We’ll warn you now. The words that follow are controversial.
You may not think so, but a growing contingent of your neighbors, your leaders and your countrymen do.
They’ll tell you that what we’re writing is tinged with racism, privilege and even toxic masculinity.
They may be right. That’s what’s funny about those ideas: They’re tough to define and even easier to deny.
At the very least, we’re having an honest conversation. If more of such “offensive” dialogues occurred… we wouldn’t have gotten into this sad of a situation.
But our goal here isn’t merely to rant about what’s wrong with our society and culture (although we’re sure that’s what most folks will take away from it).
No. Pay attention and you’ll see that what we cover is truly the key to success… your success.
Unlock these ideas… understand what’s truly happening… and you’ll be a better, happier and more successful person.
We Should Have Pepper Sprayed Him
Here’s the deal. We’ve written about Baltimore’s “squeegee boys” before. The last time we put pen to paper on the subject, we had just had a run-in with a young man on the street.
When we refused his service… he put two big dents in the side of our car.
You see, drive through some of Baltimore’s major corridors and you’re bound to stop at an intersection where the squeegee boys have set up shop. They don’t ask. They simply squeegee your windshield.
If you let them do it, you’d better have cash in hand. We’re told they tend to throw coins right back at drivers’ faces.
If you don’t let them clean your windshield… oh boy, you’d better be tactful. When we said no, we got cussed out and had a squeegee banged against the side of the door.
We’re not the only ones of course.
There’ve been a couple of high-profile incidents in recent weeks… several have led to broken windshields.
And as far as we know… no charges.
But change is afoot.
The wrong kind of change.
Just Add Money
Knowing that the city’s administration is quite fond of these “entrepreneurs” (their words, not ours) and that police get chastised for enforcing the applicable laws, a group known as the Downtown Partnership is stepping in.
The group’s mission is simple. It’s gathered more than 650 local businesses to partner up and ensure folks actually want to live and work in downtown Baltimore.
Keeping the squeegee boys at bay is now a top priority.
The group will soon spend $3,000 per week to put unarmed guards at some of the most notorious intersections.
They won’t be able to arrest or do anything truly useful… but they will be an extra set of lips to moderate the economic back and forth that’s conducted at so many of the city’s intersections.
But it gets better…
A few grand a week is just the starting point.
Now we’ve got word that the city’s mayor, Catherine Pugh, is aiming to raise $1.7 million from private-sector donations (and probably taxes, of course, if she doesn’t get enough donations) to give part-time jobs to about 100 of the city’s squeegee boys.
Oh my… our gag reflex is sensitive this morning.
We get it. These kids are just looking to put a buck in their pocket. It’s all they’ve got.
That in itself is sad. But like feeding the geese at the park, the city’s actions are only making things worse.
It’s what’s wrong with so much of our culture.
Cut the Safety Net
Our society is trained to put in the bare minimum, cry when it hurts and then stick our lips to the government teat when it doesn’t work out.
The city is now tossing nearly $2 million at a problem that never should have been allowed to become a problem.
These kids may have started as entrepreneurs. But now they’re thieves, beggars and, far worse… now they’ll become addicted to government handouts.
But like we said at the top, this isn’t about pointing fingers at somebody else. They’re fighting their own fight. We must fight ours.
If we are as committed to being successful as we say we are, we must look in the mirror. We must see the influence our culture has on us, and we must shake it from our core just as a retriever shakes the saltwater from his fur.
If we set out to do something… we must do it with everything we have.
We can’t deceive ourselves or others when it fails.
We can’t turn to begging and the sympathy of others when a plan falls apart.
And we certainly must not rely on the government to be our safety net when we’re too tired or too timid to go on.
It’s like we said at the end of our last column on the subject.
It’s every man for himself.
Nobody is entitled to anything… especially anything that comes from such an artificial construct as the notion of our modern government.
Success must be earned… not handed out on a street corner.