Ted Venetoulis - Welcome to Baltimore, Mr. President

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It appears our president is coming to our city, home of some of his most recent verbal vitriol.

Welcome Mr. President. We suggest you be careful. Theres a new infestation of crabs coming into our city. They pour in every day. We actually eat them. Perhaps another infestation you can knock. After all, you are a first class “knocker” — war heroes, hispanic judges, four star parents, immigrants, women who are not your type, long time global allies, members of congress.

But of all the heavy weight knocks that have flown out of your mouth, knocking Baltimore may have been one knock too far.

Apparently you did not learn a lesson when you suffered a shellacking in the 2018 congressional election at the hands of Nancy Pelosi who, let us remember, was born and raised in Baltimore. Her father and brother were Mayors. The thrashing she masterminded not only cleansed the House of Representatives of scores of your political sycophants, it gave Democrats control of the House. It lifted Pelosi to Speaker, and handed her the Constitutional power to preside over an equal branch of government, puncturing your ego and handicapping your authoritarian instincts.

And you did what you always do when humiliated, you attempted to embarrass Pelosi at a White House meeting by belittling her status. Pelosi, whose Baltimore political upbringing gave her some intuition about spotting phonies and taking on bullies, bluntly pointed out that she was not one of your lackeys. She reminded you that she was the Constitutional head of an equal branch of government and scolded you for challenging her authority. It was one of those defining moments where a street smart Baltimorean clobbered a high ranking bully.

Then, with the idiocy of a flea and verbal ineptitude of a groundhog, you picked on another Baltimorean— Congressman Elijah Cummings and slurred his district by claiming it was infested with rodents — a warren of subhumans not worthy of the Presidential empathy or its share of federal cash.

But Congressman Cummings is not just any Baltimorean—he may be the towns most popular
politician who reached heroic status when he walked in the middle of his towns police riots carrying only a bullhorn. Fearless and inspirational, protesters parted as he kept the calm like no other political figure could — not the governor, not the mayor, not the police chief — just Cummings and his bullhorn.

Cummings also happens to Chair the House Government Operations and Oversight Committee with the authority to investigate your executive antics, conflicts of interest, questionable appointments — to subpoena witnesses, conduct public hearings, and to look for the bed bugs sprawling under the sheets of everyone one of Trump’s cabinet.

Mr. President, knocking a Speaker, a Chairman, a city and anything else that seems to offend your royal status is not the behavior of a rational man. This is the behavior of a man who needs an intervention.

And Baltimore intervened. It came from a Baltimore institution. Since you don’t read, its unlikely that you know what you unleashed when you knocked our town. Unwittingly you woke a sleeping giant — the Baltimore Sun, the regions daily newspaper. The Paper realized that you were not just knocking a Baltimore Congressman — you were striking at the heart of our city
— our neighborhoods, our pride, our soul. It was as if a lunatic stood in Camden Yards and in one wacky, crazy moment, attacked Johnny Unitas, Cal Ripen and Brooks Robinson. It was the war of 1812. The Battle of Ft. McHenry. The rockets red glare. Only it wasn’t the British and the redcoats, coming, it was Trump and the cult. It was one knock too many.

The city needed defending. Not timidity. Not vague punditry. Civic rumbling was not enough. This was war and the Sun saw its mission clearly. In spite of limited resources caused by the decline in print journalism that has deprived many cities of a major daily newspaper, The Sun marshaled its staff to expose the phony thoughts behind your demeaning accusations. They challenged your sinister views; fact checked your lies; opened its pages to letters, op-eds, and
free lancers.

But most critically, the Paper found a public voice. With all its verbal snappiness, brilliant phrasing and crisp observations, reaching back to the glory days of H. L. Mencken and a history once the province of many great newspapers, the Sun blew its journalistic top with words that turned the town’s rumble into volcanic eruption spewing a lava of words that shook all the ships in port.

The Editorials! Those Editorials!

When have we read an editorial headline that said of a United States President: BETTER TO HAVE A FEW RATS THAN TO BE ONE. When did a reputable media institution call the words of a president “rat droppings…” Or declare that it was “better to have vermin’s living in your community than

to be one…” Think about that, Mr. President, a few rats would be better as neighbors than you. The Sun fretted over your mental stability reminding us that your lack of empathy had a medical term — “anti social personality disorder.” Then they really let you have it. Your behavior was far from Presidential. It was, in fact, the behavior of a “jerk, a clod, a dolt, a schmuck…” How perfect. A schmuck. The President of the United States is a schmuck. You, Sir, are a schmuck!

In one ferocious moment in time, this gritty, port city burst in air with a spirit that is reserved for parades honoring heroes and winning super bowls. Emerged was the town’s pride, its fondness for its community including its problems and a instinctive desire to tell a trash talking president — enough we won’t take it any more. Defending Baltimore went viral. Across
the country journalists, politicians, pundit, joined Baltimoreans in knocking the “Knocker -in-Chief.” They lobbed more verbal cannonballs at you then the early patriots fired fending off the British at Ft. McHenry. You may be President but after your bombast on Baltimore, it was OUR flag that was still there.

So here’s the score between you, the Knocker-in-Chief — and Baltimore — the target of your knocks.

Baltimore: …Pelosi drills a hole in your ego —wiping out dozens of sycophants, and humiliating you in the White House.
…Cummings: drills a hole in your heart— exposing your indifference, lies and cruelty.
…The Sun drills a hole in your inflammatory demeanor — unifying the city and unleashing a torrent of verbal reprisals, mobilizing a massive anti Trump movement. Baltimore three. You zip.

Sorry Mr. President. Three strikes. You’re out. Swallow the truth. You are not a first responder. You are not a stable genius, you are not smarter than your generals, you do not have a great vocabulary, you are really not rich, you can’t stiff Congress the way you stiff contractors, you can’t just wipe out another country because you feel like it. But mostly you can’t knock our city without paying a price. You are way out of Pelosi’s league. You can’t carry Cummings jock. We don’t want you in our neighborhood. In fact, while we are at it, tell Jared to get rid of the vermin in his local apartments and go back to where he came from.

As for you, Mr. President. Good luck with your visit. However, I’d really be careful about knocking our crabs. Go Baltimore!

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TED VENETOULIS | EMAIL TED

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