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The 'despot's heel' still exists in Annapolis

If we ditch "Maryland, My Maryland" — an idea that's long overdue — what do we have to replace it? Baltimore musician Sean Tully has an idea.

"The despot’s heel is on our shore, Maryland, my Maryland."

There is an effort at place now in our General Assembly session to, at the very least, decertify our official state song (“Senators pass bill stripping ‘Maryland, My Maryland’ of ‘official’ status,” March 16).

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It is wrongheaded.

The despot’s heel is on our shore. It was on our shore when we wanted to oust King George III. It was on our shore when Abraham Lincoln tossed the mayor of Baltimore and many Maryland leaders in Fort McHenry's brig and threw away the key for the length of the Civil War (which was the inspiration for the lyric). And yes, my dear Blue Staters, the despot’s heel is currently on our shore when our very own attorney general is more obsessed with suing President Donald Trump than he is in upholding the law for average Marylanders (“Hogan v. Frosh,” Jan. 24).

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The reason this should be for now and forevermore my native state’s song is it perfectly illustrates what it is to be a Marylander. Ask H.L. Mencken or even comedian Lewis Black who grew up here in Maryland and they will tell you that Marylanders do not like despots and will rise up against them at every opportunity they possibly can. This song, however disdainfully viewed by our PC General Assembly, is Maryland through and through.

I, for one, am tired of erasing our history just because it makes someone feel bad. Etched in our National Archives are these words, as my father always reminded me: "The past is prologue." It most certainly is and all the monuments removed, flags banned and song lyrics erased from history or assigned to some dark room somewhere where no one will see them is unacceptable to me as a proud Marylander.

Another great protest song, "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," concludes with the lyrics, "When will we ever learn? When will we ever learn?" Well, citizens of Maryland, the answer is never as long as the true despot’s heel sits and legislates in our General Assembly.

Travis Medcalf, Frostburg

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