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May 18, 2006

The Silly Season Is Upon Us

Chris Cavey

Just as the Ecclesiastical Calendar has seasons of celebration, feasts and festivities, the State of Maryland is entering into it's holiest of political seasons - The Celebration of the Quadrennial Gubernatorial Election Cycle. This is a time of partisan division, inflated ego, and milking of funds from friends and strangers alike; plus any rain dance that can generate a little ink in a local paper.

You, as a celebrant in Maryland, need to prepare yourself, your friends and your family for what is to come with this six month season. You will see the best and the worse in those we call public officials and those who wish to achieve that ranking. Recently the good, the bad and the ugly have reared their ugly heads even though it is early in this political season.

In the past month the governor spoke with as much passion and conviction of any elected official in the history of the state. His desire for Maryland to continue to succeed is evident just by looking into his eyes and watching his body language.

When he speaks of the heinous partisan vote taken to sentence Baltimore City Schools to another year of failure, you know he is sincere. When he speaks about the 3.6% unemployment rate, the increase of tourism dollars and the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund, you see the pride of a father.

He is relevant in the office of governor, basically 100% name recognition and both working to fulfill and fulfilling promises made over the past four years. This is certainly a good thing: leadership, relevance, and just plain working toward promised goals.

The bad is what happened to valuable legislation when the one up-manship of politics gets in the way. The above mentioned school issue was an excellent case-in-point. Look at what happened.

State legislators, who on a regular basis constantly throw money into the bottomless pit we know as Baltimore City, refused to invest in the future education of its children. And the refusal was lead by Baltimore City legislators!

It is amazing that the school board, the teacher unions and elected officials, all who know and understand the problems of middle schools with passing rates of less than 5%, are okay with sentencing children to at least another year of poor education. Where else do we accept five percent as a reasonable level of accomplishment? This was beyond bad this was just plain evil. This was politics before children!

Another bad call in the world of partisan politics was allowing a bill package that targeted sexual predators to fall by the wayside on the last day of session in deference to spending taxpayer time and money on legislation that targeted a single individual. In the heat of the bitterly divided session the "Dick Hug" bill took precedence over protection of our citizens.

That's right! The Democrat leadership wanted to stop one man from political fund-raising while holding an appointed job as a regent of the University of Maryland. This single man, in their minds, was so important it took legislation to stop him. The time spent on this shenanigan forced good legislation to die on the vine. Unbelievably bad call in prioritizing bitter party orientated politics over bills that were concerning public safety.

Now to the ugly, what we will see in the next five months. This will entail bitter primary battles within each party, individuals fighting and back-stabbing just for the chance to move to the next contest. The challenge is to go face to face with the rival from the opposite party, scrapping to hold what they believe to be a small bit of political power, only to find that the winner is like the dog that caught the car.he doesn't know what to do with it.

The truth of the matter is the total irrelevance of most people in elected office. They are normally only self-important and don't realize it.

Test it yourself. Ask 10 neighbors on either side of your home to name their state senator or delegate. Fewer yet will know the president of the Senate and he has been at that job for over 27 years. Fewer still can name the entire legislative delegation that represents your jurisdiction.

Yet the players will finger-point, name call, tear down each other's yard signs, and send you nasty literature; all of this to focus your attention on their campaigns and to inflate their egos. I have a friend who is developing a "Mr. Potato Head" political "in-action"'s ugly, it's funny, but sadly it's true. You should be able to swap name tags on this creature with many elected officials from both parties.

As this season of political partisan activity intensifies, demand relevancy and action from your elected official. Look for accomplishments of the past, verify those alleged deeds, and ask what the plan for the future is. Look for a leader, not a follower, and not a "kook" who is out on a personal mission of empire building and ego.

Ultimately it is you who will decide the future and how we are governed. If we don't think about our vote and we are lead by those who would deceive, we will have to live with the bad and the ugly.

Do your homework.look for the good; you will be able to recognize them.

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