The following was submitted by Tom Myers, a comedian and frequent Dagger contributor, as a response to previous posts made by Delegates McDonough and Impallaria.
My next submission was going to be a humorous piece, as were my previous submissions, about Rielle Hunter, the girlfriend of former Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards and her decision to come forward and give an interview to GQ Magazine. That submission will be coming soon, but I decided to submit a serious post, as there are more pressing issues I felt as though I had to write about.
First, I will discuss what went through my mind when I read what Delegate Pat McDonough wrote about his views on the proposed state budget and a house bill making English mandatory. I had to laugh when Delegate McDonough called our President “Santa Claus Obama.” If I remember correctly, Santa Claus was someone who, when I was a kid, would come into our houses and leave gifts. The magic of it stops when you find out when you get older and more mature that there is no Santa Claus, or that Santa Claus is not what he seems. That is the perfect metaphor for Delegate McDonough’s view of President Obama. His version of President Obama may very well turn out to be not even close to the truth. Delegate McDonough still has yet to grow up and mature.
As for his decision to not vote for Governor O’Malley’s budget, I am wondering if Delegate McDonough revealed his true motives in this piece without realizing what he was writing. Using Delegate McDonough’s logic, his decision to not vote for the budget could just be a gimmick designed to survive an election year. And we shall wait and see what he says his true motives were should his job be secured after the election. I guess it’s worth alienating those in his district who do support what the Governor has done for this state.
As for House Bill 1020, which would mandate the English language for official and legal documents, I am wondering what Delegate McDonough would be writing if any member of the Harford County delegation, for instance Delegates Dan Riley and Mary Dulany-James, had not sponsored House Bill 1020 and said they would not support it based on principle. I bet Delegate McDonough would not be so quick to praise them for standing on their principles. I believe that Delegate McDonough is willing to praise someone for standing on their principles as long as they are standing for his principles.
How can I say this? I will give an example. Last Fourth of July, Delegate McDonough positioned himself as a champion for constitutional rights when he complained that his “Speak English” signs were taken away from his supporters during the Bel Air Fourth of July parade last year. Delegate McDonough was able to put himself in a public forum, namely the pages of The Aegis on July 8, defending his right to express his opinion. He questioned the parade rules set forth by organizer Michael Blum on a radio interview by saying that Blum’s rules, “… by law, cannot supersede the constitution. The constitution is a bigger rule than a parade rule. That’s all he’s standing on … I think Mr. Blum is full of a bunch of beans.” Delegate McDonough then went on to criticize Mr. Blum’s parade rules by saying that they violated the constitution.
I would admire Delegate McDonough for his stance on protecting the values set forth in our Constitution except for the fact that his views and positions have not been consistent. On August 26, 2007, the Annapolis Notebook published an article about Delegate McDonough’s campaign to take the Spanish Maryland Public Television channel “V-me” off the air. Essentially, in this article, he was implying that government action would be needed to regulate what Maryland Public Television stations aired on their channels. So, Delegate McDonough came out in favor of government regulation of an enterprise that is partially funded by public contributions? I don’t think the Tea Party supporters will want to see Delegate McDonough return to his job in January 2011 when they read that little tidbit. Although that same article states that the 2006 Census Bureau estimates that about 6 per cent of the population of the state of Maryland is Spanish-speaking, Delegate McDonough feels that the rights of people who speak a language different from the one he speaks don’t have the same rights as those who want to force those he either does not like or understand to live the way he does. He said in the article that MPT was “… serving a very small minority.” A minority it may be, Delegate McDonough, but it is a minority that has the same rights and freedoms that you or I do in the same Constitution that you defended on the radio two years later when you felt your rights were being violated. You can read the Annapolis Notebook article for yourself. It is currently on Delegate McDonough’s website. The article can be found at http://www.patmcdonough.org/index.php?option=com_deeppockets&task=contShow&id=29&Itemid=42.
Another bone to pick is one I have with Delegate Rick Impallaria. I must say that after his rather harsh critique of the Havre de Grace High School “Drama Therapy” program, I cannot wait to get a hold of the DVD of the performance. I regret not having gone to see the performance now because I recall similar topics being portrayed in Drama Therapy and brought to light to similar situations that I observed in my days as a student in the public school system. In the interest of full disclosure, I will go on the record as saying that I have worked once with the drama teacher, Mark Cummins a few years ago when he and I worked on a joint effort with some of his students and a few young Harford County Public Library volunteers to bring two comedy improvisation shows to the Bel Air Branch in April and May of 2007. I remember Mr. Cummins as being very helpful and very professional in making sure that we had two shows that were run very well and were enjoyed by those who attended. I hope he continues his service to the students of Havre de Grace High School and to the city of Havre de Grace.
That being said, Delegate Impallaria submitted a letter for publication to the Dagger suggesting that the kids in the Drama Therapy program were “abused” based on letters he received from Havre de Grace parents and constituents. Again, while I have not seen the Drama Therapy program itself, I have read a few different synopses of the program. The Drama Therapy program deals with issues that some school age children are likely to go through. Although some topics, when brought to a public arena, may be uncomfortable to some, I believe that the suppression of any kind of discussion of topics such as the pressures of having sex and the dangers of alcohol abuse among young people is more abusive than anything Delegate Impallaria could ever claim to have witnessed while watching Drama Therapy.
In her letter to the Dagger, Delegate Mary Dulany-James stated that like Delegate Impallaria, she too had received letters of concern from parents about the content shown in Drama Therapy. Unlike Delegate Impallaria, Delegate Dulany-James says she also received letters of support regarding the program. Delegate Dulany-James gave her critique of the performance, saying that she thought everyone involved did a great job. As a former student of theater in high school and college, I can say that putting together a theatrical production takes a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure that on the stage, the productions moves effortlessly and with grace. I commend Delegate Dulany-James for her open-minded approach to her analysis of the Drama Therapy program. Delegate Impallaria’s response to Delegate Dulany-James’s response seemed more that of a long-winded flippant remark than that of an open dialogue. Delegate Dulany-James did not mention Delegate Impallaria by name in her letter to the Dagger, yet Delegate Impallaria did not show the same courtesy and proceeded to rake Delegate Dulany-James over the coals because of her differences with Delegate Impallaria.
Although I have seen Delegate Impallaria many times during my attendance at various county-related meetings and functions, I only spoke with him once. I was getting ready to emcee a benefit show at the Fallston Volunteer Fire Company held by my councilman, Joe Woods, who was also the fire chief. Delegate Impallaria and I spoke briefly before the show. The discussion turned eventually to politics. He seemed dismayed and disappointed that I was a Democrat but, nevertheless, he invited me to attend a meeting of the North Harford Republican Club. Delegate Impallaria, if you are reading this, if your close-minded approach to a program that may help some children in the long run who feel as though they are alone in dealing with their problems and may help them to come forward and discuss them with a parent, teacher, coach, administrator or even another classmate is representative of the mindset of the people who attend North Harford Republican Club meetings, then I have no wish to attend. On their website, they attribute a quote to our first president George Washington. The first part of the quote reads, “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; is it force.” Delegate Impallaria certainly proves it. Thank you for the invitation, though.
If this seemed a deviation from the humorous tone of my previous submissions, then I apologize. As I said up front, these are pressing issues that I wanted to address. Although I was originally going to write about former Senator John Edwards’s girlfriend, Rielle Hunter, I suppose in some ways, her coming forward with an interview may, in some ways parallel with Delegates McDonough and Impallaria. In all three cases, the act of going on the record about incidents shrouded in controversy may be a way to position themselves in a more favorable light to select groups for the sole purpose of achieving some ulterior motive. We may not know what motives Miss Hunter has, but as for Delegates McDonough and Impallaria, the former put it best. This is an election year.