The anti-tax rally was truly something to behold. Nearly 300+ people descended on Lawyers Mall to protest Governor O'Malley's tax proposals. There were two separate but related events. The first event held at noon, was not so much a rally, but a press conference by the folks from Smartgov.net. Mykel Harris did a great job of pulling together a coalition of disparate groups to oppose the tax increases.
One of the speakers, Richard Falknor of the Maryland Tax Payers Association was especially eloquent on the issues. I was also surprised to find out that Falknor was an aide to the legendary Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson. Jackson was an old school, liberal cold warrior. You know, what mainstream Democrats used to be. Falknor was kind enough to speak with me about his time working for Jackson.
The big MDGOP sponsored rally began at 4:00. Jim Pelura chairman of the MDGOP introduced the speakers, most of whom were elected Republican officials, David Brinkley, Tony O'Donnell, Andy Harris, Pat McDonough, Nancy Jacobs, Don Dywer, and Donna Stiffler among others. Delegate Mike Smigiel appropriately recited Article VI of the Maryland Declaration of Rights which bears repeating here:
That all persons invested with the Legislative or Executive powers of Government are the Trustees of the Public, and, as such, accountable for their conduct: Wherefore, whenever the ends of Government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the People may, and of right ought, to reform the old, or establish a new Government; the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
One guy at the rally looked like he was ready to act under Article VI. See pitchfork guy.
There were many funny and witty signs, see the pics I posted earlier. One of the best was:
"Maryland is Ruled by the MOB (Miller, O'Malley, Bush)
MDGOP Executive Director, John Flynn was kind enough to invite me to address the rally.
In the midst of my speech John Flynn noticed Mike Miller (aka The Neutered Bull) walking past the state house building. He exhorted to the crowd "There's Mike Miller, tell him what we want!" In what I can only describe as pure dumb luck I found myself with a microphone in my hands and 300 people behind me screaming "NO NEW TAXES" to Mike Miller.
The crowd was boisterous and angry. Prior to the rally I shared a beer with a few folks who came down from Middle River. They all owned businesses and were seriously contemplating moving to Delaware just to stay in business, let alone be competitive.
Not only Republicans were angry, many Democrats and Independents attended as well.
Even the Ron Paul supporters were there. One tried to give me a piece of Paul campaign literature. I declined and politely told her that no one can vote for Ron Paul because it is not expressly prescribed by the constitution.