Ingratitude is a bad look on anyone, especially the beneficiaries of volunteer labor.
And the Baltimore Sun most certainly gave its readers a master class in the art of ingratitude this week.
Republican activist Scott Presler organized a crew to do cleanup duty in Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district. They came in Monday with trash bags and shovels. They left with a small mountain of garbage.
In a sane world, a local newspaper would respond with a simple “thank you.” But Presler is a Republican, and he supports President Trump, so the Baltimore Sunspat on his efforts, going so far as to publish an entire editorial targeting him by name.
“Amazingly enough,” the board writes, “Mr. Presler is not the first one to come up with the bright idea of a neighborhood cleanup. It is not really that remarkable of a concept. In fact, they happen all the time. Sadly, it doesn’t take long for people (frequently from outside the community) to refill the alleyways with illegal dumping and for grass to grow again in front of vacant buildings with no resident available to tend the lawn.”
It adds, “Does Mr. Presler know that drug dealers use trash to hide their product and have been known to threaten people who try to clean it up? The solutions are just not that simple.”
We recognize these neighborhoods are falling apart, but we do not like your politics. Put that trash back!
The board says it is “skeptical” that Presler’s efforts are about “Americans helping Americans.” The board also casts doubt on the amount of trash the volunteers claim they removed. The board even suggests Presler staged finding a Washington Post edition printed on the day President Obama first won the White House.
“Whatever he says his motives were, Mr. Presler’s presence in Baltimore reinforces the tired image of our failing urban cores,” the board continues. “That the poor people in this dilapidated city can’t take care of their own neighborhoods and all the public officials around them have failed as well. The bureaucratic, all-talk Democrats strike again. If a crowd of volunteers could clean up 12 tons of trash in 12 hours, how incompetent and helpless must Baltimoreans be if they can’t manage it in decades, right?”
They add, “We also hope Mr. Presler keeps his promise to return to Baltimore once a month. It would definitely give his motives more credibility. It might also give him better perspective about the city’s problems than any single visit can provide. Maybe it could even lead him and his followers to advocate for federal housing, health care, transportation, education, criminal justice, civil rights and anti-poverty policies aimed at urban communities. In the meantime, we’ll see how clean the neighborhood still is when he returns in September.”
There is some minor lip service in the editorial about how it is kinda-sorta nice that Presler and company did some clean up. But that is only to obscure the board’s palpable disgust for the Republican cleanup crew.
In the words of the late playwright Paddy Chayefsky, “a simple ‘thank you’ would have sufficed.”
*see full story by The Washington Examiner