The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A frustrating dilemma

While the issues and candidates I'm discussing in this post are local, the basic nature of the dilemma I'm discussing are not. So I apologize to people in other parts of the country, and even outside, to whom these issues do not mean anything. But it is a serious dilemma, which I need to vent about.

Part 1.

Since the mid-1970s, I have been living in the metropolitan area of Washington, D. C. And since 1984, I have lived in the State of Maryland, specifically Montgomery County, directly north of Washington, D. C. Now if you don't know, Maryland is a rather strongly Democratic state, and most of the time I've been here, the Governor has been a Democrat. However, from 2003 to 2007, we had a Republican Governor, Bob Ehrlich. He gave up a seat in Congress to run for the Governorship, and beat a member of the Kennedy family, in fact, the daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, which shows you how popular he was. And I think he was, in general, a good Governor. (But see below.) However, in 2006, the state reverted to its normal Democratic allegiance, and though Ehrlich was favorably viewed by a large proportion of Marylanders, he was defeated in his attempt at re-election by the then Mayor of Baltimore, Martin O'Malley.

It should not surprise anyone, knowing me from this blog, that I say that O'Malley has been a much worse Governor than Ehrlich, and I will certainly oppose his attempt to be re-elected this November. And it will be very likely that his opponent will be Bob Ehrlich again. (This is not certain. Ehrlich still has to win his primary. And the likes of Sarah Palin have come out against him in the primary campaign. But the opponent that Palin has endorsed is virtually unknown, and Ehrlich still has a lot of popular support, so I believe that Ehrlich will easily win the nomination.) So I fully expect to be a strong supporter of Bob Ehrlich for Governor against Martin O'Malley.

Part 2.

Now to another point, at first unrelated, but as I proceed you will see what the connection is. Shortly after moving to Maryland I became aware of a movement to establish a light rail transit line which would (at first) run from Silver Spring (right near where I then lived) to Bethesda. (The plan has been vastly extended, and now they are talking about a line, now called the Purple Line, from New Carrollton to Bethesda, passing through Silver Spring, three or more times as long as the original plan.) I immediately became a strong enthusiast for this proposal, and have remained so even though I no longer live that close to the proposed route. But it has taken 25 years, and the line is still only a proposal. There is strong support for it, but opposition comes from two sources: a golf course whose property the line would traverse, and a few property owners who apparently do not want anyone that they consider riff-raff passing so close to their property.

Part 3.

Now here comes the dilemma: Martin O'Malley, as bad as he has been on every other issue that matters to me, has been a supporter of the Purple Line. And Bob Ehrlich, for all I like about him on other issues, opposes it — he worked against it as Governor, and he has made negative statements about it this year. (One reason seems to be that he likes to play golf, so the golf course has a strong call on him.) Just yesterday, at a meeting of the organization that has been pushing the Purple Line and its predecessor plans for the past 25 years, I mentioned I intended to vote for Ehrlich in the primary and general election, if I get the chance. And the (perfectly reasonable) response was "Even with his position on the Purple Line?" I had to say that I am not a one-issue voter, and on many other issues (just about everything except the Purple Line) I find Ehrlich vastly preferable to O'Malley. And at least one bystander understood, and said something like "You always have to make compromises."


But this is the problem. How do you work for a candidate you believe in, and for a cause you believe in, simultaneously, when the candidate is so opposed to the cause? Comments are very welcome.

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