers, volunteers, groups like ExperienceCorps, dedicated PTA members, and countless others trying to make a difference for our kids even while every level of government ignores them and cuts their budgets.  Yes, we have crime, but it is at record lows thanks in part to the members of BCPD that actually care.  We have countless problems, but you name a problem and somewhere there are good people keeping their heads held high, working to make a difference in this town.  Some watch The Wire and view it as a warning, “enter at your own risk”.  We here watch that show and see it for what Simon intended it to be, the truthful albeit partial story of a major American city, and a call to action to save our home.

In short, things are getting better here, and racist fear mongering that cost us all revenue does not help things.  We, the people of Baltimore, are working to do the best we can with what we got.  Yes, we still have a ways to go.  Yes, we still need a true leader with long-term vision to direct all of our positive energies into one cohesive direction.  However, if you aren’t fighting with us and for us, then you have no right to slander our fellow denizens or even our government, more especially if you left during “white flight”.  That doesn’t just go for McDonough either.  

So readers, both of you, show your friends in the County, DC and elsewhere the Baltimore we see, know, & love.  Show them that the Inner Harbor is not only perfectly safe; it’s perfectly dull and bland too.  Show them your favorite restaurants, stores, art galleries, quirky events, that hole-in-the-wall bar with the great juke box or live music where the bartender knows you by name.  Take them to your favorite house of worship with that awesome choir.  Play them the songs of your favorite local musicians.  Take them duck pin bowling.  Walk them around your neighborhood as you bump into all of your neighbors so they can see how gosh-darn nice we are here, usually.  Take them to one of to the almost weekly summer festivals.  Show them how even our myriad of collective sorrows and woes have beauty, for truth is always as beautiful as it is ugly. 

This is a messed up town, but only because humans are a messed up species.  Platypi are still far more messed up of a species, however.  This town has character.  This town has characters, many of them.  This town is our home.  Anyone who dares insult our friends, our family, our neighbors, our home, better either explore Charm City with open eyes, an open heart, and a pair of good walking shoes, or they should shut up.

On second thought, ignore everything I just wrote.  Del. McDonough, DC, suburbia, and the rest of America, everything you heard about Baltimore is absolutely true.  If you dare enter our borders, John Waters will molest you on the spot.  He’s why I-83 is always backed up.  A horde of hipsters on fixed-gear bikes will kidnap your children and brainwash them into gay anarchists with lice-ridden mullets.  Armies of “scary” African-American toddlers will rob you, and then stab you as if were you Julius Caesar.  Edgar Allen Poe’s ghost haunts the light rail, his creepy one-eyed black cat, Pluto too.  Our hobos will bite you, turn you into zombies, and bum all your smokes (ok, the cigarette bit is sort of true). We will tax you to death and use the money for drugs, dirty needles, transsexual prostitutes, and Best Buy shopping sprees.  Worst of all, our pothole-covered roads will totally ruin the alignment on your obnoxiously large SUV’s!  We are a scary, scary city – stay away at all costs!  Beware!

May the ignorance, irrational, and often racist or classist fears of the likes of Pat McDonough be to our benefit.  People like him can stay in boring Middle River and elsewhere whilst we Baltimorons can enjoy our often overlooked and albeit slow, urban renaissance without them! Rolling Stone said it best: Baltimore is America’s underdog, and we’re fine with that. 

So fellow Baltimoreans, let us come together as one people, regardless of race or class or creed or whatever, and be proud of OUR City.  No matter what the naysayers might spout, this is our home and truly is the Land of Pleasant Living.  Please also join the Baltimore chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council this Tuesday, May 22nd, at 5pm in front of City Hall to protest the vile comments of this shameful elected official and stand up for Baltimore.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Steve May 18, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Great article LeRoy. McDonough is just hate mongering for votes.
Matty Boh May 18, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Great article. Keep in mind, when the negative responses consist of, "nuh uh" and "your grammar is bad" you have a real point. I fell in love with Baltimore upon my first visit. I made the choice to make my home in the city, and I continue to urge my friends to do the same. I have been in Baltimore for two years, and I have not been murdered once. Sure there have been people that walk into the streets without regards for traffic, but welcome to city life. Once while I lived in Indiana, traffic was backed up for 4 miles because a woman decided to drive her power scooter down the highway. Did I write a letter suggesting mobs of old white people were over running Evansville? No, is the answer. Baltimore has it's problems, but I would never want to live anywhere else again.
Mary Marylander May 18, 2012 at 10:06 PM
In 2007, I had the appalling "priviledge" to see racist, Delegate Pat McDonough, ride in the Bel Air 4th of July Parade yelling from a megaphone "Speak English" - I thought he was a racist then and still do. It is amazing that he gets elected, but Harford County is its own breed.
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT May 19, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Yes, the nerve of that man. To tell people to speak english. What is next, read and write English? This is appalling. I mean, the nerve to push immigrants to learn the language. We want them to not learn English, so they can spend their lives on work crews shoveling mulch and planting bushes at minimum wage - and picking our crops. And we certainly don't want their kids learning the language. Who will do the gardening and farm labor in the future? Yes, this man is horrible. Mary, how do we stop the horror!! Harford County is their own breed - they go to work. Can you believe that - the nerve of these people. Very dangerous also, lots of gangs up there and not afraid to show their colors. The have problems - just tonight, a gang of Indians was ready to throw down with a gang of Rangers at a snowball stand. You may laugh, but this is a tough little league!
Czar Chasm May 19, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Yeah, how dare immigrants continue to speak their native language or continue to celebrate any of their cultures. Everyone knows that the first settlers in America were wealthy, white, English speaking, Christians. What's wrong with expecting every new person who comes to this country to be the same? I mean why can't they just stay in their own country? There's plenty of jobs there. Corporate America sent them there. Manufacturing jobs were just fine for American workers, but Mexicans can't do it? Surely it has nothing to do with it only paying about 8% of what American workers were making. Figure in the exchange rate, they are making about 28,000 pesos a year. I don't even make 28k.
Czar Chasm May 19, 2012 at 04:35 AM
I find it sad that hate mongering is a thing. Even more sad that Republicans formed an entire wing of their party off of it.
LeRoy Graefe May 19, 2012 at 04:40 AM
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT, We clearly disagree on well beyond it being worth even trying to debate. However, my good ole boy background behooves me to respect anyone that can tell a good story or joke. So a tip of my hat to you, sir. My friends and I found that gang bit quite hilarious. So let's agree to disagree and laugh. Did the Indians or Rangers win?
LeRoy Graefe May 19, 2012 at 04:46 AM
As to the rights of New Americans, more especially the expectation of immigrants learning a new language right off the bat in a majority one-language speaking nation, I refer you to my last op-ed: http://northbaltimore.patch.com/blog_posts/feliz-da-de-san-patricio
DHAMMER May 19, 2012 at 01:00 PM
When LeRoy make's his trip back from Mar's he should begin oxygen therapy immediatly.Lack of it causes extreme cloudiness of local surroundings.I dare anybody to travel off the beaten path into the hardcore Neighborhoods and lets see how they fare out.I work with some great young Blackmen and they even tell me they hate living in the city.When the City Mayor starts putting as much time in cleaning up the Crime situation as she does the GranPrix maybe peoples minds will start changing about Baltimore.Go O's
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT May 19, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Rangers won. But the Indians are claiming the umpire is racist. Game to be replayed. Just to make it fair, the Indians will get 4 outs per inning in the next game.
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT May 19, 2012 at 02:57 PM
CZAR - You make yourself look silly. In order to do well in America - you must: Determine what your skill is and how to use that skill in order to make money. Understand the industry you are working in and constantly adapt, improve and upgrade your skills in that industry. The means understanding the "language of the industry" and making yourself a top person in that industry. Speaking proper English, writing properly, not having your pants down to your ankles and not having a "Thug Live 4Ever" tat on your neck is a good start. Constantly improving skils, being aware of new opportunites gives people a chance to move up the ladder. No time for blaiming people, your situtation, etc. Be more concerned about where you are going rather than where you are in life. Don't expect handouts - earn them. Respect will come before money. Build respect first, the money will come. What are YOU doing to improve your situation since 28K per year is not enough? Blame is tired and old.
Buzz Beeler May 19, 2012 at 04:00 PM
LeRoy, there has never been a society that survived multiculturalism in the history of the world. A classic example of this (among many others) is found in the Middle East and the friction between the Jews and the Palestinians. Nothing has changed there since the Biblical times. Multiculturalism transcends race and impacts every phase of the human existence. Ethic and religious violence is still prevalent even in today's world. Human nature being what it is, I see no change in genetic structure.
LeRoy Graefe May 19, 2012 at 05:21 PM
You've never been to New Orleans or New York City, have you? What do you think Jazz is? A product of multiculturalism. I live multiculturalism daily. You have to here. My calendar/schedule would make Fmr Senator Santorum throw up. So in the words of the Governor, "Come visit some time." 2,934.
Steve May 21, 2012 at 04:01 AM
Dude I don't think Beeler has even been out of Dundalk, Do you really think he has been to NOLA or NYC? Multiculturalism is what has made America great. It;'s the Nativists like Beeler and McDonough that want to drag this country down into the gutter.
bill bissenas May 21, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Del. McDonough told the truth, but the author of this article seems to be in denial. Until the truth is accepted, effective and appropriate solutions cannot be found to help address the problem. And so it goes with the Democrat Party and leftists in general. They must adhere to their failed policies at all costs and accuse those who oppose the failed policies of being racists. Good luck Baltimore.
bill bissenas May 21, 2012 at 11:52 AM
LG: "Santorum is a racist."
bill bissenas May 21, 2012 at 11:53 AM
"New Americans" = thousands of votes for the Democrat Party. Go figure.
bill bissenas May 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM
How dare he demand that immigrants adapt and speak the majority language of this country! I'm outrageously outrage by his attitude. And of course, seeking to have immigrants adapt and integrate themselves in our culture absolutely means he is a racist because afterall, as we know, the white man stole this land from non-english speakers.
bill bissenas May 21, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Yes, truth is now hate. Orwell is alive and well among Democrats, leftists, progressives and socialists.
bill bissenas May 21, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Once the insults begin, credibility goes to zero.
bill bissenas May 21, 2012 at 12:04 PM
And yet, the Dems simply seek to perpetuate the same failed policies that perpetuate the problems in Baltimore. And those who seek to change those policies are reflexively called racists.
bill bissenas May 21, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Our form of constitutional republicanism which embraces property rights and individual liberty, combined with free market capitalism is what made this country great, i.e., an economic and military powershouse. Race and ethnic diversity flourish under this system, a result of the system, not an originator of the system. A truly color blind person wouldn't attribute greatness to those things that divide us.
Able Baker May 22, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Crime has been steadily declining in Baltimore since the 90s, like it has everywhere else. Besides, Baltimore is the economic engine of Central Maryland. People don't commute to Baltimore County for work. It's just a shame that they use our services during the day and flee back to the suburbs at night.
Able Baker May 22, 2012 at 09:53 PM
I guess he figures he's waited a respectable amount of time since Ron Smith died, now he can take his job.
Able Baker May 22, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Bigots have always demanded that immigrants speak English. Baltimore had huge riots instigated by the Know Nothing Party before the Civil War to prevent Irish and German immigrants from voting. Now, like then, most immigrants will learn to read, write and speak English, and now, like then, bigots will use mandatory English proficiency to try to get rid of immigrants.
Able Baker May 22, 2012 at 09:58 PM
There were huge swaths of America that spoke nothing but German well into the 20th century, in central Pennsylvania especially. Due to societal pressure and modernization it mostly died out, but there were towns where you could go for days and speak and hear nothing but German.
Able Baker May 22, 2012 at 10:01 PM
The Roman Empire had a pretty good run and you could hardly find a more multicultural society. Jews were actually quite successful under the Muslim caliphate. In fact, the golden age of Jewish culture was during the Islamic occupation of Spain. Unlike the Christians, the Muslims tended not to torture Jews into converting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_age_of_Jewish_culture_in_Spain
Able Baker May 22, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Constitutional republicanism didn't give us rock and roll, tacos, sushi, peanut butter or the blues. Multiculturalism did.
Able Baker May 22, 2012 at 10:04 PM
Del. McDonough told suburban racists what they want to hear. Were the kids involved black? Yes, but that's hardly surprising or important. Baltimore is a majority black city. Their blackness is only worth mentioning if you believe blackness is a cause of violence.
Able Baker May 22, 2012 at 10:12 PM
"I would refer to one of your comments: "Baltimore is America’s underdog, and we’re fine with that.", and ask what does lie under a dog often times after it leaves?" I would refer to your comment and ask "Have you recently suffered a stroke?" And according to your link, Baltimore is #11.

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