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Western Maryland to become ghost town after residents head to wild and wonderful oblivion

April 10, 2013

Ever walk into a party and notice someone who was horribly underdressed? And you feel sorry for him — him and another guy you notice, who is also underdressed. Then you see another and another and finally it hits you: You are the only one in the room wearing a suit and tie.

Yes, you are the oddball. Not them.

There was an uneasy breeze wafting over our local legislative delegation this week as it started to come to grips with the unpleasant reality that Maryland is not made up of Washington County.

Washington County would never overturn the death penalty. Or legalize medical marijuana. Or ban guns.

Or make it easier to vote. Or build a bunch of stinkin’ windmills in the middle of the ocean. Or raise the gas tax. Or name communism the state religion — which I’m pretty sure they did, in a back room somewhere.

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So sudden and forceful was Maryland’s leftward lurch that lawmakers were speaking of it in geological terms, reflecting a shift in the earth’s tectonic plates. Senate President Mike Miller said that Maryland is no longer a southern state. Sen. Chris Shank said, “Ich bin ein West Virginian. Possibly ein Pennsylvanian.”

I’m cool with that, as I am with all the Western Marylanders on the Internet message boards who are promising a Baldwinesque evacuation across the border, not to Canada, but to West Virginia.

Just remember, I was the one who started the trend. I moved back to my home town for a little peace and quiet, and all of a sudden everyone is splashing across the river after me like the U.S. cavalry chasing a bandito across the Rio Grande. I mean, Alex Mooney is a West Virginian now. Like, who does he identify more with, Junior Sample or the Hager twins, Jim and John?

And to continue the Hee Haw analogy, WV must feel like Lulu Roman if she’s suddenly become the hottest ticket to the dance. “Hey Lulu, wanna be my friend? I treat ya real purty.”

Oh, I see how it is. You looked down your nose at us here in the Mountain State until this spring when you found yourself in the People’s Republic of Maryland, and suddenly our zoning-hating selves didn’t look so bad.

Because, say this about Maryland’s political climate: It’s worse than we thought. Del. Andy Serafini, bless his heart, was still keeping a stiff upper lip and repeating the mantra that the Maryland General Assembly is out of touch. Yes, out of touch — out of touch with Dargan. But the state as a whole? Not so much.

And you know who we have to blame for all this: Del. Neil Parrott. It was his petition drives that demanded Maryland as a whole to vote on the legislature’s pinko issues of gay marriage, immigrant education and anti-right gerrymandering.

And we all know what happened. Come to find out, the legislature was indeed out of touch with mainstream Marylanders: It was too conservative.

For liberals, it was like stepping on the scales and discovering you’re 10 pounds under your ideal weight.

So, buoyed by the popular vote, they loosened their belts this session and bellied up to the buffet.

But if I’m Parrott, I don’t stop now — not with NRA cash waiting in the wings. No, I’m on the phone with that madman who wants to arm school teachers (if teachers had guns when I was a student I wouldn’t be alive to write this today; take that any way you want) saying, Wayne, buddy, we here at MDPetitions are here to serve and I think we can get the machinery in gear for the bargain basement price of $10 million.

With that kind of cash flow, who cares if you’re out of touch?

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.

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