There is a meme going around social media that depicts the launch of the naval vessel Horst Wessel at the Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany in 1936. In the photo, the shipyard workers are all giving the Nazi salute with one notable exception: August Landmesser. The photo captures Mr. Landmesser standing with his arms crossed. The meme encircles Landmesser and contains the caption: Be this guy.
In choosing to remove the statue of Roger Brooke Taney from the State House grounds (“Hogan calls for Taney statue at Maryland State House to be removed,” Aug. 15), Gov. Larry Hogan chose to be “that guy.” He chose to follow his conscience when much of the Republican Party has chosen to embrace the path of President Donald Trump or to remain silent. He should be applauded for his decision. Landmesser’s story did not have a rosy ending — being “that guy” had consequences. By all accounts, he ended up a political prisoner and was never seen again.
Governor Hogan may also feel the implications of his choice. There has been chatter on social media that certain elements of his party may sit out the next election. Let’s hope they don’t. In his handling of this issue, Mr. Hogan has demonstrated more than his willingness to be “that guy,” he has proven that he is an adult in a political arena that too often lacks maturity. He has demonstrated a willingness to allow his position to evolve, without worrying about the “flip-flop” label. He is willing to address the weaknesses of his side of the aisle and recognize the good initiatives that come from the other. He recognizes the value of “middle temperament,” because nobody can get everything they want.
The cure to dysfunctional politics is to elect more people like Larry Hogan. The governor’s style probably makes him enemies on both the far left and the far right, but it is just what Maryland needs.
Scott Gibson, Annapolis
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