DeRay Mckesson is a fool and a miscreant, one of the sanctimonious and self-aggrandizing activists making a career out of the Black Lives Matter protests, and he has announced that he is running for mayor of Baltimore, the troubled city from which he originally hails.
Let’s hope he wins.
Not because we wish ill upon the poor people of Baltimore, poverty rate 24 percent. Like the people of Detroit, their wounds are largely self-inflicted, the combined effects of corruption and ineptitude being magnified there by a poisonous racial politics, which produced in Charm City more or less the same results they’ve produced in the Motor City, though Detroit probably will have to cede that title to Vance, Ala., Marysville, Ohio, or San Antonio, Texas, one of these days.
Mckesson is a product and practitioner of precisely those same backward racial politics. In his last regular employment, he rejoiced in the title “senior director of human capital” with the Minneapolis public-school system, meaning that he was a functionary in the HR office. (His curriculum vitae is hilarious.) That must have been fertile ground for him: The Minneapolis school-system budget is a mess of racial payoffs to politically connected activists and other gravy-training for sundry Democratic interest groups. It is a spectacular example of municipal corruption, even if every jot and tittle is legal.
If it seems cruel to wish this preening 30-year-old know-nothing on the good people of Baltimore (median household income about half the state average) consider that it is almost impossible for the city to do worse than it has. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake came to power when her predecessor resigned upon being convicted of embezzlement, and after her insistence that angry rioters must be given “space to destroy” during the violent civic unrest that Mckesson and others helped to inflame in Baltimore, the locals must have found themselves longing for a mayor who just engaged in a little old-fashioned graft.
That’s Baltimore. DeRay Mckesson seems to be a man of some energy, but it would take superhuman effort to make Baltimore worse off than he found it. And, since Dr. Ben Carson, the one potentially good candidate for the job, is off wasting his time running for president, the opportunity cost here is low.
Serving a term as mayor of Baltimore would be an excellent educational opportunity for Mckesson, and he needs it: The banality of his political prose is exceeded only by the banality of his political thinking, to the extent that we can call the products of his mind “thought.” He believes that serving as mayor without having come up through the regular political channels would present him with the opportunity to put into place a progressive agenda unsullied by what has come before. What he is not quite clever enough to understand is that most of his ideas were put into place 40 years or more ago in Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, etc., and that what we see there is not the absence of progressive leadership but the result of it.
To quote Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: He’s silly and he’s ignorant, but he’s got guts.
To quote Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: He’s silly and he’s ignorant, but he’s got guts. It is one thing to bitch and moan and carry a placard, but Mckesson is offering to step beyond Twitter and into the real world of how the sausage gets made in a city such as Baltimore (344 murders last year). And though sensible people hold Mckesson in low esteem, there is no reason to believe that he is doing this in anything other than good faith. Off of the bench and into the game: Good on him.
And if the education of DeRay Mckesson turns out to be as deliciously brutal and pitiless as expected, then it also presents an opportunity to educate, to some extent, a generation of silly and ignorant young activists in aching need of a swift kick in the ass from reality.
Please do proceed, Mr. Mckesson. We’ll be watching.
— Kevin D. Williamson is National Review’s roving correspondent.