Fight over MD State song - final 2018 outcome - stalemate - no change.

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Fight over MD State song - final 2018 outcome - stalemate - no change.

Post by The Cracks » Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:54 pm

I thought I'd better transfer my "Maryland, My Maryland!" updates over to open forum as I don't want to keep pushing my song thread to the top of the heap with every new update.

The latest news is that my revised lyrics to the Maryland State song are now part of a bill to make them the official lyrics to the song.

Here is the back story:

The current state song of Maryland is called "Maryland, My Maryland". It was a poem written in 1861, at the beginning of the U. S. Civil War, by a Marylander named James Ryder Randall. When the South began seceding from the Union, the guy wrote a poem pleading for Maryland to join the revolt. (Maryland was a slave holding state that stayed in the Union during the war. We never did join the Confederacy.) The poem was put to the music of the Christmas classic "O Tannenbaum (O, Christmas Tree)" and quickly became popular in the South during the war. It became our state song in 1939, mainly because the General Assembly wanted to send a message to black people that white people were still in charge and because people liked the refrain "Maryland, my Maryland"

But these days many Marylanders find the song distasteful. The lyrics refer to President Lincoln as a tyrant and the North as "scum". Also, despite denials by some, the South was fighting for the right to hold slaves and that's not a very popular sentiment these days.

There have been many efforts to change the lyrics over the years and none have succeeded.

I attempted to have the lyrics changed in 2016 but my effort failed.

The long and short of it is that I wrote a revised version of our current pro-Confederate State Song that removes all the pro-Confederate stuff and adds a line honoring Maryland hero, Harriet Tubman. My delegate to the Maryland General Assembly put a bill in to make my version of the State Song the official one. I think the bill would have stayed under the radar enough to not get a lot of attention or pushback from opponents and then would have become law because the change to the song would have been so slight that only the most partisan politician would have voted against it.

But then the violence in Charlottesville, VA, happened. Now the State Song is a big issue in Maryland again. There is going to be a big battle over whether the song should be revised or replaced altogether. I think (and I've told my delegate) that the replacing the song with a new one is probably the best one is the best course of action since even my revision keeps some of the old original song. But my delegate is smart. He's keeping my bill in just in case everything falls apart in the General Assembly and they can't get the votes to scrap the song for a new one. He says they can fall back on my work which will be a big improvement from what we have now.

My delegate and his bill are mentioned in this Baltimore Sun article:

"Delegate Antonio Hayes said he would sponsor legislation to change the state song to honor Harriet Tubman, the Dorchester County native who freed dozens of enslaved people via the Underground Railroad."

That's my song he's talking about.

Below are two recordings of my revised version of "Maryland, My Maryland". The song is very short (one stanza), but that is inline with what the State is looking for (it's a long story - check out wikipedia for the full history).

Maryland, My Maryland (Formal)

Maryland, My Maryland (A cappella)
Last edited by The Cracks on Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:55 pm, edited 14 times in total.
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Re: "Maryland, My Maryland" (my version) is now in a bill in MD General Assembly.

Post by The Cracks » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:18 pm

My lyrics are now part of House Bill 608 (HB608). The summery of HB608 reads:

But this year, my revision of the song has been submitted as a bill to the Maryland General Assembly. It is called HB608 (House Bill), and it reads (in short summery):

Revising the State song to be the poem "Maryland, My Maryland!", written by Sean Tully in 2017 and derived from the poem "Maryland! My Maryland!", written by James Ryder Randall in 1861.

The lyrics are (my line is in italics):

Maryland, My Maryland

Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Maryland, my Maryland!
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Maryland, my Maryland!
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
May Tubman's name remain august,
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland, my Maryland!

I know it's short, but that's how Marylanders like it. They sing this one stanza (minus the Tubman line) every year at the Preakness.

Sorry if I missed any of the back story. It's a lot to retype. If you really want to read about the history of my attempts to change the song, you can go to the New Song forum thread for "Maryland, My Maryland!"

Thanks. I'll keep the updates coming. There are going to be a whole lot of them between now and April 10 when the General Assembly closes.
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Re: "Maryland, My Maryland" (my version) is now in a bill to become State song.

Post by The Cracks » Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:29 pm

HB608 (my bill) revises the current State song. HB508 is a bill to have a contest to pick a new State song. HB508 is like my Racer X of Speed Racer fame (ask Zoetrope).

The battle lines are drawn. The leader of the House doesn't want to rewrite the lyrics of the old song (like mine does). The more powerful leader of the Senate doesn't want to change the old song at all, but may be open to my revision (he told me that in a letter). And the Governor doesn't like either of the bills! I think the contest bill has only a very slim chance of passing both chambers and no chance of being signed by the Governor into law. My revision has a mere slim chance of passing both chambers and a slim chance of being signed by the Governor into law, I think. All in all, it's going to be an uphill battle for sure.
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Re: "Maryland, My Maryland" (my version) is now in a bill to become State song.

Post by Zoetrope » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:10 am

Well done. Improving the world through music. :)
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Re: "Maryland, My Maryland" (my version) is now in a bill to become State song.

Post by The Cracks » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:40 pm

Thanks Zoetrope. I appreciate it.

Here is a link to an op ed piece I wrote on the topic that appears in the Baltimore Sun newspaper:

Is Md.'s state song the next Confederate relic to go?


Per my agreement with the paper, I'm allowed to post a few paragraphs of it.

House Bill 608 would strip away all of the disgusting and offensive lyrics from the current state song (among them decrying the “Northern scum” and referring to Abraham Lincoln as a “despot”), keeping the third stanza, which most people would consider inoffensive. It is the stanza that is sung at the Preakness Stakes each year. The only difference is that the line "Remember Howard's warlike thrust" would be replaced with the line "May Tubman's name remain august" — a reference to abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

The revised state song would be more like a college pep rally fight song then the current dirge for the lost cause. And the new line about Harriet Tubman continues the tone and the rhyming scheme of the current "Maryland, My Maryland”; the change is seamless.
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Re: "Maryland, My Maryland" (my version) is now in a bill to become State song. Update 1/31/18

Post by The Cracks » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:08 pm

The hearing on my bill and the contest bill are scheduled for March 8th. I plan on testifying on both bills. I will sing my version of the song if they allow me to. I sang my version in 2016 and it went over well.

But the wild news today is that my State Senator submitted a competing State song bill yesterday (SB588). :nuts: That makes three bills to change revise our State song. This is what happens every time. Everybody tries to jump in and get their way and all the bills fail and we are stuck with the same old pro-Confederate State song. Amazing.

Anyway, the Delegate that is handling my bill is running for my Senator's seat this year, so she wanted to get into the State song game too. (I tried working with her on this bill but she flubbed it up very badly and just sat on it. My Delegate acted first.) But the bill she submitted is the same one that I helped kill in 2016 (see past threads on topic). So she's backing a turkey! I told her as much in an email and she called me. We talked and she said she was withdrawing her bill. We'll see. I asked her to put politics aside for the good of the State and sponsor HB608 (my bill) in the Senate. She said no. She hates my Delegate for running against her. I don't blame her for that. It was a ratty thing to do. They were always a team. He double-crossed her. But he has stood beside me so I support him. She bumbled my song bill and that's too bad. One way or the other, no matter what bill may pass, it's going to be a big and interesting story and free publicity for the politicians in the mix.

It's great fun! Nerve-wracking, but fun.
Last edited by The Cracks on Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: My song in bill to become MD State song. Update 02/01/18

Post by The Cracks » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:19 am

I emailed all the co-sponsors of SB588 (my Senator's bill) telling them that they are backing a turkey. My Senator's Chief of Staff emailed me with a cryptic message "as the Senator told you on the phone last night, she is cross referencing the correct bill".

So does that mean she is changing her bill SB588 to the same as the bill with my song in it (HB608)? Is she telling me that all the co-sponsors are going along with the change too? Is she telling me "screw you, we aren't using your song?" We'll see soon enough as the hearing on her bill has been scheduled for February 22, and I do intend on testifying.

The hearing on my Delegate's bill, which contains my song, is scheduled for March 8th. I intend to be there for that too.

This is what happens every time they try to revise or change the State song in Maryland. So many people with good intentions start bickering over the best way to change the song and in the end nothing every gets accomplished. It's like a bunch of cop cars rushing to a crime scene and crashing in the middle of an intersection. There are dead bodies of good people lying all around and the criminal skates away free and snickering. (That's good! I'll use that in my testimony. That's why keeping this journal here is good for me.)
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Re: My song in bill to become MD State song. Update 02/03/18

Post by surfercook » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:59 am

Good luck w/your "State Song Saga", Sean. So cool they are considering your efforts. You def deserve to have them adopt it.
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Re: My song in bill to become MD State song. Update 02/03/18

Post by Jim_Fogle » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:33 pm

Maybe someone should rewrite the lyrics to Edwin Starr's hit recording of WAR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpWmlRNfLck and replace the word "war" with politician.
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Re: My song in bill to become MD State song. Update 02/03/18

Post by Zoetrope » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:54 am

I think this is what they mean about seeing how the sausage is made. :)
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Re: My song in bill to become MD State song. Update 02/03/18

Post by The Cracks » Thu Feb 08, 2018 4:45 pm

Thanks for comments and support Marc, Jim, and Zoetrope.

"I think this is what they mean about seeing how the sausage is made." - Zoetrope

Yes...or worse. :tolietpaper:
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Re: My song in bills to become MD State song. Update 02/08/18

Post by The Cracks » Thu Feb 08, 2018 10:51 pm

My Senator has submitted bill SB1018, which would make my song the official State song! That means the same bill is in both chambers (cross referenced) and that is a must before a bill can become law. Yes! :metal: I still have a long way to go but so far my song bill is the only one that is in both chambers. While passing any of the State song bills is a long shot, right now my bill is the shortest long shot of them all - or something like that.
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Re: My song in bills to become MD State song. Update 02/08/18

Post by Jim_Fogle » Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:01 pm

Thanks for the update. Each update gets a little closer to the finish line so, who knows! Right now it looks like your song version is gaining momentum and in politics momentum is a good thing so looking good.
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Re: My song in bills to become MD State song. Update 02/08/18

Post by The Cracks » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:17 pm

Jim_Fogle wrote:
Fri Feb 09, 2018 1:01 pm
Right now it looks like your song version is gaining momentum and in politics momentum is a good thing so looking good.
Thanks Jim. Frankly, I think of all the options, mine has the best shot.

Here is a story in the Montgomery County Sentinel about the various State song bills in play. The story completely botches the discussion on my HB608 (and doesn't even mention my SB1018). The discussion on my bill appears at the end of the article and completely gets the facts about what the bill is about wrong. Montgomery County is where all the elected officials mentioned in the article who support having a song contest live, so the bias is obvious. While this isn't "fake news," you can see why people have such a low regard for our media these days. This story is lazy and inaccurate and I told them their errors. Did they fix it? No. :x
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Re: My song in bills to become MD State song. Update 02/09/18

Post by Jim_Fogle » Sat Feb 10, 2018 1:51 pm

Did they at least print your letter in the Letter To The Editor" section of the newspaper?
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Re: My song in bills to become MD State song. Update 02/17/18

Post by The Cracks » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:42 pm

Jim, it wasn't really a letter, just comments. But, no, they didn't print anything. But that was yesterday's news!

The Associated Press did a story on the State song issue that has been picked up by several news outlets so far, including:

ABC News.

This is a better story and more balanced. And, most important, and I'm learning this for the first time, a GOP Senator is open to the bill that includes my work! That's a first! The GOP has always been against any change to the song. (That's my delegate pictured with the story. I told him this would get picked up by the national news. I didn't know they'd use his picture. :rock: )

From the story:

"Hayes' bill in the House would revise the state song to be the poem "Maryland, My Maryland," written by Sean Tully last year and derived from Randall's poem. It removes language considered to be offensive and replaces the line "Remember Howard's warlike thrust," a reference to John Eager Howard who was a distinguished infantry officer in the Revolutionary War and a Maryland governor. The line would be replaced with: "May Tubman's name remain august," a reference to abolitionist Harriet Tubman, a Maryland native."
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Re: My song in bills to become MD State song. Update 02/17/18

Post by still_fiddlin » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:09 am

I am so impressed you've kept this going. I never miss an election, but the inner workings of the sausage factory sometimes make me think there must be a better way! Stay strong, keep the faith!
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