Friday, February 10, 2012

Rep. Andy Harris' Law Blocks Funds for a Harriett Tubman Park in Eastern Shore // Would Be Only Park In USA With Such a Ban

Several weeks ago, a Maryland Juice reader reported on exciting news that a bill by Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski would push forward a new National Park on the Eastern Shore to honor Harriett Tubman -- Maryland's most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad. Leave it to the Republicans to politicize slavery. today reports that Tea Party Rep. Andy Harris  (surprise, surprise) is undermining the project with interesting restrictions that no other National Park in the U.S.A. would have. Our original article on the project noted the following report from a reader:
Apolitical Juice #1: Did you hear about congressional committee approval this week for Harriet Tubman National Park?  Very cool. This was years in the making. The Maryland Park will be on the Eastern Shore, essentially in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge -- which is beyond stunning, in case you haven't been there.  This is a good thing given the following: Maryland's slave legacy, our past need for the National Guard to come in and suppress the white mob lynchings of blacks, the race riots when the Eastern Shore rejected integration, and the fact that we feel a statue Chief Justice Roger Taney (of Dred Scott v. Sandford fame) in front of the State House is okay because it's "balanced" with Thurgood Marshall in Lawyer's Mall.

Notably, Maryland Juice filed this story under "Apolitical Juice." Unfortunately for Maryland residents and Eastern Shore tourism, Rep. Andy Harris just couldn't help himself and so he made Harriett Tubman political (and is trying to talk out of both sides of his mouth):
Rep. Andy Harris introduced legislation Thursday to create a national park honoring abolitionist Harriet Tubman, but he's not proposing to give the project any federal money....

It would establish the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, N.Y....

"No other national park in the country is forbidden from using public funds," [Cardin spokesperson Sue] Walitsky said. "Sen. Cardin believes that Harriet Tubman's legacy should be honored in exactly the same way and with exactly the same kind of resources that are available for other national parks."

Amazingly, Mr. Harris is trying to claim we shouldn't spend money on this, because we need to watch our wallets. But then you remember that he also awarded his personal Congressional staff thousands of dollars in bonuses last year. Between this and the Ocean City Mayor's awesome extremist prayer breakfast, Maryland Juice is really beginning to wonder what is wrong with some of the Free State's elected officials? Honestly, I'm curious what happened to you to make you this way.

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