Politician-free zone needed at area schools

October 31, 2006|by TIM ROWLAND


Local politics heated up last week as Republican challenger Paul Muldowney showed up at Pangborn Elementary School to criticize Del. John Donoghue's alleged lack of support for school construction funds.

With the election just a week away, Muldowney's press conference raises some serious policy questions, including: Did he sign in at the school? Did he get a badge?

It seems he did not.

With school security much in the news over the past month, this startling development is one that cannot be overlooked.

Recently, The Herald-Mail sent reporters on a mission to Tri-State schools to see if they could enter the buildings unaccosted. Indeed, they were able to walk the halls freely, which prompted the schools to enact security matters, including sign-up sheets and badges for visitors.


But it is one thing for a journalist to wander the school grounds. In fact, journalists are a lot like high school students anyway, although not as well-dressed. About the worst that could happen hanging around journalists is that the students might start spending six hours every day in committee meetings, arguing over whether it's better to say "over 50 people" as opposed to "more than 50 people."

The future of society as we know it depends on matters such as these, and I assure you that we journalists are mad on the case.

As a journalist, I am also concerned about other matters, such as whether I will be disemboweled this morning by four lovely and nattily dressed female reporters who might take offense at the above commentary on journalist apparel. To that end, I wish to amend the statement and say it applies strictly to male journalists. No sense getting the tar beaten out of me every day.

The third concern I have as a journalist is that I have no idea how I got here, when I started out writing about politics. I didn't mean for the ship to get this far off course, but perhaps there is still time to find the Azores.

My point is that the schools' new security measures must not be working very well if any ole politician can walk onto the grounds without being cuffed and stuffed into a paddy wagon.

Don't they have those warning signs: School zone, fines tripled for politicians within 1,000 feet. I mean me, I'll chance the crack dealer, but no way do I want my child exposed to the electoral process.

There is no poorer role model than Congress. Kickbacks, bribes, e-mail sex, money laundering, fraud, lying, bloated contracts, favor selling - and that's just the cafeteria staff. By the time you get up to the officeholders themselves, things really start to get ugly.

I thought for a while they were being clever. It was just an ingenious way to alleviate our overcrowded prisons. Elect all the felons, lechers and goons to public office.

But then they kicked out Mark Foley, so that can't be it. It made no sense. It was like Abbott kicking out Costello.

Unfortunately, there are still some good people in office, but we're working on that. And it is to the voters' credit, I think. The age of government dependency will not end until the public sees that there is not one single solitary person in any office on whom they can depend. Only then will they throw up their hands and say, "Oh well, might as well do it myself, 'cause help ain't coming."

It looks as if voters will respond to the leadership crisis by kicking out Republicans and electing Democrats. That'll work. Like, does no one remember the '70s? The reality is, it just doesn't matter.

The Founding Fathers didn't want a strong government, and boy did they get it. In fact, I suspect a conspiracy.

Ben Franklin: "J-Mad, we need a way to make sure that we are remembered by history as the smartest dudes ever."

James Madison: "No worries, dog, we'll just set up a system that guarantees everyone who comes along after us will be fools."

Sure the founders look smart if the only yardstick we have to hold them up against is Dennis Hastert.

Architects of democracy, my ear. Jerks. It was all about them, wasn't it? If the framers had really cared about the well-being of future generations, they would have written in the Bill of Rights, "Congress shall make no law." And left it right there.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at You can listen to his podcast, The Rowland Rant, at

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