Yesterday was a rather challenging day for reasons which I will not disclose here (not wanting to bore you, dear reader, with my trials and tribulations).
Before I delve into Dr. Calvin Ball’s double-plus-un-shocking announcement, allow me a moment to talk about Lisa Kim’s cheap and snide comments about “the character of the community” as posted in a Howard County Facebook group. Personally, I found her Trump-esque jeremiad against rental properties to be off-putting. I am not precisely certain why she chose to inveigh against those who aren’t seeking to purchase homes, which include many young adults as well as working class families, but the underlying tone is ugly. I hardly believe that rhetoric calling for the functional equivalent of a wall around Columbia is representative of Howard County values. She, in her capacity as a candidate for County Council, needs to explain her stance and, in probability, apologize. We in the Fightin’ Fourth deserve better.
Turning now to Dr. Ball’s launch of his campaign for County Executive, it was a rather subdued event. With hundreds of friends, family members, colleagues, acquaintances, hangers-on, politicos, neighbors, and others gathered in the grand room at Kahler Hall, I expected the energy level to be more pronounced. For those anticipating red meat, it was mostly pescatarian fare.
There were some individually solid lines and turns-of-phrases in his speech, including his thoughts on Howard County as a “beacon of love” and this being a “people’s campaign.” His reminder that we must think about, and advocate for, those among us who are struggling, those who have not yet secured their “slice of utopia” (to borrow a phrase he employed last night) was precisely what this lefty wanted to hear, and rightfully so.
Dr. Ball’s speaking style is mellow/cerebral. I wasn’t expecting a fist-pounding, rafter-shaking oration. That said, as someone who constantly scanned the room, I could not help but feel as though the assembled wanted to be stirred, charged, “fired up and ready to go,” if I must use that phrase, more than they were. I didn’t get a sense that people were ready to charge through a brick wall following his summation. Optimistic? Sure. Intellectually inspired? More likely than not. Emotionally energized? Time will tell.
One of the major applause lines centered on running a positive campaign. Consistent with the candidate, I can visualize a Ball-for-County Executive campaign adhering to the “Choose Civility” precept. That said, when the crunch time comes and Team Kittleman and their allies decide to start throwing elbows (and some already have), I hope that Team Ball’s orientation towards “the nice” won’t impede their ability to embrace “the tough.” In the fight for progressive values, sometimes it takes more than hugging it out.