“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Those, of course, are some of the famous words from a sonnet by poet Emma Lazarus that graces the Statue of Liberty. If something unforeseen, such as sea-level rise, necessitates moving the landmark from New York Harbor one day, Maryland could be the perfect landing spot. Especially after Tuesday’s election.
Through two vote outcomes in particular, Maryland secured its reputation as a progressive state where many people of different backgrounds can coexist and even thrive. The two issues were same-sex marriage and the so-called Dream Act.
Maryland joined Maine as the first two states in the Union to approve marriage equality via a popular vote.
On the Dream Act, which will allow some children of undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at Maryland public institutions of higher learning, the state joins 11 others that have similar policies in place.
Maryland did stray from a straight progressive line, however, when it came to expanded gaming. Concerns about gambling addiction and preying on a vulnerable segment of the population who can least afford to lose their money took a back seat when voters approved a sixth casino for the state, to be built in Prince George’s County, and table games for all the facilities.
Whether a National Harbor site and table games brings in more money, particularly from Virginia gamblers, remains to be seen. At the very least, revenue-hungry casino owners are happy — they get to keep more of their proceeds in exchange for a competing casino as well as their desired table games.