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April 26, 2005

Blood in the Water

Maryland’s Democratic party may have to change its primary symbol from a donkey, which is often read by the Fredneck Republicans as a jackass, to a shark given their apparent recognition of the badly wounded partisans of that particular affiliation that are the local elephant.  A Western Maryland Democratic summit meeting ensued recently at Rock Gap, and a recent poll declared O’Malley the winner over Governor Ehrlich in 2006.  

The electorate is stirred in ways unfathomable to National Republicans, on the environment, on Social Security, and healthcare for uninsured workers, and a host of other issues.  State-wide they turned their sights on slots to no avail and much consternation and sniping, that’s a winning strategy?  Now how to play the blame card?  Careful to check your own true colors before firing the charge boys!

The story of the year, misread by much of the usual press suspects, is that Speaker Busch played upon the substance of opposing slots and became a symbol of slots himself.  The hero of opponents, he then seemingly reversed himself by allowing a merely symbolic vote by majority of one, with several legislators proclaiming that they’d not vote in favor of any revised bill, forming it into the substance of blocking any progress on that unprogressive slots  movement.  Ah yes, classic bait and switch, you’ve got to admire that, I assume that even Senate President Miller is licking his wounds and sharpening his claws.

Now polls show that O’Malley would beat Ehrlich at the polls.  The voters feel that Ehrlich communicates his message well, they just don’t like what he says and does.

We have the best seat in town on Friday when both O’Malley and Ehrlich come to town for fundraising dinners.  Expect the governor to pull a larger crowd, after all it's Frederick, we’ve explained before in this column why the newcomers have not been kind to changing local political imbalances, that era is not over yet.  The lessons of the world would have us believe that self interest, money and privilege and being around folks that look and think exactly like ourselves are the way to live, and a lot of folks buy into that mentality. 

As researchers recently wrote in an article, "Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition," recently published in the American Psychological Association's Psychological Bulletin, the core of political conservatism is the resistance to change and a tolerance for inequality, and that some of the common psychological factors linked to political conservatism include:

bullet Fear and aggression
bullet Dogmatism and intolerance of ambiguity
bullet Uncertainty avoidance
bullet Need for cognitive closure
bullet Terror management

Ah, it is refreshing to put it all into context!

On another front, Duncan is the no show candidate of Frederick, probably sensing little warmth and favor locally.  Yet his legislative representative stated that he was running around all over the state?  Dude, we’re not your agricultural reserve!  We have honest liberal voters out here who don’t all think that Montgomery County is the Russian Republic to our little partisan outpost.  Et tu, Fredru?

Enlightened partisans of the Fredneck persuasion have been going after local politicians with the courage to favor medical decision making, by ‘praying that they get cancer and expire, so that their stain may be removed from the legislature.’ 

The desire to eat one’s own apparently extends beyond the animal kingdom, perhaps more proof of conservative’s views on intelligent design! 

I bow to Delegate Weldon for his personal choice on this matter, and I will defend his voting his conscience until my dying day.

And lastly we turn to Mr. Lenhart, whose expected departure from local politics, if not from the area, is somehow one of the most glorified bye-bye’s of the season.  What exactly made the man so important to us all?  That he created waves, which is what passes for news in this town?  That he could hate the Mayor and block her with his compadres on the Board?  And had ties to the ‘county’ as he said, or to Bartlett and Mooney? 

His greatest flaw was not what he believed and fought for, but that he fought blindly, without compromise, and thus he lost all in the end. 

There’s a lesson there for us all.  Is politics dirty?  Of course, sometimes it is; but we need to remember who we’re fighting, and it’s our own brother, even ourselves.  Sometimes the other side wins too, and should if their cause is just, thereby we all win together.  Too often, we all lost in Lenhart’s partisanship, and we all could’ve gained by an atmosphere of agreement.

Things are accomplished when opposing parties cross boundaries and work together, like last year’s budget, when Aldermen Baldi and Ramsburg agreed on a laundry list of changes.  Public position and public service are two distinct matters.  One does not necessarily begat the other.

And speaking of Mooney, what of the great beached whale of conservative Frederick politics, who cannot pass a bill, or compromise on anything that the local delegation agrees on…well, at least he didn’t actually block any needed legislation this year?  Should we be thankful?

There are rumblings of discontent, and a sign that the silent mass of citizens may be heard from again in the near future, you see the look in the eye of the self interested greed mongers who tend to manage local politics, they hear footsteps coming up behind them, and they’re worried that regardless of the money and advertising, and force of their arguments, that they won’t find the people, or the politicians responsive to their claims and demands.

The problem for the populace is, how do we turn that power into action that benefits all, how do we attend enough meetings to win the war and not just the battle, how do we translate voting into our interests and not just the interests of the few? 

Too many times, we got fooled again as the song goes…we must not allow that to happen this time, for the future of the county is hanging in the balance, a twist of the APFO, a few more regional plans that comprise twenty years of growth and basically ignore the greater values of the Comprehensive Plan, and we end up with nothing good for our efforts and concerns.

We smell the blood in the water, but we must be careful, a wounded animal is the most dangerous, and it could soon be our own blood if we aren’t cautious, and determined to finish the job of killing off the forces that deny us our best interests.