Rep. Elijah E. Cummings
To be perfectly honest, we were going to give this award to Cummings before President Trump went on a Twitter tirade about Maryland's 7th District--which, by the way, is a place the president is supposed to represent, too.
We think back to January, when Cummings, then the newly minted chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, gave "60 Minutes" a tour of his Druid Heights neighborhood. He told reporter Steve Kroft he keeps a campaign poster in the window so people can easily spot which house is his.
"I like to be among my constituents," he said. "Let me tell you something man, if I don't do well in this block, I'm in trouble."
We go even further back, to November 2018, when Cummings appeared in front of City Hall as Baltimoreans protested possible interference in the Mueller investigation, and the 23-year congressman made a pitch for keeping our fragile democracy intact.
"There's absolutely no way that this person here, standing here talking to you, son of former sharecroppers with a fourth-grade education, could rise to the Congress of the United States of America without this democracy," he said. "And I am determined that our children must inherit the democracy that we had."
And we remember, mere weeks before the president took aim at Baltimore, Cummings reflecting on Trump's call for four Democratic Congresswomen to "go back" to other countries and how it reminded him of the 1960s, when racial epithets were hurled at him and other activists as they integrated a pool in Riverside Park.*
"I don't think these Republicans or Trump fully understand what it feels like to be treated like less than a dog," he told The Sun, later adding that because the event happened to him as a young man, "it became a part of my DNA."
He carries that history--that DNA--with him in the halls of the Capitol building. Baltimore has plenty of shortcomings, and there's plenty of blame to go around for why they persist. But none of the outside commenters have lived through them like Elijah Cumming has.
*Correction: An earlier version of this tweet incorrectly said Cummings' comments to The Sun came after Trump tweeted disparaging remarks about the city. Baltimore Fishbowl regrets the error.
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