Wednesday, November 7, 2012

MARYLAND MAKES HISTORY/TAKE YOUR CAMPAIGN SIGNS DOWN

Barack Obama Speaks After long, bitter, painful campaign season, it's time to take a deep breath and get on with our lives. As a gay person of color, last night meant a lot to me, and I'm both relieved and excited about the direction our state and our country is moving in.

I couldn't be happier with the results: last night, Maryland made history and became one of the first states in the nation where voters approved same-sex marriage at the polls. We gave our hard-working, undocumented youth the right to an affordable public education. We also re-elected President Barack Obama, pictured here as a fresh-faced senator in 2006 when I saw him speak in College Park to a crowd of maybe 50 people.

Of course, voters also approved a horrifically gerrymandered congressional map that inexplicably places Silver Spring, Annapolis and Towson in the same district, but we can fix that nonsense in due time. Besides, voters in Damascus, the last dry town in Montgomery County, finally approved alcohol sales there 78 years after Prohibition ended. (No word yet on whether Jimmie Cone, "the closest you could get to having a local pub" in Damascus, will get a liquor license.)

You can check out the full election results, including congressional & school board races, at the Washington Post's website or the Maryland Board of Elections' website.

Now that the election's over, here comes the important part: TAKE YOUR CAMPAIGN SIGNS DOWN. Don't let your enthusiasm over winning (or bitterness over losing) get the best of you.

The same goes for campaigns who littered our streets and highways with signs. According to this handy guide, political signs on private or public property in Montgomery County must be removed after 30 days. Meanwhile, signs next to state roads must be removed within 15 days of an election. Signs in the right-of-way of state roads - for instance, between the sidewalk and the curb or in the median - are prohibited entirely, and the State Highway Administration has already been throwing them out.

These laws aren't strictly enforced, but following them keeps our streets clean and allows all of us to forget that this long, unpleasant campaign ever happened. So please, get rid of your signs. I've already done my part, picking up some signs I found near my house.

I'm particularly pleased that they're anti-marriage equality signs in Spanish. Groups like National Organization for Marriage thought they could drive blacks, Latinos and gays apart, and they failed. It goes to show that divisive politics just don't work.

That is, unless you're the Peterson Companies (the folks who brought you Downtown Silver Spring), who funded an organization that opposed both marriage equality and the Dream Act so they could get a casino at National Harbor. Peterson will get his casino, but thankfully he couldn't manage to through Maryland's gays and immigrants under the bus to do it.

7 comments:

Gary said...

I hate the gerrymander (and voted against it) but getting rid of Roscoe Bartlett goes a long way in making me feel better.

jag2923 said...

Great night, indeed!

Robert said...

You are right about the horrible Gerrymander, but your statement that "Of course, voters also approved a horrifically gerrymandered congressional map that inexplicably places Silver Spring, Annapolis and Towson in the same district...." is only partly correct. Much of Silver Spring is in Van Hollen's district.

dan reed! said...

@Robert

Way to nitpick! My house in Silver Spring was moved from District 4 to District 3, which also includes Annapolis and Towson.

D said...

The Petersen thing is a bit weird. There was also a group called "Forward Maryland" that wore shirts looking like they were from the Obama campaign, but just with the word "Forward" and asked people to vote yes on all 7 questions, but it was clearly a pro-7 organization trying to make it seem like they were all on the Democratic ticket. http://www.marylandjuice.com/2012/11/new-democratic-aligned-group-urges-vote.html

I wonder if the same group of people created one organization to make 7 seem like it is a widely accepted Democratic position (paired with pro 4-6) and another to make it seem like 7 is a widely accept Republican position (paired with anti 4-6).

Stuart said...

If the redistricting question had shown a picture of the map and asked more directly "does this make sense?", then it might have gone a different way.

Unknown said...

woody brosnan wrote,

About the signs. The cardboard signs can just be added to your newspaper recycling. The plastic signs can be recycled with your other plastic bags at grocery stores. The corrugated plastic signs can't be recycled.

Unfortunately, the county won't take the wire stands with your regular recycling. You can take the to the transfer station. Or keep the stands for your next yard sale or as plant supports.