George Santayana was correct…
Maryland’s political landscape is showing the pre-revolutionary signs of change. Just over a week ago, thousands of voting citizens took to the streets in the cold damp April rain to show their disgust in government’s rampant spending and to exercise their right to assemble in protest.
“Tea Parties” were held in every state in our country; however, it was very significant that tiny Maryland held nine of these organized tax protests. Could it be that our citizens are upset with the direction Gov. Martin O’Malley and the Democrat-lead General Assembly has taken our state? You better believe it!
Two thousand people assembled at the docks in Annapolis on a day so bad the fish were complaining. Standing hovered under umbrellas, holding soaking wet signs, these new revolutionaries shouted their protests. They had come to our colonial-era capitol by the busload to protest excessive taxation and government intrusion.
The deeper questions are: Will these protests grow? Will Governor O’Malley make the same mistakes Royal Governor Thomas Hutchinson did in 1773? Will these protests cause a knee jerk reaction and prompt a modern day version of the Intolerable Acts and prompt revolution by the 2010 elections? Maybe.
Governor O’Malley has certainly allowed spending to become disproportional to revenue flow. He and his cronies, who lead the majority party in the House of Delegates and state Senate, have raised taxes in a special session, missed opportunity to gain revenue from slots due to political folly, and have raided every dollar reserved within the coffers of our fair state’s treasury.
The protests of the people are deep and broad across the political landscape in Maryland. The 2008 election was only the first cry for change by the American people. President Barack Obama has a very small window to satisfy the populace; a continued demand for change will be raging as long as the economy is in the tank and unemployment remains high.
This demand is not just partisan demand. Just like 1773, those who feel liberty has been trampled are protesting. The problem is the same: “Taxation without representation.” The representation this time is not because there are no local representatives of the citizen in the voting body, but the fact the voting representatives are not expressing the will of the people.
Few people would wish funding cuts for educating their children, maintaining highways, or a host of other duties our tax dollars perform for the good of all citizens. Few people would revel at the fact that many of their neighbors, who are state employees, were required to take several days without pay to help bring O’Malley’s budget into balance.
However, few people know – or talk about – the heavy handed demands of the Democrat leaders in Annapolis in pushing pork-filled agendas for favored single issue groups who are cash cows at election time. Few know the shameless way the balance of the votes fall into place, like lemmings to the sea, behind their leadership in a blind stupor.
The corruption of single party politics and incumbency has reached such a high water mark that “Tea Parties” actually make sense to a broad spectrum of citizens. April 15, 2009, was only the starting point in what might be a massive turnover of members of Maryland’s General Assembly, if they continue to follow the current path of the “king.”
Maryland’s citizens must continue their active role in protest. They must demand representation, and, if they do not receive the representation they expect, they must change their representatives. Incumbency in either party eventually breeds officials who are both complacent and weak or have tasted the addictive drug of leadership power.
The right of protest allows us to publicly tell our government and our representatives to that body, that we are unhappy. Our right to vote is our greatest weapon of protest. With the voting booth we can clean house and start afresh with common sense individuals who have not yet tasted the power of office.
There are hundreds of arguments in American history for protest and the change which followed; after all, it is how our freedoms were established. There are no arguments for single party domination, or multiple term incumbent legislators. I say history is about to once again repeat itself.
(Editor’s Note: George Santayana said: “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Thus the headline for Mr. Cavey’s column.)