This has been an incredible weekend, with the protests at dozens of American airports in opposition to President Trump's Executive Order regarding travelers from certain majority- Muslim countries, and locally, the "action" sponsored by PATH in support of CB9, the sanctuary county bill, attracted a couple thousand people, far overflowing the room at Wilde Lake Interfaith Center and nearly spilling out into the Village Center itself. In all, these past couple weeks-- week and a half?-- have been incredible ones in terms of seeing people go to the streets, and engage in mass protests in opposition to certain policies, events, and people. This expression of our First Amendment rights has been most impressive, be it the Trump inaugural, the Women's Marches, the March for Life, and now, the airport protests. People are taking to the streets like I have rarely experienced in my lifetime.
But what will come of all this action? After all, I well recall the "Occupy" movement, that was supposed to become the left-leaning counterpart to the Tea Party movement. I wasn't very optimistic as to the long-term prospects of Occupy and turns out that for good reason. And can people find something to protest about every weekend? Peoples' energy has to run out at some point, right?
My thought is that to keep people active and involved, you have to follow the so-called "SMART" principles. An action as to be Specific. It has to be a Measurable (or Manageable) level of action. It has to be Actual-- a real request, not a "we'll get back to you" thing. It was to be a Reasonable action, and it has to be Timely (or Time-Limited). Tonight, the PATH folks asked people to write an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org email address for all five members of the Howard County Council. Given that the vote on this legislation is next Monday, I'd say that this request meets all five criteria. We'll see what comes out of it.
On the national level-- this Administration is only nine days old, yet has stirred up so much action against it. How long can either thing be sustained-- either the people-based opposition to the actions, or the actions themselves? How much longer before the opposition and concern and distrust about this Administration's actions and motives change color, from blue, to purple, to containing streaks of red? But I could write about the state of national affairs without end, and sadly, also, without much focus. Because there is just so much. Allow me instead to focus my remaining comments on the local. Kind of.
And that is to say this. Where we are going in the CB9 discussion is on the path (no pun intended) of creating an early litmus test for this national Administration's authority. Maryland may vote blue on the federal level, but in state and local elections, the red trend that happened during the Obama years was present in Maryland as well. That's why we have a Republican Governor and a Republican County Executive. If CB9 passes, especially by a veto-proof, 4-1 majority, that will send a very clear statement that despite Maryland and Howard County's redness, that it is the people of Howard County that truly hold the power. And that power has been exercised to show intolerance to this Administration's intolerance. It would be a stinging rebuke, delivered from about twenty-five miles from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. And delivered from a community that is kinda purple, if not, streaked with red.
And-- come to think of it-- didn't Howard County go through this last year? Didn't we just reject an out of touch Board of Education that lost sight of its mission to serve the people? We did. So we as Howard Countians have this experience. Will Howard County exercise it's will in favor of sending a message nationwide about what it thinks of the federal threats to sanctuary jurisdiction legislation?
We'll find out in eight days. But right now, my belief is that the power ultimately rests with the people.
Let's be careful out there.
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