About a month ago I was interviewed by our local CBS affiliate, WJZ, along with two other gentlemen, about an issue that I wrote about a few months ago: secession. Specifically, people in the 5 western counties of Maryland: Carroll, Frederick, Allegheny, Washington and Garrett, want to break away and form their own state. The interview (found here) was an interesting experience, and the topic of my column today.
Early in January, Scott Strzelczyk, Rob Parr and I met with Mary Bubala from WJZ at a local restaurant to discuss the Western Maryland Initiative. Scott has been spearheading this initiative since this past summer. To date, the Facebook page has 8,255 people following it. A lot of people in such a very short time. Maryland is a very blue state. Well, wait, let me amend that. Maryland in small and specific places is a very blue state, however most of the western and eastern parts of the state are quite red… and seeing red as well. Why? Let’s start with 40 new or increased taxes and fees. What about a horribly gerrymandered Congressional redistricting map that had no other purpose than to cost GOP seats in Congress and locally? Or passage of a new and strict gun control measure that was wildly unpopular with the majority of the citizens of the state. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. It boils down to the fact that Maryland has become a defacto one party state.
Really the main issues that are causing this call for secession are: lack of effective representation and an attitude of “you aren’t welcome, so why not just leave.” Governor O’Malley may not have made the horrible misstep that Governor Cuomo did and say out loud that those on the right aren’t welcome, but he fosters an atmosphere that effectively shouts it to the heavens. We. Aren’t. Welcome.
Let’s discuss what brought us here. We discussed much of what is to follow at length with Mary, although in the media world of sound bites not much of the facts made it through. I will stop for a moment and say this: Mary Bubala was well prepared, respectful, professional and genuinely interested in what we had to say. She is a warm and welcoming person and didn’t slant the reporting in one or another direction. I thank her for giving us a chance to discuss this.
Ok, so back to issues! One of the most polarizing issues was the passage of The Firearms Safety Act of 2013. At the time it was being debated and then voted on, 62% of Marylanders were opposed to the legislation. A very clear majority. It cost the state business, wasn’t supported by Maryland law enforcement and didn’t make us any safer. Beretta, a gun manufacturer who has been located in Maryland for decades, pays approximately $31 million in taxes and employs 400+ people, is leaving and relocating to a more gun friendly state. Liberal legislators shrugged off the threat of loss of Beretta and their enormous tax revenue, and ignored law enforcement. Not to mention that the Columbia Mall shooting showed in no uncertain terms that the law didn’t make anyone safer. The shooter used a shot gun purchased legally under the new legislation.
Speaking of tax revenue, remember the Revolutionary War and “no taxation without representation?” Well, when we have legislators who actively ignore a large segment of their constituency and vote in contravention to their interests, we have no representation. Martin O’Malley has instituted 40+ new and increased taxes and fees since he took office in 2007. Those taxes have driven tax paying businesses and wealthier individuals out of our state, cutting revenue, not bolstering it. These increases pushed Maryland into the top 10 of states that tax the highest. The revenues weren’t used as promised, went to heavily Democrat voting areas and didn’t benefit the majority of Marylanders.
One of the most important things that we talked about, beyond the why’s and how’s (see my past article for how’s) was “why not just pack up and leave?” Mary asked that of each of us and there are two important reasons why we don’t. First, it doesn’t solve the problem. It just foists it off onto whomever stays. We have taken time and effort to vote, protest, write and speak with our delegates and senators to absolutely no avail. So leaving is our only option? Turn tail and run? As Scott put it so well, it’s time for a peaceful revolution so we can be self-determining as our Founding Fathers wished, all without giving up our homes and businesses.
Second, and most importantly, Maryland is my home. I was born here. It is beautiful: rolling hills and farmland, lakes, mountains, estuaries and beaches. When I lived elsewhere I pined to come home. I raised my children here. We have excellent schools, an amazing hospital systems that includes one of the best in the world: Johns Hopkins. Throw a rock in central Maryland and you can hit a dozen or more great colleges and universities. The people here are friendly and welcoming. This is my home, why should I have to leave?
So I stay and fight. My family, neighbors, friends and children deserve it. Governor O’Malley, House Speaker Michael Busch, and Senate President Mike Miller – I am putting you on notice – we will no longer be ignored. Listen up or let us go!
Image: Courtesy of: http://randolph-computer-k-4.wikispaces.com/Maryland