Fulfill our responsibilities for the republic to survive

As citizens of the United States, we have certain responsibilities. The founders and those who followed established the Constitution and amendments to ensure that all citizens partake in the governing of the country.

The right to vote is fundamental to ensuring our government operates in a manner for all people. This is based on the understanding and acceptance of free and fair elections. There are measures to be taken when elections are questioned, but when those are answered, the acceptance of free and fair elections is our responsibility.

Through the years there have been, and still exist, attempts to suppress the right to vote, including gerrymandering, which should be addressed and corrected. Whether your ideology agrees or not, every vote counts. Our right to protest does not include violent insurrection. That is not the First Amendment. Our responsibility lies in ensuring voices are heard and that those voices hear a response.

Responsibility lies with all of us to enable change. Changes so that all citizens can live freely, enjoy the same liberties intended by the Constitution and amendments without fear of reprisal or endangerment. All citizens bear the responsibility for each other. We live in a republic that we all share — economically, socially, physically — and we all have to take care of each other in order to ensure its continued success. We are the public in republic. This means that we bear responsibility to vote in free and fair elections, we ensure our collective health through public health measures, we take care of our future through our public schools, we take care of our joint communities through public works and infrastructure.

These are our responsibilities. Let’s make sure we fulfill our responsibilities as citizens of the United States so we can all share in the same future together.

Michelle Dilks

Cumberland

Maryland state song should be replaced, not repealed

“Maryland, My Maryland” has been our state song since it was formally adopted in 1939. It, however, does have a pro-Confederate message and origin. As such the General Assembly wants to repeal it.

Yet should we completely abandon a song that brings about such pride from every Marylander when they hear it? No. Instead it needs to be replaced by the Pro-Union version that was written by Septimus Winner in 1862.

Maryland was after all a Union state, loyal to the Northern cause with 33,995 Marylanders joining the Union Army to fight for freedom of all Americans; nor can we forget the 2,982 Marylanders who made the ultimate sacrifice in our fight.

In the divisive strife that has taken place in our country, a knee-jerk reaction would not be the wisest decision. It takes away from the true history of Maryland. While there was a minority of Confederate sympathizers, Maryland was a majority pro-Union state, even voting for President Lincoln in the 1864 presidential election.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky’s state song is of course, “My Old Kentucky Home,” which itself had lyrics that had some racial insensitivities. As we know though, Kentucky proudly performs this during events like the Kentucky Derby. How? Well in 1986, the Kentucky Legislature passed a resolution to alter the words in order for it to be inclusive of all Kentuckians. It was that simple. Honoring Kentucky’s history yet appropriately changing the lyrics. Nothing is stopping Maryland from appropriately doing the same.

I appeal to you, the proud citizens of Maryland, for your opinion. As your delegate, I am your voice. Many pieces of legislation will be brought forth during the 2021 General Assembly session for consideration such as the repeal of the state of Maryland song.

Please email your thoughts to mike.mckay@house.state.md.us

Thank you.

Del. Mike McKay

Cumberland

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