By the time you read this, over your first or maybe second cup of morning coffee, I and my fellow commission members will be working the polls for our city's election. This is a civic responsibility that we took on willingly, and in some cases almost eagerly, to be sure that our city has fair and impartial elections.
The citizens of Taneytown will be choosing a mayor and two new members of the City Council. Our polls will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Anyone who is registered to vote in any county, state, or national election is considered to be registered for this election. It is important to note, however, that even if you live in the Taneytown zip code, you must live within the incorporated limits of the city to be eligible to vote.
With a four-way contest for mayor and three candidates for the two City Council posts, I am hoping for a turnout of well over the 20-plus percent that we had two years ago.
There is at least one other local race to be decided today, and others to follow in the next couple of weeks. I hope that those who have the opportunity will take advantage and cast your ballots. It is an old but true adage that government closest to the governed is the most important.
On the state level, what the death of House of Delegates speaker Michael Bush, and the election of Speaker Pro-Tem, Adrienne Jones, as his successor will mean to that body remains to be seen. The wheeling and dealing that led to her election to the post hearkens back to the days of the proverbial “smoke filled back room” where deals were made far from the light of day. Although she is well qualified, as were the other two candidates for the post, her election came as a bit of a surprise to most observers.
Nationally, it looks more and more, to me, that our president is attempting to become Emperor Donald the First as opposed to being simply the president of the United States. His edicts and public statements on a wide variety of subjects, and his outright refusal to adhere to the constitutional requirements when it comes to the release of his personal tax records and other information is approaching dictatorial.
Trump has also threatened to claim executive privilege if other of his aides and cabinet members are called to testify. That is the epitome of arrogance, and maybe even paranoia on his part. Again, the questions remain, What does he want to hide? What is he afraid may come from such testimony?
Attorney General Barr is skirting very closely to being charged with contempt of Congress by refusing to testify, under oath, before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives. He is acting more and more like the personal attorney for the president than the attorney general of the United States. Why does he downplay the questions about the results of the Mueller report? I say, just answer the questions, release the report, and let the chips fall where they may. If wrongdoing occurred, let congress and the courts deal with it. If no grounds for further action are found, then lets get on with the business of governing.
There are myriad items that need to be addressed, and fairly quickly, if the country is to get back on the right track. One item seems to have been at least agreed to to some extent. That item is the much needed repair of our nation's infrastructure. Thankfully that was a bipartisan agreement.
One item of high importance is the health care reform question. That one is going to continue to be a difficult one since the Republican party faithful desire to completely do away with the Affordable Care Act but have offered no plan on how to replace it. The Democrats haven't put together a working plan yet either. So what do we do? Eliminating the ACA will put millions of people in the position of having no health insurance at all and those that may be able to afford private insurance will not be covered for pre-exisiting conditions like diabetes, cancer, asthma, among others.
Another item, and it's probably the overriding problem, is the immigration situation. Trump has espoused draconian measures to stop the influx of freedom seekers, while the Democrats resist but haven't yet come up with a workable plan themselves. Both sides need to get it together and find a reasonable, workable plan. Otherwise, chaos will continue to reign.
Remember, vote in your local elections. It's where your vote really does count.