By Glynn Wilson –
WASHINGTON, D.C. – If you are an educated liberal, an urban progressive Democrat or just an independent American voter looking for candidates to make government work better in the U.S., you are probably severely disappointed at the outcome of the election on November 4, 2014, concerned about the next two years with conservative Republicans in charge of both houses of Congress and a weak and embattled president.
It is now obvious we might as well kiss goodbye for the next two years any national fight to reverse climate change due to global warming or opposition in Washington to the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Immigration reform? Forget about it.
A jobs bill? Are you kidding?
But the prospect of having Mitch McConnell of Kentucky as Senate Majority Leader may not be the weirdest thing to happen on Tuesday.
One of the richest Democratic Party strongholds in one of the richest and most liberal states in the country somehow managed to allow a Dixie loving religious nut and racist, sexist, evolution-denying Republican to win a seat on Maryland’s Anne Arundel County Council just northwest of Washington.
Michael Peroutka is depicted in the video above at a League of the South conference in Alabama back in 2012 leading the new Ku Klux Klan there in what he said was a rendition of the National Anthem. But instead of “The Star Spangled Banner,” Peroutka started picking and singing Dixie, a Civil War era song that backwards racist groups use as an anthem in their fantasy of taking the country back to the days when slavery was the law of the land.
As an attorney Peroutka should know better. But either he is a complete idiot or simply a George Wallace style political opportunist.
Peroutka touts himself as a founder of the Institute on the Constitution, an alleged educational outreach outfit going around trying to teach a so-called “biblical” view of American history, not unlike Ten Commandments Judge Roy Moore, who in recent years won back his spot as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in spite of being removed from that office by a federal judge after refusing to remove a granite carving of the Ten Commandments from the state Supreme Court building.
Peroutka ran for president in 2004 as the so-called Constitution Party’s ticket under the slogan, “God. Family. Republic.” Though he frequently spoke of family values as being at the center of his campaign and consistently attacked state funded programs for children, newspaper profiles of him revealed some aspects of his past that directly contradict the ideas he promotes.
Peroutka’s wife, Diane, has two daughters from a previous marriage, Dawn and Holly Hubbar. When they were 15 and 17, after Dawn accused Peroutka of sexual abuse, the couple abandoned them and turned them over to the state foster-care system, where the teenage girls became wards of the state. She later recanted the charge.
In February 2014, Peroutka saw a political opportunity and switched his voter registration from Constitution Party to Republican and filed to run for a seat on the Anne Arundel County Council as well as a seat on the county’s Republican Central Committee. Peroutka won the seat on the committee and is now an official representative of the Republican Party there. He also won the primary election for county council from District 5 on June 24, defeating a number of other Republican candidates, including the incumbent councilman, Republican Dick Ladd. He won by 38 votes over Maureen Carr-York to become the Republican nominee in the November 2014 primary election. In the general election, Peroutka garnered nearly 1,900 votes over his Democratic opponent and won with 53 percent of the vote.
One local news Website took on the story and asked: “How did a candidate who calls civil rights ‘make-believe,’ doesn’t believe the United States is a democracy, and says multiculturalism is bad for America succeed in a place like Anne Arundel County?”
The county’s population comprises more registered Democrats than Republicans, but Republicans sometimes do well there, somehow. The make-up of the county is racially and socio-economically diverse. But like many places across the country on election day this year, voter turnout was abysmally low. Just 23 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls in Maryland this year. Only 24 percent showed up to vote in Anne Arundel County.
So low voter turnout certainly played a role in Peroutka’s rise to power.
“There’s a very high degree of frustration with currently elected officials,” Anne Arundel County Councilman Dick Ladd told The American Prospect in reaction to the news. “Voters were looking for something new — without paying a great deal of attention to what that ‘new’ might be.”
After his League of the South membership and the Dixie video surfaced during the campaign, Peroutka announced that he had dropped his association with the group labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a neo-Confederate hate group. Although he was vague about his reasons and said he “didn’t have any problem with the organization.”
Members of the group cling to the notion that the South will rise again. Their secession fantasy is based on the opinion that the Northern states are so corrupt that the South must free itself from the grip of tyranny and oppression and become an independent entity. Despite the fact that it would be economically unviable, the group still envisions a separate Southern confederacy complete with no income taxes, property taxes or central banking system.
League of the South members embrace an interpretation of the Christian Bible that has the patriarch reigning supreme as the head of the household, and what they deem to be the natural and godly dominion by white European culture over the Southern states. They’re against marriage equality and of course anti-choice.
These proud “ethnocentrists” believe that having a “natural affection” to one’s own kind is both healthy and biblical. They shower adulation on George C. Wallace, the late Alabama governor infamous for his “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” inauguration speech. League of the South President Michael Hill has penned essays that profess the superiority of the white race and defend the enslavement of blacks as a biblical institution.
They say politics makes strange bedfellows. But watch this video to see one of the strangest people elected to office in the U.S. in decades.
The people of Maryland should be ashamed for not turning out to keep such a despicable character out of public office with his finger in the public till. Watch for Peroutka to be featured soon on national talk shows and make this part of Maryland a laughing stock.
© 2014, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.