Won't you be my neighbor?

Having grown up here, I never gave it much thought as to who was from here and who moved here. We all just seemed to get along, and while some of the new people seemed to have strange accents and customs, that was all right with me.

At times, some would distinguish themselves by pointing out what rubes we were, but these people generally only lasted for five years before they moved on and were referred to by us with contempt as “chicken neckers.” They complained about the chicken houses, watermen, hunters and the loudness of geese. They were easily distinguishable by their pronunciation of “Tall-but” as “Towel-bot.” They never quite got that when we were talking about “row vs. wade,” we were talking about how we were going to set our decoys.

I suppose we did seem backward to them, many of whom had wine with dinner, didn’t eat sliced bread and put little slashes through their sevens. The height of sophistication, really. I had to be reminded to not wear white socks with dark suits or say “at” at the end of a sentence. (Miss Leonard used to fine us $1 for this, and sometimes I do it now on purpose, just because it seems like a good deal.)

But, anyway, tolerance was built more on courtesy to others, and things seemed to move along OK. This is no longer the case as the politicians have taken up the siren of dividing us by race, gender, religion and sexual mores. Intolerance has become the norm as people are being taught to become “offended” by anything that strikes (or doesn’t) their fancy. We’re now assailed on all sides by those who are “offended.”

A resident of Tilghman wrote in to say that she was offended that the American flag was not at half-mast at the Tilghman Post Office when she was heading to the funeral of Rep. Elijah Cummings of Baltimore. This she attributed to the lack of respect for Congressman Cummings and racism on the Eastern Shore. How quick these people are to profile. The post office flag pole was broken, and the protocol for lowering flags for a congressman is the day he dies and the following day. Cummings’ funeral was a week after his death and should not have been at half-mast. She could have looked it up, but this would have gotten in the way of her predisposition to be “outraged.”

Recently, the county council was visited by a Mr. Herr of Catonsville, who pointed out to the council that the Confederate Boys statue was an endorsement by the county of “white supremacy.” “The people who fought for the Confederacy do not deserve to have their values exemplified and glorified,” he said. This, of course, differs from federal law, where soldiers from both sides are considered veterans. Mr. Herr was consoled by Councilman Pete Lesher, who said, “Not everyone appreciates you raising this issue, but I appreciate you raising this issue.”

Mr. Lesher, a former Easton councilman, apparently didn’t pay attention to the last election results in the county when Dominic “Mickey” Terrone, an alleged amateur “historian,” ran on his insights as to why the “Talbot Boys” monument should be removed. Mr. Terrone ran a dismal last in the Democratic primary. Mickey, using his psychic-historical abilities, wrote that “It isn’t much of a reach to grasp that the Talbot Boys CSA believed in slavery, racism and white supremacy.”

Actually, at the onset of the war, feelings were running against the Union because of their heavy-handedness. Union troops seized Talbot’s armory, the editor of the Star (forerunner of The Star Democrat) was arrested and had a federal warrant issued against him before fleeing to Richmond, and Judge Carmichael was hauled out of the courthouse, pistol-whipped and arrested by federal troops. His sin was that he was a believer in states rights over federal supremacy. All these actions tended to galvanize Talbot youth against the federal government. What many of the newly offended fail to realize is that looking back at history provides vital guides to the future.

Then there was a garbled column from Mr. Len Foxwell, who clearly doesn’t understand what “treason” means but seemed to be saying that Mr. Herr, as a Maryland resident, had as much right as anyone to comment on Talbot County events. This is curious only in that a couple months ago I did a cartoon showing the general rot and decay of Baltimore City. Mr. Foxwell took issue with this, telling me to “stay in my lane.” Meaning I was allowed to comment on the Eastern Shore but not Baltimore City. Odd how progressives can hold two competing views at the same time.

I guess that’s just the burden of minding everyone else’s business.

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