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As Long as We Remember...

July 31, 2012

Let the Good Dice Roll

Roy Meachum

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley called the General Assembly back to Annapolis next week. The only item on the legislators’ agenda: Gambling!


In the summoning, backed by the entire Democratic legislative leadership, Mr. O’Malley pointed out the dollars flowing into Pennsylvania and Delaware casinos. In this part of the state, cars transit Frederick County headed for West Virginia’s Charles Town races and gambling tables. In one day alone, more than $25,000 – the estimated daily General Assembly costs – vanishes over the state borders.


To my confusion Maryland Republicans object. They insist on no new taxes. They complain about the business lost to nearby states. Curiously, the GOP doesn’t bring morality into the rhubarb – the dangers poised to mortgages and hungry women and children. Those were the reasons stated for Blue Laws, which were in force when I moved up here. The erosion on Maryland business bank accounts proved much stronger than any scruples.


The New Orleans where I “growed up” was open to all the so-called vices, although most of them were technically illegal: Detectives in a “soft-topped” Packard sold Aunt Kate lottery tickets. Prostitutes were available at most corners, especially in the French Quarter. When pay was paid out Saturdays, those nights were devoted to poker and hard-drinking. Of course, blue noses objected.


But the culture was Roman Catholic, meaning women and children went to church Sundays; most men were of the sort that dropped in for Christmas Midnight Mass and for Easter. The question of dropping by Ash Wednesday was individual. Still there were many dirty foreheads that proclaimed the faith every year. The mind-set was summed up in the phrase: Laissez les bon temps rouler! Let the good times roll!


This state started out the same way, but without Cajun words to fall back against. But these were English Catholics not of the French sort. My ancestors came by the way of Canada. That might form the contradiction in state Republicans’ minds.


The last Maryland GOP governor, Robert Ehrlich, ran on a platform strongly supporting gambling in the state. Yet his fellow Republicans strongly fight against the special session next week. Sounds hypocritical, doesn’t it? I’ve lamented frequently that’s the way modern politics generally strikes me.


Some of my most respected friends and officials struggle along the same lines. But then they expect GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney to occupy the Oval Office in January, despite his obvious flaps that frequently find his feet stuck in his mouth. Who’d thunk it?


Makes no common sense; not to me.


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