Washington County Commissioners tune out residents in radio tower debate

April 10, 2008|By TIM ROWLAND

I would like to personally congratulate the Washington County Commissioners on their decision to close the citizenry out of a debate over a communication tower in South County.

Finally, a local government that gets it.

There is never going to be any progress in this county, state or nation until government makes a conscious decision to stop listening to its citizens.

The county, out of the goodness of its heart, held of public information meeting to provide details about the tower. And what did the commissioners get for this largesse? A heap of criticism because they, correctly, didn't allow the people to speak.

On behalf of the silent majority, I would like to apologize to the County Commissioners for this show of disrespect.

Look, the commissioners acted as governing bodies are supposed to act: They met, debated, came to a consensus and then crammed that consensus down our throats. Where in the world is there any error in judgment here?


We spout off too much about a government of "We the people." We the people this and we the people that. Well you know something? We the people are morons. We watch "American Idol" and eat bread that tastes like kindergarten paste -- you want someone like that having any say in emergency communications technology?

You should shut up and be happy that we have a county that will take these actions for us. You got a problem with them? Tell it to Mail Call.

We can't possibly have anything useful to add to this debate, nor should we. Let me ask you this: When the Founding Fathers were writing our Constitution, did they go into the boondocks and hold "public meetings" to get the opinions of a bunch of countrified rubes? Did they ask Cletus for his opinion on the Interstate Commerce Clause? No, because if they did, the Bill of Rights would have a provision prohibiting Congress from passing a law abridging the freedom to burn witches or to keep and bear fatback.

They were the most qualified to draw up a government and they knew it, just as our commissioners know they are the most qualified to destroy our scenic landscape.

We the people are like children. We know what we want, but we need adults in place to maintain discipline and tell us what is bloody well good for us. We may want to pet the "pretty skunk," just as we want a "pretty view," but it's up to government to teach us that what's pretty can be evil.

Sure the Potomac River looks pretty most of the time, but have you ever seen it at flood stage? It's not so pretty then, and we all will be glad that we have a Washington Monument-size communications tower to divert our gaze from the devastation.

But we never think that far ahead. We think that just because there are "solutions" or "viable alternatives," our opinions ought to be heard. Alternatives like what, the Park Service offering other suitable sites for towers that wouldn't be as obtrusive? Ha, I'd like to see that.

The day that government starts changing its mind and settling on workable comprises is the day that I no longer want to be an American. I want to be told what to do, no questions asked. Or answered. I am mildly disappointed they didn't build the tower first and THEN hold the public meeting, but then this is a relatively new board of commissioners. With time, they'll get the hang of it.

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

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