Holidays, when so many folks get out of...


September 05, 1994|By THEO LIPPMAN JR.

ON LONG-WEEKEND holidays, when so many folks get out of town for a while, I think about those people who want to get out of town for good, which seems to be just about everybody.

For instance, as an editorial in The Evening Sun last month noted, white flight from the cities to the suburbs has become Rainbow Coalition flight. In the decade of the 1980s, white

suburban population grew by 9 percent, black by 34, Hispanic by 69, and Asian by 126.

This does not mean whites are more satisfied with city life than non-whites. It's just that after the 1960s and 1970s, there weren't that many whites left in town.

An interesting twist on leaving the city was proposed in a recent letter to the editor. Leon Podles wrote, "It is time for the neighborhoods of Guilford, Homeland and Roland Park to consider whether they wish to stay within Baltimore City. . . The residents should petition the State of Maryland to hold a referendum to reconstitute them as North Baltimore, an independent city or an incorporated town in Baltimore County."

Secession! Good idea! Great idea! I like it! And for a flag, three white stars on a blue X on a red background. We could add stars as Cedarcroft, Tuscany-Lombardy, Hampden, et al. seceded to join this North Baltimore Confederacy.

David Rusk was in town a few weeks ago to look the city over. He's an urban scholar and former mayor of Albuquerque best known for his book "Cities Without Suburbs." He believes that healthy cities are those that include their suburbs within their city limits.

He would be appalled at the idea of Baltimore losing even more of its middle- and working-class citizens, either by migration or secession.

Speaking of secession, he told a funny story. His father is Dean Rusk, the former secretary of state. Before that, in the 1950s hysteria of the Reds-under-the-bed era, the senior Rusk was an assistant secretary at the Department of State. Loyalty oaths were being thrust upon public servants. One question was, "Have you or any member of your family ever belonged to an organization dedicated to the violent overthrow of the U.S. government?"

Dean Rusk answered "yes." This set off alarm bells -- Joe McCarthy, call your office! -- till Rusk explained that he was talking about two great uncles who had been in the Confederate Army.

Old loyalties die hard. During the 1970s debate on amnesty for Vietnam draft dodgers (illegal ones), Sen. Strom Thurmond led the opposition. Sen. Ted Kennedy tried to convert him by saying that after the Civil War amnesty was granted to men "who had been guilty of treason."

Thurmond exploded: "My grandfather was no traitor!" and vowed that if Kennedy ever ran for president, Thurmond would make sure that Southern voters knew of this insult to their ancestors. He did, and Teddy's still not president.

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