Wednesday, June 2, 2021

The Hat, the Ring, and Me


Howard County Executive Calvin Ball has announced that he will run for re-election. I think this is a good  thing. You don’t have to, of course. But if you want to say hateful and nasty things this is not the place. There are plenty of homes for that on social media. I am not obliged to host that kind of hog wallow.

It’s interesting to observe that very few if any of the folks dragging Dr. Ball yesterday acknowledged the fact that he has been governing through a pandemic. How would you like to win an election and find your plans and goals sidelined by an enormous life-or-death situation? That’s what it means to be a true public servant, though. You must cope with what comes along. 

The fact that there is widespread ignoring of this in some circles aligns quite nicely with the overall “COVID isn’t a big deal/don’t cramp my style” attitude expressed ceaselessly over the past year. 

Also on display are the “Calvin Ball is a radical Black man” sort of comments which are wildly racist yet the people who write them claim that the County Executive is the racist one. Apparently if you are a Black person in public office who advocates for Black and Brown residents that makes you a racist radical Black man. Never mind that the County Executive has also advocated for Asian/AAPI residents, LGBTQ+ plus residents, publicly supports police and firefighters, healthcare workers, environmental causes - - even bees, for heavens sake - - merely being a Black man who speaks about race makes you dangerous and offensive to these people. 

Oh good grief.

Also of note is the fervent desire to draft Allen Kittleman to run against Dr. Ball. “Things were going fine under Kittleman.” This overlooks the fact that, if a majority of voters in Howard County agreed that things were fine, Ball could not have been elected. There seems to be a bit of selective memory going on here. I suspect what is meant is, “Things were fine for me.” 

I do not know if Mr. Kittleman is interested in running again. It would be interesting to see how the local Republican Party could shape a campaign which would basically be “I am a white man who will not make you uncomfortable.”

I must admit I am weary after a dramatic and contentious presidential election and the sorrow and stress of COVID-19. It’s hard for me to get excited about the next local election right now. I suspect I am not alone. But weariness can too quickly slide into apathy and apathy opens the door for those who desperately want an executive who governs for “people like us.” 

The continuity provided by Dr. Ball remaining in office will be good for the county as we emerge from the pandemic. Frankly I was thrilled to learn that he was not considering a run for Governor at this time because I think he is needed here. The job of County Executive is not an easy one and this particular term has been grueling. Despite all that I believe that Ball has given it his best and is poised to move forward in a new term on issues of concern to all residents, not merely a privileged few.

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