June 21, 2024
Annapolis, US 69 F

OPINION: Pittman’s $1000 Shot at Unity

“You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Abraham Lincoln

Recently, County Executive Steuart Pittman announced county employees would receive $1000 if they got a covid-19 vaccination. Those already vaccinated would receive it as well. Pittman claimed his $1000 covid-19 shot program would, “combat division.” He then criticized those who had disagreed with his lockdown, school closure, and re-opening  policies as, “fanning the flames of division.” Pittman ruled by executive order too long; apparently, he’s forgotten that disagreement with his policies is not “division”; it’s democracy.

Pittman poses as an uniter; but “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”  Actions speak louder than words. His divisive record speaks for itself. Pittman insisted on more extreme restrictions than Governor Hogan in every phase of our recovery. Following the divisive “science” of the teacher’s union, Pittman blocked re-opening public schools last year, while private schools followed CDC guidelines and re-opened safely and successfully. Over 80,000 public school students unnecessarily missed a year of class. In solidarity with his fellow Democratic County Executives, he divisively ordered a restaurant lockdown a judge labeled, “arbitrary and capricious.” After claiming he would “govern within the tax cap,” Pittman raised property taxes, income taxes, rain taxes, and trash fees. Now he’s pushing a new progressive income tax and new property sales tax increase as part of his “Covid-19 recovery program.”  Additionally, Pittman’s instituted divisive Critical Race Theory training programs, built on the notion that all whites are privileged, all others victims, and institutional racism is everywhere. Pittman’s actions haven’t promoted unity; they’ve fostered distrust and division.

Unity is built on a foundation of trust and respect. You cannot buy it. The CDC reversal on masking indoors, for those who are vaccinated, has damaged trust. The CDC’s decision not to recognize the protection natural immunity affords has damaged trust. Calling those with doubts or concerns about vaccination “stupid”, as President Biden has implied, fuels distrust, and Pittman’s taxpayer-funded bribes to promote vaccination will as well. It makes people suspicious of the motive behind the money. Why should a person be paid to get a vaccination that promotes their health and may save their life? Insults and bribes neither build trust nor promote unity.

Greater transparency in government, and more respect for the people it serves, will do more to promote unity than a $5.2 million taxpayer-funded vaccine bribe program for county employees.  Over a month ago, I emailed County Executive Pittman and requested him to add data on covid-19 breakthrough cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to our county covid-19 website. To date, he’s not responded. This data, coupled with data on children hospitalized because of Covid-19, would better inform personal and parental decisions on vaccinations, as well as the need for masking in school. Withholding medical data sows division. Sharing information builds trust, promotes unity, and costs nothing. By the same token, county governmental bodies like the school board must meet publicly and stop hand-picking who gets to speak; in a democracy, everyone should. We can’t get to unity by ignoring questions that must be answered, and you cannot lead if you do not listen.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. Our house has been divided by Pittman’s policies. Paying county employees $1000 to get vaccinated won’t create unity, any more than Pittman’s giving taxpayer-funded crackpipes to drug addicts encouraged them to stop using crack. Division cannot give birth to unity, and bribery cannot give birth to trust. For our house to stand united, we must have new leadership. Because it’s your money. Because it’s your government. Because it’s your freedom.

Herb McMillan is a Republican Candidate for County Executive. A Naval Academy graduate and Navy pilot, he represented Annapolis 12 years in the House of Delegates. Reach him at www.herbmcmillan.com

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