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June 29, 2012

“Climb Back Under My Rock”

Roy Meachum

My home for almost 30 years, Frederick has never gracefully accepted my opinions as expressed in columns that stretch back to Thanksgiving 1984. Efforts to fire me from The Frederick News-Post started early. Opponents succeeded momentarily; I was invited to come back. My News-Post absence forevermore came from my resignation.


As someone who lived among Muslims, I do not share the common opinion that Islam’s Holy Book teaches hatred against Jews and Christians. There are three versions of the Quran behind North Market Street’s yellow door. And I’ve read them, starting in Cairo. The Egyptians I dealt with for almost two years were wonderful people. The Middle East considered the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan another crusade aimed wholly against Muslims. The current common opinion among most Americans confirms that view among Middle Easterners.


Immigration has always been a “hot topic” in Frederick; Maryland shares no borders with the countries that the immigrants started out from. From history, I recognize the nation’s paranoia. My Scotch-Irish ancestors were deemed “second class” in the English colonies, followed by the Roman Catholic Irish and Italians.


Since the Indian blood of three tribes – Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw – flows through my veins, I grew up believing “dead Injuns” were not absolutely preferred. My years in a New Orleans boarding school were a matter of gringos vs. spics; in defense I learned some Spanish and respect for Latinos. Still, I understand Sheriff Chuck Jenkins handling of the immigrant problem; at the minimum, its good politics. I like the man.


In this politically turbulent year, I don’t like the congressional redistricting imposed by the state Democrats; I signed a petition to upset the lines drawn up by the General Assembly. I join the Frederick GOP in not favoring representation outside Western Maryland.


On the other hand, Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has had a 20-year shot, marred in the last two terms by turning over much of his office’s authority to people not-elected. State Sen. David Brinkley would have been a better choice; easily he earned my vote. But for the first time since 1992, I will vote for a Democrat, John Delaney.


Immigration and the treatment of foreign-born residents rank high on the reasons I back Barack Obama, who will lose this county, and badly in the November election. As readers know, I know he’s a victim of bigotry enflamed by the other party that wants very desperately to return to the Oval Office.


The present national atmosphere evokes the era of “bloody shirt” politics, when no one who had the least connection with the South had any hope with the voters. Virginia-born Woodrow Wilson’s World War I terms bought a brief intermission – and racial segregation in the White House. The Klan rode triumphantly down Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue under the beaming eyes of President Warren G. Harding.


Most of all, in 2012, I detest the lies and half-truths posed by the Republican camp. Never before, in my long lifetime, have I witnessed such gutter-style campaigning, at every level. I pin most of the blame on an insatiable need to let the public know that 2010 election results were no mirage.


There simply are few ladies and gentlemen remaining on the conservative side that treat governance as a game. At various times over the past 30 years, I have seriously considered changing my party registration. But Charles “Mac” Mathias and “Chuck” Percy have long gone from Capitol Hill and their Republican inheritors are seldom seen or heard.


A bigot on Muslims ordered me to “climb back under my rock!” Presumably that’s so that he and his fellows can rant without interruption.


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