I don’t know, maybe other bloggers will understand what I’ve been going through or maybe it’s just me. I don’t have writer’s block. I now have five mostly written posts. Every time I get most of the way through one something big happens or I have an idea I have to spit out and I derail one for a new one. So, look forward to posts in the near future on the report from the Committee on Community Policing, the budget format changes discussed at the monthly meeting and maybe the recent comment craziness involving a sitting member of the Board of Education.
As I was going through the writing of these different posts the attacks in Paris and elsewhere happened and I immediately started writing something about it but to be honest, it felt hollow. I’m a local blog through and through, and while I cherish opportunities to take (inter)national issues local, this wasn’t going. Then Governor Hogan made his announcement about refugees.
So here’s the thing, his first response was to take a step back and not join his Republican colleagues in declaring he would ban Syrian refugees from entering the state. That sounded kind of promising. While he stated that this was to think and make a “reasoned and careful” decision, what he ended up doing is, in my opinion, far more insidious and borders on despicable. Here is his statement:
"Following the terrorist attacks on Paris just four days ago, and after careful consideration, I am now requesting that federal authorities cease any additional settlements of refugees from Syria in Maryland until the U.S. government can provide appropriate assurances that refugees from Syria pose no threat to public safety."
First of all I’m generally annoyed by this theory that seems to work in Maryland that “moderate Republican” really means the same reactionary policies and positions as their radical conservative colleagues but just stated in a calmer more measured tone. That’s not what sent me around the bend though. The Republican Governors at the least, have the courage of their convictions enough to stand behind their claims. Of course they can’t legally fulfill their promise to keep refugees out of their states but they grab that fear mongering hate filled flag and stand tall waving it to and fro.
Governor Hogan, on the other hand, raises the same fear mongering hate filled flag, but then points to the feds and disavows any connection to the issue. Now, here is my fear. I am truly afraid that this is “good” politics. He can tap into the electorate’s basest most vile ingrained fears, prejudices and hates and yet side stepped any personal accountability. Let us be frank, tapping into fear and prejudice has almost never been a punished move in American politics. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents have all rewarded politicians after they tap into those fears and watching it play out here in Maryland quite literally made me nauseous.
Maybe, just maybe though, this will be one of those moments where the electorate can rise up to the ideals that fill Maryland and America with such potential greatness. Maybe we can rise above our Governor and even hold him politically accountable for appealing to our lowest depths for short-term political gain. For the love of humanity and the greatness that is America and the Old Line State, I hope so.