Del. Pat McDonough issued the following response to Bel Air Independence Day Parade Chairman Michael Blum following Blum’s own rebuttal this morning:
1) OBEY THE RULES – Mr. Blum shouts, “Rules are rules.” It reminds me of the TV Show “Hogan’s Heroes” when Colonel Klink used to shout out, “These are the rules, Hogan.” The problem is, Mr. Blum, we have one big rule in the U.S.A. It’s called the Constitution. The federal courts have ruled that any regulation, contract, or rule related to an event that is subsidized by public funds shall be declared null and void if it violates the constitutional right of freedom of speech. Yanking signs from children in front of other children, telling parade watchers to put away their “I Love Ehrlich” signs, banning children from receiving candy or other goodies along the parade route, banning groups who advocate causes such as supporting the Constitution, and generally cracking down on freedom of expression is an insult to the theme of the parade, “Patriotism, Then and Now.”
2) This is supposed to be a privately sponsored event, but public taxpayers’ money makes it possible. The town of Bel Air alone contributes $13,400 in taxpayers’ funds. Harford County Government and the Sheriff’s Office also contribute large sums of taxpayers’ money and we are researching those numbers now. Clearly, taxpayers are contributing to the operation and existence of this parade. Therefore, Constitutional rights supersede any narrow rules.
3) The position of Mr. Blum and the parade leadership is in the extreme compared to other similar parades around the state. Actually, even parades in Harford County locally allow candidates, slogans, issue groups, and candy for children. The Kingsville parade proudly announced from the reviewing stand by the parade officials the sentiments that were on the signs including Delegate Impallaria’s “Support the Constitution” expression. All of the legendary great July 4th parades, like Dundalk and Catonsville, promote freedom of expression. Mr. Blum and his rules are out of step and marching to a different tune.
4) In our great Constitutional republic, politics and elections are the lifeblood of our system. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln were all politicians more accurately, elected officials. Currently, during these difficult and challenging times, it is more important now than ever for citizens to see their public officials in person. I believe that not only incumbents, but challengers should have the same opportunity. Anyone who views politics or involvement in public service with disdain needs to rethink what our democracy is all about. It is just as important for the people to connect with their representatives as it is to view a truck that has a sign promoting “the best tree service in town.” People who would rather see a sanitized parade without the lively involvement of issues, ideas, or elected representatives can travel to Cuba or China to fulfill their wishes. I do agree that the elected officials should be more strategically placed in the parade and signs should be reasonable and prudent. Politics, public service, campaigns, elections, issues, slogans, Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and especially free speech are all symbolized by parades on America’s birthday.
5) Chairman Blum misled folks in his response by claiming that I greeted his request to remove my signs with obscene disrespect. Mr. Blum did not issue a request – he shouted a demand. My response was, “The Constitution and free speech are more important than your rule.” The only way this issue will be resolved is through legislation, judicial review, or a spirit of compromise.
Delegate Pat McDonough
Steve Wright says
I concur with the thoughts of Del. McDonough….
On and before July 4th 1776, England made some rules too!!!! Our Founding Fathers changed the World and History by declaring our independence from England….Then, they displayed their measure of their fortitude to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred Honor so see it all through….
This isn’t your personal parade!!! It isn’t your private party!!! You seem to want to neuter American Independence day….and in that regard, Americans should speak up against your conduct. They did in the parade.
You should have gotten that message as you were being “booed” and hissed upon…by the hundreds who witnessed what you were doing….
David Davidson says
The Dagger- Where the pathetic harass the desperate over the mundane.
Which one’s that make you, Davey?
Your place to protest the rules is in advance of signing your contract, not after the fact once you’ve broken your promise. Don’t try to grab the role of the “victim.”
Kim McCarthy says
Mr. McDonough is so off base here, I find it difficult to even respond. If he wants to have a parade with his own rules, I am sure he can file for a permit. In the meantime, he chooses, yes, chooses to participate in parades where scores of volunteers have worked the previous year to make the event enjoyable. Mr. McDonough touts the Constitution when it works in his favor while spewing hatred like “speak English.” Did he happen to notice the many people on the parade route hoping to make the US their country or the new citizens watching our parade? Perhaps he should pay a visit to the young troops, many of whom are not yet citizens putting their lives on the line for our country. His vitriol was palatable down the parade route. He helped to incite others that were cursing and gesturing at our Governor. This was not a political event. This was a celebration of our country and our democracy. This is also a celebration of our ability to elect leaders. The Bel Air parade celebrates those people that are in elected positions as an example of our democracy. I felt very bad for Governor O’Malley that his wife and two youngest children had to be subjected to those few in Bel Air that gave us a bad name. I thank Mr. Blum for his dedication. I was with Congressman Kratovil’s group. The Congressman happily covered up anything that said “elect” as did everyone else that was participating in the parade – Democrat or Republican. Mr. McDonough continues to be an embarrassment to his constituents and to the citizens of Harford County.
David Davidson says
Oop- Matt, you’ve got me. Your third grade, ‘I know you are but what am I’ rhetoric has completely demolished me. Pat McDonough is absolutely correct. Speak English, indeed.
Forth grade, I’d have thought. Sounded to me like you were insulting the forum, not the candidate. Hate the player, Dave. It’s a saying the younger folks use.
David Davidson says
I couldn’t care less about the forum. I’m just tired of this pointless back and forth that’s been going on for twelve hours. Honestly, Mr. McDonough? Don’t you have a job to do?
I plead the 7th (district) says
Indeed, it seems that the parade rules were fairly enforced, and clearly established beforehand. Mr. McDonough, Mr. Impallaria and others decided to participate in the event, with every intention of ignoring the rules and using their insubordination as an attempt to gain some attention for themselves.
This seems to be a pattern for Impallaria and McDonough. This is at least the second time this year that they have been in the news for what amounts to a petty squabble. Maybe they can quit worrying about their signs, and start worrying about getting something done for their constituents. Maybe,
Phil Dirt says
Kim McCarthy said: Mr. McDonough touts the Constitution when it works in his favor while spewing hatred like “speak English.”
Oh, how horrible. I hope none of our children were traumatized by that. I’m so ashamed to live in the same country as Del. McDonough. Why didn’t one of our law enforcement officials shoot him dead on the spot? Crucify him!
And you felt sorry for Governor O’Malley “that his wife and two youngest children had to be subjected to those few in Bel Air that gave us a bad name”? I feel sorry for myself and the other citizens of Maryland for being subjected (good choice of words) to Governor O’Malley, who has given our state a bad name and taken away so much from us.
Isnt there anyone else who finds this back and forth kinda childish??? My 8 year old and her friends do this back and forth, back and forth crap……I don’t expect it out of adults (and especially policiticans)…..
I plead the 7th (district) says
Holly, et. al.
As you will see in the Harford County 2010 Election preview here on the Dagger, there will be plenty of opportunity in both the primary and the general, to express your frustration with your elected officials, by voting for new representation at all levels.
Bob the Populist says
I wonder if Delegate McDonough is still happy that he supported Martin O’Malley’s expansion of Medicare. Isn’t the whole Tea Party movement about less government spending, and here McDonough is, someone who spent half a billion taxpayer dollars on bigger government, pretending to be pro-Tea Party.
Mr. McDonough, how in the world can you support the Constitution while spouting hatred such as Speak English. This country was built on the back sof men and women who in fact do not speak English. It is being maintained and formed today by those who do not speak English, and this will continue to be the way of the United States. What does it say on the Statue of Liberty, that amazing symbol of our freedom? Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath free, the wretched refuse of your teaming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me, I lift the lamp beside my golden door. No where does it says, only those that speak English. You are a hypocrite of the worst kind. You are a fine example of the problems with the politicians of America.
I will make certain to align myself, and anyone who will listen to vote for your opponent, whomever that may happen to be.
David Dave Davey Davidson or whatever you are calling yourself: This back and forth is exactly what we are talking about here–the right to express your opinion. Do you not get it? If it weren’t for websites like this, who in the hell would listen to you? Holly, please read the above as the statement is meant for you too. If you think commenting is childish, why in the hell did you chime in? Rights, freedoms, you enjoy them even though you’re too stupid to realize you are exercising them by posting on The Dagger. And to Madames McCarthy and Mary: I’m sure you’ll be “spewing hatred” and “spouting hatred” yourselves when you have a problem with your computer, call Dell and speak to some outsourced Pakistani whom you can’t understand because they don’t speak English, everytime you call a phone tree and you have to “press 1 for English”, when your roofer brings a truckload of Hispanics to do the job and you can’t let your kids outside because they’re screaming out in Spanish and you don’t know what they’re saying. I think you get my point. And Mary, I’m so proud that you passed Civics 101 and are able to recite what’s written on the Statue of Liberty. A gold star for you. I’m waiting for Vietnam Vet and Ritchie C to chime in. Tell Vietnam Vet it’s hateful to want people living in this country, most of them illegally, to speak English.
Tom Glover says
Mr. McDonough stated, “The federal courts have ruled that any regulation, contract, or rule related to an event that is subsidized by public funds shall be declared null and void if it violates the constitutional right of freedom of speech.”
If it is correct that the town of Bel Air and Harford County have used taxpayer funds to fund the parade, and if the Delegates quote above is correct seems to me has a very legitimate case.
People are overlooking the fact that the same sign the Delegate displayed has been allowed in the parade for years with no previous incident. What changed in Mr.Blum’s mind this year? The Delegates actions did not change, Mr.Blum’s did!
Also, if as alleged, parade marshals went into the crowd and had spectators put away signs that had a message that simply said “I love Ehrlich” I find this highly disturbing. Since when did Bel Air become a place where the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are no longer applicable? At what point did the parade organizers come to the conclusion it was now their obligation to censer average citizens?
Wow, we are really stepping on disturbing ground here.
Joseph Caruso says
“Speak English” is a far cry from “Hate Speech”. The concept of Lingua Franca is a reasonable and legitimate non-partisan position. It is important that a nation have a common language for the citizenry to conduct business and communicate. It does not mean that immigrants need to forgo their native tongue they just should learn English to be part of our country.
There are currently 28 States that have English as their Official Language. Even Teddy Roosevelt thought it was important stating in 1914…
“We have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house.”
It was true statement then as it is now!
Tom Glover says
Please tell the Congressman how much we appreciate his vote on Cap and Trade.
According to an article in the Politico, Mr. Kratovil made up his mind about the “Cap and Trade” bill after partaking of the Kalua Pig at the White House Luau. You know that gig where an expensive Hawaiian village was erected on the White House lawn. Are recession’s great or what!
To quote the article “During the luau, Clyburn (Majority Whip) set up shop in the Oval Office with Obama to meet with wavering Democrats, like freshmen Reps. Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland and Eric Massa of New York. Members of Clyburn’s whip team patrolled the White House lawn, cornering colleagues and making the case for the bill.”
So it seems Mr. Kratovil, after enjoying the frills all night, got taken into the Oval Office and his vote was securred there. Forget the thousands of phone calls, when we could actually get through the jammed Capital Hill switchboard, from constituents requesting he vote “no” on what will amount to the biggest tax increase in history. The quality time at the White House was more important.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0609/24364.html#ixzz0KX00egPA&C
Joe Teddy Roosevelt fractionalized his party with that setiment. You might not want to quote him in this case. He was viametly chastized for thi position including by Taft who he had put on the Supreme Court!
Our Founding Fathers recognized that we all came from different backgrounds and made no mandate of a state language.
Joseph Caruso says
Cdev – The Teddy quote was an historical perspective on the matter and the question as to whether or not this should be a Federal matter was not addressed by me. Teddy’s statement was never labeled as “Hate Speech” and that was the point!.
Certainly there are 28 States that think English as their Official Language is important and they are not “Hate States” are they?.
There is a mean spirited and nasty edge to the ” Speak English” snear. It is not and has never been just a philosophical musing on the need for a common national language. It evokes an ugly American image that has no place in a multicultural, immigrant country where all citizens are valued and diversity is a strength. My Italian grandparents spoke broken English. They were so proud to be Americans and did their best to learn the language. I can only imagine how they would have felt when/if someone sneared at them to “Speak English”.
That said, do people in this country have the right to be rude and mean spirited? Sure enough.One need only take a gander at various “personalities’ on the tube to see such ” freedom of speech” . Doesn’t make them someone i would want as a leader or a role model tho… they encourage the basest of human behaviors.
It certianly is one thing to have a common language as a country, and we do. However, it is appalling that a politician would use that as their campaign slogan. This country was build from immigrants, and they continue to do so. Your roofer brings a truck full of Hispanics because they are the ones who are willing to do the work that the rest of the English speaking community looks down on.
Your attitude toward your constituents is appalling. Yes, you are right that I can recite what is on the Statue of Liberty, something I am sure that most Americans cannot do, something that I am not sure that you can do. But your sarcasm is disgusting.
Construction Worker says
“Blue,” the “truckload of Hispanics” the roofer brought are probably saying, “Hey, send up another bundle of shingles!”
Let your children outside – they might learn something about roofing…or how to speak Spanish!
Joseph Caruso says
Curious – You have quite an imagination.
The Roman Empire used Latin as their Lingua Franca throughout their territory for laws and communication. Citizens conducted business in Latin and spoke their local language at home and socially.
Are you fond of France? Heck, even they have an Official Language…it’s French by-the-way. While impractical we could switch to French as our Official Language and it would make some of the folks in Louisiana very happy. And Quebec may even leave Canada and join us as the 51st State.
What is important is that we have one supreme language used before all others.
Bravo Joseph Caruso – it’s about commonality, communication, and understanding.
I am so glad that Del. McDonough does not represent my district.
Yes he’s entitled to express his opinions in public.
The fact that he lacks the ability to edit himself and opts to use a family event like a holiday parade to incite hatred and tear a community apart on a divisive issue like immigration in an attempt to curry political favor and draw attention to himself in the manner that he is doing certainly should be something that voters in District 7 reflect upon and remember the next time they have the opportunity to vote on who they truly want representing them.
Yes the Harford County Sheriff and Bel Air Police Departments as well as other agencies do contribute to the safety and security of the event and the funding for the event comes from local taxes (and thank you for the great job that was done!). It is absurd to think that because taxpayer money is spent, the only law that matters is the US Constitution and all other requests for decency and self restraint in front of our kids and families can be ignored.
Based on Del McDonough’s argument, since police are used to escort funeral processions and judges are used to determine estate matters, it is absolutely his right as an American Citizen and our elected official to come to our funeral, ridicule our families and place his campaign signs on our graves.
Most of wish war protesters have the decency and good sense not to show up at funerals of our fallen bretheren who ironically die to defend the constitutional rights of such protesters. Now I’m forced to wonder by his own arguments if Del McDonough is so weak in character that he would not share such a view.
Yes there is the constitution, but there is also respect for the community he claims to represent / defend (and certainly leeches a salary and perks off of). Del McDonough is clearly not a man that exhibits any capacity to comprehend this.
Kudos to Del Pat McDonough! FREE SPEECH or has that been taken away from us too? We refuse to sit by and watch our state & country turned into a Socialist nation! Are we angry? YES! Read your history books people!
Terri, maybe you should read your history books. There were a few other people in this world that had thoughts like Speak English. Except instead of English, it was Speak German-how did that work out for Hitler? Mmmhhh?
This has nothing to do with Free Speech and everything to do with following the rules of the contract that one signed. Del. McDonough apparently feels that he is above those rules, and since he is a politician it somehow does not surprise me.
Phil Dirt says
So now Mary has invoked Godwin’s Law (As a discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1).
It was inevitable.
Congratulations. According to the traditional rules of Internet discussion forums, this thread is finished and you lost.
Actually, it was brought up in the original post made by The Delegate-when mentioning that the crowd was apparently calling Mr. Blum a “Sign Nazi”.
Phil Dirt says
Mary, your point is well-taken. I apologize for the accusation.
Dave Yensan says
Am I the only one who thinks that Mary’s analogy is backwards?
bob driscoll says
When I drive thru Baltimore and see signs of former president Bush with crude sayings about how he is depicted , I don’t seem to hear any of this business about hate speech from the so called main stream press, It is odd that when some one like Mr. McDonough says something reasonable like SPEAK ENGLISH It is hateful It is not hateful it is just common sense, Stop the double standard, Now it is Mrs. Palin turns for the true HATE SPEECH
Actually the supreme court ruled in Hustler vs. Falwell that public figures are subject to such things by their nature as long as a reasonable person could not believe them if they are not true.
CDEV…actually that case cited the fact that it was so outragous that a reasonable person would not beleive it…although the saterical nature of it…as vile as it was…presented a message in a satirical nature.
Go Dagger !
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