This weekend, president elect Donald Trump took to Twitter to expose the shameful atrocities that have been ongoing in one of America’s biggest cities – Atlanta. After hearing that Congressman John Lewis, of Georgia’s 5th congressional district, would not attend the Presidential Inauguration next week Trump decided enough was enough and blew the lid off the sad facade of stability that Atlanta has masked itself with for decades.
Thank you Donald. Thank you. Finally, we have a president who genuinely cares about, and is committed to, the future of our inner-city communities. Someone who truly wants change and isn’t afraid to shit talk a Civil Rights icon via social media. And, what better way to spark that change than by tweeting about it from a thousand miles away?
As a native Atlantan of 30 years I can tell you first hand about the day to day fear and turmoil that this city bullies its citizens into. That same fear was illustrated oh so eloquently by Trump, as he provided the nation with his whistle blowing subtweets. PEOTUS sparked it, and I vowed to continue this movement that will open the eyes of America to just how truly horrifying it is here in Atlanta. So, today I drove around John Lewis’ 5th Congressional District to face these horrors head on.
I left my house in Virginia Highlands (AKA the Compton of the South) just a few miles away from downtown Atlanta. The sad shape of the city almost made me want to turn my Cadillac CTS around on any of the 55 roads with Peachtree in the name and get back to the safety of my own home. I don’t venture out much due to the constant onslaught of crime and tragedy that riddle this community. However, today I really wanted Eggs Benedict and comfy chicken from Homegrown. Sadly the line was out the door, so I had to slum it at a local favorite hole in the wall – Flying Biscuit.
That’s when the nightmare began. I couldn’t even take a 5 minute ride to Brunch without passing one homeless person and FOUR farmer’s markets. These open air vegetable vagabonds are one of the biggest reasons that this district is in shambles. Support local business? I don’t think so. If there’s anything I’ve learned from our fearless leader it’s that you support you and only you. And when that doesn’t work…ask your Dad for a million dollar loan and/ or start a bromance with the leader of another country to help you get your way.
Regardless of your political affiliation, I think everyone would agree that we’ve all wanted a no nonsense haggler like Vladimir Putin when we’re haggling for squash and zucchini.
I leave brunch in EAV clinging onto my pepper spray during the 40 second walk to my car. I preemptively have 911 dialed waiting to hit send just in case I fall victim to the crime infested wave of terror that sweeps this city every day. Think Trump was exaggerating? I don’t think so. Atlanta falls just behind Columbia in terms of crime rate. Yeah. In regards to crime, Atlanta is BARELY behind the the blood stained streets of one of the most notorious gang-riddled and drug cartel capitals of the world – Columbia, South Carolina.
Atlanta is 14th nationally in crime rate, but it would be way higher if it weren’t for the humidity and the city being in such terrible shape and could attract more criminals.
The city is on fire…Because of a Falcons victory. Ok, I exaggerated about it being on fire. It’s literally not on fire. It was once during the Civil War thanks to General Sherman. And, despite being the only city in America destroyed by war the sad and slow pace of rebuilding has almost come to a halt. Things have gotten so bad in this capital city of the South that they’ve been forced to building new versions of 19th century luxuries like the streetcar and ferris wheel.
As I continue my trek through the sad grey abyss that is John Lewis’ 5th district I dry an eye as I pass by what could only be described as a “Southern Detroit” or “modern day version of 1930’s Berlin.” I pass by shanties and ruins like the CDC, the Olympic flame from the 1996 Olympics, and the new Mercedez Benz Stadium/ future site of the Super Bowl, Final Four, and College Football National Championship. I can literally feel my mood shift to sadness and wonder if I should abandon this wretched wasteland for a city booming with potential to raise a family or develop a business in – some magical mirage like Atlantic City.
My anxiety is at an all-time high because of the traffic. Much like the city’s cement-shoed approach at development I find myself sitting still thanks to a road being shut down because of one of the dozens of movies and TV shows being filmed in this metropolistic nightmare. It’s always something here in Atlanta, or Y’allywood as it’s become known.
If it’s not movies it’s constant construction thanks to the over 18 Fortune 500 companies that call this dumpster fire their home headquarters. The only thing more sickening than this positive economic impact is the resurgence the city had as a whole after the 2008 economic collapse. Arguably the second biggest resurgence the city has had. You know besides that whole being burned to the ground things just 150 years ago, but I digress.
As I gather/ doomsday prep food supplies from Whole Foods for the Atlanta apocalypse I say a quick prayer thanking God for the heroic visionary that Donald Trump has become for this city. You have to hit rock bottom before you can truly address your issues. There is no better metaphor for that rock bottom than the decade long construction site next to me as I’m stopped at a red light. It’s what was supposed to be Atlanta’s Trump Towers as announced in 2007 before the $300 million venture went into foreclosure.
That’s right John Lewis, enough talk and no action. Despite his ire and negative image of our beloved city, Donald Trump was STILL filled with enough activism and charity to sink $300 million into a golden addition to this shithole skyline. And, to think of the risk he was taking building it just blocks away from the landfill known as Centennial Olympic Park that has been barren for decades being used for nothing more than economic disasters like the Olympics, Music Midtown, and 420 Fest.
I rush home before nightfall to return to the safety of my home in yet another resurgent neighborhood falling victim of gentrification in this deadly district. I forego dinner at Chick-fil-A despite my cravings for waffle fries and homophobia because this city is a war zone after nightfall.
I slip into my silk pajamas I bought from Lululemon at that haunted mall revamp known as Ponce City Market. As I debate on which Kevin Rathbun or Ford Fry restaurants continuously opening and thriving in this city to order Uber Eats from I take time to reflect.
I think about how thankful I am to have a leader I can look up to. Not a leader that ever dabbled in empty accolades like: LITERALLY leading the march to Selma, being the chairman of the SNCC (the largest and most influential organization of the Civil Rights Movement), being a keynote speaker at the 1963 March on Washington, organizing Mississippi Freedom Summer, martyring himself for change during bus bombings and the Freedom Rides of 1963 (which literally happened in front of my Great Aunt’s house in Anniston, Alabama), or ever being called “one of the most courageous persons of the civil rights movement.”
I’m thankful for a leader who exposes the real truths and lack of leadership in places he’s never marched in, never bled in, and never cared enough about to even fact check himself before putting a city on blast via social media like the TMZ-themed pseudo politician that this country somehow fucking elected as president.