My Response to NYTs Tom Edsall: They Don’t Riot In Muskogee

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Thomas B. Edsall, a New York Times opinion writer, thought he was being clever taking something I wrote completely out of context. He then lifted this Straw Man into the air for all of his slavish followers to see before lighting it on fire. My extensive writing on Baltimore over the last few weeks was ignored by Edsall, as were my other tweets, in favor of a single tweet the intellectually-clumsy Edsall could proclaim victory over:

But let’s get back to the conservative reaction to Baltimore.

John Nolte, who writes for, Tweeted at 9:26 p.m. on Monday, April 27, “Baltimore is what happens when you replace the two-parent family with a welfare check & union-run public schools.” …

Today Muskogee, Okla., a city of 38,863, has nine drug treatment centers and a court specifically devoted to drug offenders. A search for “methamphetamine arrest” on the website of the Muskogee Phoenix, the local newspaper, produces 316 hits.

In 2013 just under two-thirds of the births in the city of Muskogee, 62.6 percent, were to unwed mothers, including 48.3 percent of the births to white mothers. The teenage birthrate in Oklahoma was 47.3 per 1,000; in Muskogee, it’s 59.2, almost twice the national rate, which is 29.7.

Muskogee County voted decisively for Ronald Reagan in 1984 and for Republican presidential candidates in the last three elections. In 2012, Romney beat Obama 57.4 to 42.6.

Either through laziness or outright dishonesty, Edsall ignored the fact that my overall point was culture, not economics. The full context of my many comments on Baltimore included the exact same point he made. On Twitte,r and in numerous articles I pointed out the fact that my county in North Carolina is 30% poorer than Baltimore and has a median income around $7000 below that of Baltimore.

My obvious point, which Edsall and his Google machine chose to ignore, was and is that poverty has nothing to do with the root causes of rioting. If poverty caused rioting, my hometown, which is located in Watauga County, would be in much worse shape than Baltimore.

Instead, and I have lived here during some lean years where I made about the same as what the median income in Baltimore is now,  Watauga County is a blissful place to live. Despite the poverty and a nagging methamphetamine problem, although I was born in Wisconsin and she was born in Mexico, my wife and I both intend to retire, die and be buried here.

Yes, we are poor, but unlike Baltimore, our culture has not been decimated by 50 years of Democrat, one-party rule.

Let me repeat for the Google-impaired:

Despite all that, we don’t riot here in Watauga County. Thankfully, we have not been poisoned by the same left-wing culture that is rotting Baltimore, and so many other cities like it, from the inside out. We get along remarkably well. We are neighbors. We are people who help out one another. We take pride in our community, and are grateful for what we do have. We are far from perfect, but we work out our many differences in civilized ways. Solutions are our goal, not cronyism, narcissistic victimhood, and the blaming of others.

One attitude we don’t have here is the soul-killing belief that somebody owes us something, which, of course, is a recipe for discontent. Because if you’re not getting what’s owed to you, how can you be anything but angry?

Democrats and their never-ending grievance campaigns; their never-ending propaganda that government largess is the answer; their never-ending caves to corrupt unions; their never-ending warehousing of innocent children in failed public schools — that’s a Democrat problem, not America’s problem.

Poverty does not cause rioting. A bankrupt leftwing culture that breeds despair, resentment, and excuses does. If you must blame the cops, who runs the police in Baltimore?

If you want to blame racism for Baltimore — oh wait, black Democrats run everything.

If you want to blame over-policing, who wants black youths hassled for buying and smoking cigarettes? Oh, my!

Ferguson (St. Louis County) is run almost exclusively by Democrats. Baltimore has been run exclusively by Democrats for a half-century. Oakland is run exclusively by Democrats.

Embrace the settled science of this fact, Mr. Edsall: They don’t riot in Muskogee.


Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC