Maryland, My Maryland

My wife received an email today from our state delegate. It’s the sort of thing which makes you wish you lived just about anyplace else. Here’s the sort of fine representation we’re getting in Annapolis.

 In the wake of the tragedy at Newtown, progressive Democrats took on the NRA—and we won.  As a Subcommittee Chair on the Judiciary Committee, I was proud to help craft the landmark Firearm Safety Act of 2013, a comprehensive public safety package addressing gun violence prevention in Maryland.

Well, you won in Maryland. That’s not exactly a tremendous accomplishment. But what does this wonderful piece of legislation do? I’m glad you asked.

  • Bans semiautomatic assault rifles like the AR-15 used in the Newtown slaughter;

You’ll note that that’s twice that Newtown was referenced, yet if you point out that this legislation would have had absolutely no impact on what happened in Newtown, you’ll get a kindly”shut up” in response. Even though Newtown is being used as a cudgel by the left to impose further gun control legislation,  in the same breath they’ll tell you that it’s irrelevant that none of this would have stopped what happened in Newtown. Because the kids or something.

   Taking on the NRA wasn’t easy, and the threats and vitriol I received from the gun lobby were unlike anything I’ve seen in politics.

Oh, I could think of worse – like the threats and vitriol hurled at the NRA from those who support further restrictions on gun rights.

I came to Annapolis to stand strong for the progressive values we share.

Who’s “we” kemosabe?

        In William Jennings Bryan’s “Guns and Butter” speech, the butter was the domestic investment our government makes in its citizens.  In Maryland, we invested in our citizens by passing a 100% balanced budget designed to fully fund education, protect safety-net services, and maintain our state’s AAA bond rating.  By reducing spending 20% over the past several years, we have nearly eliminated our structural deficit.  At the same time, we strategically increased funding for:

  • Education, securing a record $6 billion to keep our schools ranked #1 for the fifth (!) straight year;
  • Health care, implementing the Affordable Care Act and guaranteeing that this remains a right, not a privilege for the few;
  • Veterans, ensuring that our heroes have the resources they need to transition to full civilian employment upon their return;
  • Transportation, modernizing our road and transit systems while increasing Maryland’s economic competitiveness and improving our shared quality of life.

We’ll leave aside the gimmickry involved in claiming a “balanced budget” for the moment and simply concentrate on the fact that the state is resorting to taxing freaking rainfall in order to raise revenue. The tax burden has become so burdensome that the state is bleeding residents and businesses. But hey, at least we can celebrate spending $120 million  to subsidize a glorified bus depot that is two years behind schedule and may possibly never open. Yay Maryland!

Our state budget is a moral document, and I believe we fulfilled our moral obligation this year.

So after being informed repeatedly that conservatives want to impose our morality on the body politic, here is a state politician – a Democrat, mind you – proudly proclaiming that a state budget is a moral document? But . . . but . . . I thought we were supposed to keep morality out of politics? Do you mean to tell me that it was all just a lie, and in fact it’s perfectly appropriate to impose our morality on the rest of society so long as it’s leftist, secularist morality?

Well gee, at least we’re not Texas. Things just look miserable there.

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