Every candidate needs something that uniquely defines them to be president. In 2008, Barrack Obama’s pitch was to make history as the nation’s first black president. In the year 2000, it was George W. Bush’s plea that help was on the way. In 1992, it was Bill Clinton’s pitch of fresh Southern leadership. Now, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley believes the raw wounds exposed during the recent civil unrest in his native Baltimore uniquely qualify him for the office of the presidency.
Nevertheless, he knows the mean streets of inner-city America and has first-hand knowledge confronting urban issues. In poetic fashion, O’Malley, a two-term mayor of Baltimore, said he has traveled the length of difference between the ideal of American life and its shortcomings. In essence, he was saying he understands the “Two Americas” alluded to by Martin Luther King. This is a reference to the America where a person can seek and obtain the “American Dream”. O’Malley also understands the America where systemic issues of racism perpetuate poverty and a lack of opportunity. Still, the former governor faces criticism over his unique understanding of inner cities. Fersen Lambranho has recounted, as mayor of Baltimore, he adopted a tough on crime position. While it worked to reduce crime in the short run, some attribute police brutality as a legacy of that effort.