Recently, I visited my neighbor…a long-time Howard County resident, the aforementioned Z. Clement Folderol.
As we sat on his porch, imbibing what was assuredly Crystal Light (“Because I believe in me!"), he mentioned that he had never seen such strife in the land of milk and honey, not since the introduction and debate over CB9-2017.
“Wait,” I said, “you were present for the Coolidge inauguration, you are saying that we are more divided, as a society, compared to then?”
“Absolutely. Why did they call him Silent Cal? It was mum’s the word. Total peace and quiet.”
“That was only a few decades removed from the Civil War…and Maryland was a state where owning human beings was permissible. Not to mention racial segregation and Jim Crow laws which were very much enforced in this state through much of the 60s.”
“Eh,” he waved his hand dismissively, “well that all worked out, didn’t it?”
“Well, to an extent, because people fought for their basic human rights…and it wasn’t exactly a picnic Clem, you should know, you were there.”
“Who can remember, after The Big One, we were just trying to settle down and raise families.”
“Those of you who were able to buy homes around here, sure, but de facto segregation persisted for many years after LBJ left office.”
He took a long sip. “Maybe so…but Howard County has always been a haven for tolerance.”
“Has it been? Have you attended any of the recent Council meetings? Do you have a Facebook account? There is some dire ugliness being said about some of our neighbors.”
“Oh you mean the illegals?”
“Read between the lines Mr. Folderol. There are racial undertones not too far removed from the surface…being uttered by folks right here in HoCo. It’s not “legal versus illegal,”…it’s clearly an “us vs. them” debate designed to amp up the fear quotient. The anti-CB9 folks aren’t appealing to reason…what does that say to you?”
He squinted off in the direction of the sunset. It being a cloudy night, there was no reason for the squint, but it matched his slow shrug. “Well,” he said, “people are afraid.”
“Afraid of what though? Have you read the bill? Do you think it will actually lead to a crime wave in Howard County? Isn’t the opposition just appealing to the worst instincts of some of us? Haven’t we seen this debate before, just in another form?”
“You ask a lot of questions. It disrupts the quiet of the evening.”
“What progress is made without disruption?”
Stay tuned, as more will follow.