Don't ask, don't tell or you walk the road to hell

March 18, 2004|by TIM ROWLAND

As the legislative session begins to wind down in Annapolis, the action is becoming frantic and heated as matters of tremendous importance bubble to the surface like fiery volcanic gases from a steaming cauldron of Yellowstone lava.

And yes, I am speaking specifically of - but not limited to - Del. Chris Shank's bill that would allow boat trailers to have brakes. It was his first successful bill of the session, and I can only imagine it is the companion bill to the one he had the other year which, I am not kidding, made it legal for a firetruck to back up with its lights on.

The General Assembly has been doing some other important stuff, too, such as busily trying to find new and creative ways to stick it to gays and illegal immigrants.

Our delegation joined the forces that tried to ban gay marriage and, my favorite, tried to prevent undocumented immigrants from obtaining Maryland driver's licenses. (Curious. Don't we want them to leave? And if they can't drive, aren't they stuck here)?


Personally though, I'm tired of half-measures, and this is why I think our delegation ought to lead a charge that would, 1.) ban immigrant marriage and 2.) prevent gays from obtaining Maryland driver's licenses.

I mean, as far as effectiveness, wouldn't this be preferable?

Even the lowliest Guatemalan melon picker is not going to want to come to America if he is prohibited from finding love.

And it saddens me to tell you people that, no matter how many letters you write to the editor of The Herald-Mail, you are just not reaching the gays. No, even though you have told them a million times, in language so simple even a preschooler could understand, that they should not be gay, they refuse to change.

Obviously, more punitive measures are called for.

And what better recourse then to revoke homosexuals' driving privileges? That ought to get their attention. Now I don't want to be harsh about this - maybe on the first offense of being gay you just give them a warning. But if you're caught being gay twice, understand you're gonna be walking.

Hey, if we're willing to condemn these people to the fiery inferno for all eternity, what's a ticky tacky little thing like taking their licenses for a month or two until they straighten up, so to speak?

Unless (and I'm squinting suspiciously at you as I type this) unless you think that revoking their licenses would be - unfair. Oh, come on, you timid little weasels, you're not going soft on me, are you? If we want to correct this behavior, we've got to show 'em we mean business.

It's for their own good. Some day they will thank us for protecting their interests, I really believe that.

And speaking of thanks, I owe some to a lot of people who have weighed in recently about their thoughts on legalized gambling proposals in Maryland and Pennsylvania, but by far the most intriguing came from a gentleman with the following idea:

Parking meters that pay out.

This is such a wonderful idea, I can't believe government hasn't thought of it. No, I take that back. If this were a terrible idea, government would have thought of it; wonderful ideas seldom break the surface.

Essentially, instead of a straight parking meter, you would have a sort of parking meter/slot machine hybrid. First, this solves the problem of people failing to feed the meter. And secondly, all of our state's troubled downtown urban cores would be instantly revitalized. People would jam the downtowns, solely for the privilege of parking. They would be fighting over parking spaces, simply to play the meter.

Hagerstown won't need a parking deck, it will need a parking skyscraper. Of course, a lot of slot machine players are typically bused in - so how you can play the meters without, technically, having anything to park, I haven't figured out yet.

Nor do I need to figure it out. Because if we have lawmakers who have the native genius to figure out in their own powerful brains that a boat trailer ought to legally be equipped with brakes - and pass a law saying so - well, what problem can't they solve?

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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