Del. B Dan Riley (D – District 34A) tells The Dagger that the House of Delegates managed to come together around an issue today. “Think we finally passed a bill, in the House Of Delegates, which will be acceptable by those of any political persuasion,” Riley wrote in an email today. “The day after Thanksgiving, which most people have off, will now be a holiday honoring Native Americans. Only 2 delegates voted against the bill.” The bill effectively makes Black Friday a paid state holiday. See it for yourself here: http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/billfile/HB0083.htm
HB 83 was sponsored by Delegate Talmadge Branch, District 45, Delegate Kumar P. Barve, District 17 and Delegate James E. Proctor, Jr., District 27A. The state senate has not acted on this measure.
Brian Young says
I do have several problems with this bill. Of course, adding an extra day off for state employees when there is a recession is a questionable way for taxpayers to get their money’s worth from state government– but then again, state employees (other than those in O’Malley’s upper ranks that are receiving tens of thousands in raises) shouldn’t be getting raises, so maybe a free day off could be a compromise. How will this impact employee leave time?
But my concerns are more fundamental than just economics. Those who know me know that I’m proud of my small bit of Cherokee heritage, and know that I have a room decorated with Indian artifacts and replicas. So I appreciate recognizing the American Indian.
Why does the American Indian Heritage get a day, when Black history “month” is proposed to be extended a month (this bill was introduced, but I don’t know the current status)? Why is it “heritage” and not “history” or something to that effect?
Here is the big concern, though: this will create a legal holiday for one culture or race. If there is any culture or race in America that deserves the recognition, it’s the American Indian peoples. But is it good policy? Should every heritage–European, Russian, Chinese, Hispanic– get their own legal holiday?
I don’t think so.
Brian has made some really great points. My first thought was the hilarity of the political correctness of calling it a holiday honoring Native Americans. Who actually refer to this group of folk as Native Americans? When you get out to the four corners region, which is nothing but reservations, all of the Puebloans and Navajo or Dinee refer to themselves as Indians. No hyphens, no PC nonsense.
Let’s have a day to recognize the contributions and rich culture of these groups of people, but not as a paid holiday. All but the very few holidays on the books are not recognized by the commercial world. Banks, Post Offices and people who have no real jobs honor all of the other holidays now. Then aqain it won’t really cost us anything for the State folk to take another day off anyway.
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