Letters to the editor

November 30, 1999

Wash tobacco from Maryland's record

To the editor:

Were it not for Watergate, Nixon would go down in history as a respected president.

Up to now, Maryland's Lord Baltimore's reputation was untarnished, The Calverts made Maryland a model for the nation. Lord Baltimore, a Catholic, established tolerance for all religions in his colony. This certainly influenced the separation of state and religion provisions.

The port of Baltimore was a vital part in the formation of the nation. It was Maryland's selection for the site of the capital. But now it must be exposed that all this was financed by the suffering and even death of millions. It was Maryland's major product, tobacco, that enticed innocent people to purchase this insidious weed. The revenue from this paid the colony's bills and made the Calverts rich. Not only the colonists were misled, but exported tobacco spread from England to the rest of the world. We are told that over 400,000 people die from the effects of tobacco every year.


Multiply this by the world's consumption for 300 years and it exceeds all the deaths in all our wars. Lord Baltimore was not innocent. He was aware that King George himself labeled tobacco as a "vile and obnoxious weed." Defenders of Calvert's reputation might point out that Ben Franklin and most of the founding fathers smoked and that Churchill and Roosevelt were smokers. (Hitler and Mussolini were non-smokers) Generals Montgomery and MacArthur were seldom seen without their pipes, but that is no excuse. Our courts have ruled that the individual is not responsible for being enticed to smoke. The same standard must apply to Lord Baltimore.

Even the fact that smokers Bing Crosby and Sinatra were still singing well into their 70s cannot expunge his blame.

One might argue that when soldiers in World War II were given cigarette rations and often asked for one as they dying request, it would soften the criticism of Baltimore. Not so. These things are insignificant compared to the discomfort of diners exposed to secondhand smoke.

Legislators in Annapolis are duty bound to not only eradicate all smoking in Maryland but should remove all references to the Calverts. This would include such things as statues, coats of arms, building names and stationery monograms. The current Maryland flag should also be changed. Perhaps a chicken on a field of yellow would be appropriate.

Finally, the state should instigate a class-action suit against the American Indian. Their casinos can well afford partial retributions for their part in misleading the public. The courts then would have grounds to exonerate Lord Baltimore by declaring that it was the Indian who sold the colonists on the idea that the peace pipe and tobacco smoke were symbols of trust and fidelity and therefore good for mankind.

Frank Burkett


Apologize to Parson-McBean

To the editor:

To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven ?a time to rend and a time to sew, a time to keep silence and a time to speak. Read this in Ecclesiastics 3. I am referring to all the unkind, harsh, critical words being spoken about Alesia Parson-McBean.

She did no wrong. She made a mistake. Haven't we all? Why is she being judged so harshly by so many? The fact that Alesia hasn't replied is a plus for her. We can depend on her to come through.

Let us think back about all that Alesia did for her community before running for a political office. I for one feel she is not the first one who was helped by taxpayers' money.

What she did or what the police did was not wrong. She made a honest mistake. The policeman saw she needed help and gave it to her. How wonderful.

If we desire to point a finger, where do we begin? Can we honestly say we have never done the same thing?

Have we ever taken anything home from our workplace that we did not pay for, such as pencils, pens or copier paper? Can we say no one from Washington County government has ever used a government vehicle for personal use? Have our county commissioners, board of education, health department, Washington County Landfill, department of building permits, highway department or all others been on board with all they've done?

What about money spent arguing over where the new hospital will be? How many lunches and conventions have been paid for with taxpayers' money?

What a terrible injustice has been done to Alesia Parson-McBean, who has given her money, time and heart to show she cares and has done so many kind deeds.

What is it the people want who have said their piece in Mail Call? What can we do to help you see that what the cop did was a kind deed?

I will close with a memo of Theodore Roosevelt:

"Without the habit or orderly obedience to the law, without the stern enforcement of the laws at the expense of those who defiantly resist them, there can be no possible progress, moral or material, in civilization.

"There can be no weakening of the law-abiding spirit at home if we are permanently to succeed and just as little can we afford to show weakness abroad."

Thank you, Alesia, for all you have done to make Washington County, and especially Hagerstown, a better place to live.

For the many who called Mail Call about Alesia complaining about her please call and leave your apology.

Keep smiling, Alesia.

Lorraine V. Grosh

Clear Spring

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