The PJ Tatler

O'Malley Launches Presidential Campaign By Stressing Baltimore Riots About More Than Race

Declaring that America does not coronate a president, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination today in Baltimore.

O’Malley released a video as Hillary Clinton did, but supplemented it with a public address unlike the former secretary of State.

And whereas Clinton said her platform specifics will come sometime after her “listening” tours, O’Malley talked about his agenda on Federal Hill — with many references to his tenures as mayor of Baltimore and governor of the state.

“Women and men. Black and white people. Irish Americans, Asian Americans, Latino Americans, Native Americans. Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Americans. Young and old. Rich and poor. Workers and business owners. Gay, lesbian, transgender and straight Americans. Every person is important, each of us is needed. In our idea of country, there is no such thing as a spare American,” O’Malley said. “There is, however, a growing injustice in our country today. It is the gap between the strong and just country our children need for us to be, and the country we are in danger of becoming.”

He acknowledged the riots last month in Baltimore, but said it shouldn’t just be defined as a racial issue.

“For all of us who have given so much of our energies to making our city a safer, fairer, more just and more prosperous place, it was a heartbreaking night in the life of our city,” he said. “But there is something to be learned from that night, and there is something to be offered to our country from those flames. For what took place here was not only about race, not only about policing in America. It’s about everything it is supposed to mean to be an American.”

“The scourge of hopelessness that happened to ignite here that evening, transcends race or geography. Witness the record numbers of young white kids killing themselves with heroin in suburbs and small towns across America. The hard truth of our shared reality is this: Unemployment in many American cities and in many small towns across the United States is higher now than it was eight years ago. Conditions of extreme and growing poverty, create conditions for extreme violence.”

Some African-American activists heckled O’Malley during the speech; the candidate rose his voice to be heard over them.

O’Malley called the state of the American economy one “where a majority of our people are unheard, unseen, un-needed, and left to conclude that their lives and labors are literally worth less today than they were yesterday.”

“…We must launch a new agenda to rebuild America’s cities as places of justice and opportunity for all.”

He advocated action on comprehensive immigration reform “because the enduring symbol of our nation is not the barbed wire fence — it is the Statue of Liberty.”

He also took a jab at President Obama’s leading-from-behind foreign policy. “We must construct a new national security strategy and build new alliances that are forward-seeing and forward-acting,” the governor said. “The center of this new strategy must be the reduction of threats. Fast-evolving threats — from violent extremism, pandemic, cyber attacks, nuclear proliferation, nation-state failures, to the drought, famine, and floods of climate change.”

“Together, we must craft a new foreign policy of engagement and collaboration. We must join with like-minded people around the world — especially with nations here in our own hemisphere — for the cause we share of a rising global middle class. We must put our national interest first, we must put America first.”

O’Malley also quoted Bruce Springsteen as “the poet laureate of the American Dream.”