Anyone who knows the movies of legendary John Waters knows that he is passionate about his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Waters is among the city’s most famous native sons with a decades long career that spawned vast cult classic cult films. Polyester and Hairspray (starring the otherworldly, Divine) are among his masterpieces as well Cry Baby, Serial Mom, and more.
A common thread in nearly every John Waters film is that they are often set in Baltimore. It’s like an on-going love letter he writes to his home city with each new production. Baltimore shaped Waters artistically and sparked his creativity, but his world view of humanity was also shaped here. He was a city resident during the racial turbulence that rocked Baltimore decades ago. The city’s race riots of the 1960s were some of the worst in this country and John lived in a mostly black neighborhood. He still has the vivid memories of tanks outside his door during the height of the chaos, as he recalled in a 2015 interview with the Daily Beast:
“I was around for the first Baltimore riots,” Waters says. “My first apartment in Baltimore was on 25th Street and Calvert, and there were tanks outside of my house. Everywhere was burning.”
John acknowledges that poverty in parts of Baltimore is real and tangible. However, the city to him remains a special place. It may have depressed areas, but also there are people who despite their economic status, still care about their communities. They have the same hopes and dreams for their children as anyone.
What Donald Trump fails to grasp is that people in impoverished areas need more government resources to fund community programs for literacy, health and wellness, better housing, nutritional assistance and more. What they don’t need is a president to insult them, by suggesting they are all subhuman due to socio-economics.
Such was the sentiment was represented in the now-infamous Tweet (among thousands) Donald Trump sent out, disparaging the city of Baltimore calling it a “rodent-infested mess where no human being would want to live.”
As usual, following one of Trump’s psycho Twitter rants, there was a backlash. Many people, rightfully denounced the Tweets as racist and divisive. Like clockwork, Trump doubled and even tripled down on the vile comments, seemingly intent on adding more gasoline to the fire.
In response, the editorial board of The Baltimore Sun newspaper responded to Trump in an incredible takedown that was both eloquent and savage. Then, John Waters issued his statement – a challenge to the bully in the White House. In a statement issued to Art News, Waters blasted Trump,
“Give me the rats and roaches of Baltimore any day over the lies and racism of your Washington, Mr. Trump. Come on over to that neighborhood and see if you have the nerve to say it in person!”
I doubt Trump will take him up on that challenge. Just like any other internet troll, Trump finds it more comfortable to talk sh*t from the safety of his own home. The only problem is THAT home belongs to us and it’s time for his eviction.
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.