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  • Writer's pictureArmstrong Williams

We must embrace reelected Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott

PUBLISHED: May 15, 2024 |

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott declares victory during primary election night watch party in Port Covington. (Kenneth K. Lam/Staff)

I salute Mayor Brandon Scott’s victory over former Mayor Sheila Dixon in the Democratic primary election, a de facto general election win in heavily Democratic Baltimore.

The electrifying purpose of elections is not to win or lose, but to ensure that the people’s voice is heard and respected. One person, one vote; not one dollar, one vote. Thomas Jefferson elaborated, “The first principle of republicanism is that the lex majoris parties [the will of the majority] is the fundamental law of every society of individuals of equal rights; to consider the will of the society announced by the majority of a single vote as sacred as if unanimous is the first of all lessons in importance, yet the last which is thoroughly learnt.”

After a vigorous campaign in which competing arguments were on the table, Mayor Scott prevailed to win a second term by the consent of the governed. His post-electoral remarks bespoke a magnanimity and forward-looking resolve atypical of politicians. Mr. Scott is a mayor that Baltimore residents and the nation can be proud of.

Mr. Scott ran no victory laps before the voting on May 14. Ms. Dixon attracted the support of key political figures, including an 11th hour endorsement of one-time mayoral candidate Thiru Vignarajah, Baltimore State’s Attorney Ivan Bates, and Baltimore Sheriff Sam Cogen. Baltimore voters, however, are renowned for thinking for themselves unswayed by the glitterati.

Mayor Scott confronts knotty challenges: crime, education, drug abuse and poverty. These are not unique to Baltimore and have plagued the city for many years.  There are no easy answers. As Baltimore’s acerbic sage H.L. Mencken quipped, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.”

The Baltimore City Public School System has plunged below the suboptimal. Among other deficiencies are ghost students, grade manipulation, unjustified grade promotions and violence. Mayor Scott’s administration will be tasked with inspiring students to cherish reading and writing more than a Taylor Swift album or the awesome play of the Orioles and Ravens.

Diagramming sentences should be a staple of classroom instruction. Athletic prowess should be subservient to communication skills. Baltimore’s literary giant Edgar Allan Poe should be celebrated and studied more than storied Baltimore Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas.

Students who master the arts of communicating or advocacy with brevity and Homer-like metaphors will succeed in any professional endeavor on which they embark.

Crime disproportionately inflicts misery on the poor and underprivileged. Crime fighting is a community endeavor pivoting on trust and collaboration between police and citizens. Prosecutions fail without willing witnesses. And witnesses shy from testifying if they are not safeguarded from retaliation by criminal gangs. The police must respect citizens, and citizens must respect the police.

“Freedom is participation in power,” Roman statesmen Cicero advised. In democracies, participation comes in large measure through voting. On that score, the May 14 voter turnout was disturbing. Only 20% of eligible Baltimore Democrats turned out to vote in the mayoral primary, a vertical fall from four years ago. Billions of people in unfree countries like China, Russia, Iran or North Korea crave opportunities to vote in free and fair elections for their rulers.

Mayor Scott has earned applause for his victory.  But the citizens of Baltimore are equally praiseworthy for their unwearied devotion to law, civility and morality through the many vicissitudes of life. Everyone is a winner when government, by the consent of the governed, is venerated and honored.

Two thousand years ago in the civilized world, the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum, I am a Roman citizen.  Let it be said that under Mayor Scott’s leadership, the proudest boast among cities will soon be “I am a citizen of Baltimore.”

Armstrong Williams (; @arightside) is a political analyst, syndicated columnist and owner of the broadcasting company, Howard Stirk Holdings. He is also part owner of The Baltimore Sun.

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