Will Donald Trump Win the 2020 Election?
The Trump supporters picked up garbage — and then had garbage thrown at them in print. It’s what happens when doers meet doubters.
As the Baltimore Sun reports, “A group of conservatives rolled their pickup trucks into one of West Baltimore’s most impoverished neighborhoods Monday for a cleanup day. Loaded down with trash bags and shovels, they cleared alleyways of old tires, food containers, paper and other debris. They pulled up weeds and cut away overgrown grass. The group posted before and after pictures on social media showing their progress.”
The endeavor was organized by Trump supporter Scott Presler. He said that “the event was not political,” the paper also informs. “Yes, he was inspired to come by tweets from President Donald Trump describing the area, represented by U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, as a ‘rodent infested mess.’ But the visit wasn’t about showing support or animosity for either man, he said.”
Such private initiative is quintessentially American. French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville noted this when touring the United States in the early 19th century, observing how Americans would come together, voluntarily, to advance the common good. It’s how most positive things get done.
This didn’t stop the Sun from throwing shade on the charitable effort. The paper’s headline read, “We assume it was pure motives that led a Trump supporter to launch a cleanup in Cummings’ district, right?” Answering its own question in the piece’s body, the editorial board wrote, “Call us skeptical.”
Actually, I’ll call you cynical. Then I’ll call you irresponsible.
Leftists assume bad motives because, like most people, they project their own feelings and mindsets onto others — and they generally have bad motives.
That said, man’s nature is complex, and people’s actions can often be driven by multiple motivations, some noble, some ignoble. Perhaps the Trump supporters were being entirely altruistic, or maybe, somewhere in their minds, there also was awareness of their efforts’ political value.
But here’s what we can surely know: No mortal is God. Were entirely pure motives a prerequisite for right action, no good would ever be done.
And here’s an idea for the Baltimore Sun and other local leftists: Instead of playing keyboard tormentor and criticizing regular citizens who actually are making a difference, why not join them? Why not use their endeavor as a jumping-off point and initiate regular, organized cleanup efforts among the locals?
Imagine, first (talking about images), the good example set by — and possibly the unifying power of — conservatives and liberals coming together to help a poor community. Then, later, if local residents pick up the baton, imagine the sense of pride engendered via successful neighborhood cleanup efforts. Schoolchildren could also pitch in and share the sense of accomplishment.
This would have many other positive effects, too. It’s not just that “work ennobles man” and “busy hands are happy hands,” as the sayings go. It’s that instead of feeling powerless — as if they’re just victims of larger forces — local residents would see the tangible results of their own efforts and develop a sense of control over their own destiny. It could be sufficiently fruitful and fulfilling to become self-perpetuating.
The Sun complains that Presler’s “presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores” and the idea that “the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and [that] all the public officials around them have failed as well.” Wow, who could ever get that idea?
It seems as if the Sun leftists — valuing symbolism over substance, in typical liberal style — are more troubled by the urban-decay image than the urban-decay reality. If Baltimore’s poor could take care of their own neighborhoods and had the public officials not failed, the Sun wouldn’t be calling the area “dilapidated” and Presler wouldn’t have had to show up in the first place.
In fairness, the Sun does mention that neighborhood-cleanup efforts (presumably by locals, though the paper doesn’t specify) have occurred before. But clearly they’re not of the frequency and magnitude necessary to maintain neighborhood spiffiness.
The Sun is correct in saying that the solutions are not as simple as just collecting trash and cutting grass. For one thing, it would help if residents and local politicians would stand four-square behind the police so that drug dealers and other criminals could be removed from the streets and schools. But the paper’s prescription — “for federal housing, health care, transportation, education, criminal justice, civil rights and anti-poverty policies aimed at urban communities,” as the editorial board puts it — are nonsense. These are the same big-government cures, that are worse than the disease, that leftists have been advocating for decades. There’s no substitute for local, private initiative.
The Sun’s scoffing is not surprising, however. Research has shown that leftists aren’t very big on charity, which is why conservatives donate more money than liberals do to the poor despite having lower incomes.
In fact, advocacy of big government can be a handy excuse for personal inaction. The idea is that you’re a “good person” and have already done your part by voting for nanny-staters. Leftists outsource their charity.
The Sun writes that if Presler comes back to the neighborhood, as he has promised, it will “give his motives more credibility.” But if leftists would step up to the plate and give people the shirts off their own backs (as opposed to just off someone else’s), it would give their claims of wanting to help the poor more credibility.
Here’s an idea: They can start by organizing regular Baltimore neighborhood cleanups. Now, if only they had a platform through which to arrange it, such as, oh, I don’t know, maybe a newspaper.
Photo: yacobchuk / iStock / Getty Images