Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Your legislature inaction

If you go way back with the National Lampoon magazine (as I do) you will remember the feature they had with special license tags that reflected the special character of each state.

Maryland's tag motto, according to them, should have been "CRADLE OF GRAFT."

As much as I used to enjoy showing visitors to the Baltimore County Courthouse the rooms where Spiro Agnew, in his days as county executive, used to take bagsfull of bribe money from paving contractors seeking county contracts, that was hardly the first and only crime committed by a public official.  

All of his shenanigans took place in a state with an outdated, offensive motto. And with the Maryland Legislature now in session, the fight over our unofficial state slogan rages on.

They are words in the Tuscan language, a forerunner to Italian: "Fatti Maschii Parole Femine."  

Translated, it means that if you eat too many mashed potatoes, you will be plump and your parole officer will be a woman.

No, it means "Manly deeds, womanly words," which is about as sexist as it can be. State Senator Bryan Simonaire (R, Anne Arundel) has submitted a bill to change the slogan to "strong deeds, gentle words." Sen. Simonaire says, "There's one thought that basically is very disparaging and I think is sexist toward women, which basically says men do work and women just talk about it."

Maryland's Governor, Larry Hogan (R) says, "It's really kind of silly, and we're not focused on any of that. We're kind of busy with the budget and our legislative package here and there's going to be 2,500 different pieces of legislation about changing mottos and songs and maybe the state bird and the state cat. I don't really care much about that."

Hogan said that while taking time from his practice of campaigning in other states in support of the presidential candidacy of Chris Christie (since suspended.)

But Sen. Simonaire says, "I think it is an important issue. It's not about political correctness; again it's about being correct and correcting what we have throughout the state and Maryland law."

Remember, to be politically correct is to avoid forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.

I don't think it's right, or fair, or smart, or kind to treat women as second-rate. And as long as we remember the deeds of men like Agnew, we should not brag about much at all.

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