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May 31, 2013

Progressive Not Liberal

Roy Meachum

At Emma Ebeling’s graduation party, Dan Scherr talked about Friday’s column (“Blaine Young and Martin O’Malley”). In the conversation, the Howard County attorney expressed some confusion concerning my political stance.


In my childhood the only Republicans I knew were dead, stiff and staring out of pictures in history books; they lived right after the Civil War and some of them were black. In New Orleans, where I grew up, the GOP headquarters was downtown, located vaguely near the Times Picayune. I never saw a human being entering or existing. Of course, I registered Democrat.


But that came much later, after I moved to College Park. Maryland was a Democratic bastion. However much I admired the intellectualism of Adlai Stevenson, I cast my first ballot for Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower. That was not the only time I broke the party mold. I voted for Richard M. Nixon in 1960, declining to back winner Jack Kennedy. I also opposed Jimmy Carter for re-election; his notion of sending troops into Iran to save the American hostages, turned me off as wasteful and murderous. I had lived in Cairo, knowing that big Muslim cities never calm down and sleep.


Frederick’s Charles (Mac) Mathias along with fellow senator, Illinois’ Chuck Percy, almost caused me to think about switching registration. Theirs were the compelling voices for “moderate Republicanism.” But then, Senator Percy was soundly beaten, despite his last minute appeal to his state’s voters. “Mac” Mathias chose not to run again when he learned Sheldon Adelson had bought property in Maryland to give him legal, electoral status.


Las Vegas gambling tycoon Adelson was held universally responsible for Mr. Percy’s political keelhauling. Shortly before Mr. Mathias’ withdrawal from the senatorial field, Baltimore’s Jewish Times ran an exultant story about Mr. Adelson’s Zionism: both senators’ outlooks were not deemed acceptable for the Jewish nation.


In the course of the conversation with Dan Scherr, I reminded him what he already knew, that my public position was not in favor of Israel; the Howard County attorney is Jewish. He receives all my columns so that he knows how I think; he didn’t appear uncomfortable.


The ongoing turmoil of the Republican Party makes me very uncomfortable. In the cause of winning back the White House, the GOP seems intent on killing American democracy. I’m in favor of saving money, but sequestration is a bad way. It makes no sense that federal agencies operate part-time, while human needs go on for 24 hours.


Since talking, my thought has continued to evolve. Most right-wing thinkers dismiss my views as ultra-liberal, especially when they live in Frederick. This county is considered by the rest of the state as hopelessly conservative. I’m not to be judged on a single column, as my intellectual friend knows.


So, we had the conversation while Emma’s friends and family members happily celebrated. The graduate is my youngest step-granddaughter; she lives with her mother who’s married to my attorney eldest son who belongs to the law firm that the guest belongs to, as a senior partner.


Dan Scherr and I met through our fondness for the NFL’s Sunday games, in Tom Meachum’s basement.


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