Yesterday was an exciting day for conservative-leaning Marylanders. Governor O’Malley had officially vacated the Governor’s Mansion.

During his eight-year reign, O’Malley managed to lose Berretta, the world’s oldest arms manufacturer (circa 1500’s) not to mention 6,500 small firms that left the Free State during his tenure. In 2014, our deepest blue state came to its senses and elected genuine life experience (over environmental fanaticism) in form of Larry Hogan, a businessman who actually knows the difference between red and black.

Our girls were especially excited, flipping through online photos of Hogan, his wife and three daughters moving in. Our new first lady, Yumi, no doubt helped win minority votes and offered a Cinderella-like narrative to soften Hogan’s silver spoon image.
Yumi was born in a tiny countryside village in South Korea, later making her way to America via her then Korean husband. The two later divorced and Yumi became a single mom to three girls (God bless her), as well as a creative talent who rose to teach art at the prestigious MICA in Baltimore. When Hogan, a near-60 bachelor randomly strolled into the gallery featuring her abstract landscapes, the art is not what caught his eye or interest. Yumi’s lovely and a welcome change (at least for me) from our former first lady, a highly-polished liberal attorney who’s own father was Attorney General of Maryland.
Later over dinner, the girls, 11 and 8, asked if Hogan is a Republican. "Yes" I replied, "Which is why the election outcome was such a surprise and a relief".
"Is he a donkey or elephant?" asked the eight-year-old.
"Elephant"
"Are there any other animals we can vote for?" she queried.
"Uh, yeah, I think, a porcupine…"
"What are those people called?" asked the five-year-old boy.
"Libertarians"
"What do they believe?" the children asked.
"Just what the name sounds like, liberties above all else…and only defensive use of our military" (I realize I may have gotten this wrong, or at the very least oversimplified the definition but the kids put me on the spot and that was the best I could come up with).
The eight-year-old chimed in, "Well, I’ve never heard of ‘Um. Maybe if they had a better mascot, they’d be more popular…"
"Well, sweetie, that party is still very young, about as old as Daddy…I think they aren’t as popular because they haven’t been around as long…"
But the kids were convinced that the problem with Libertarians is not their beliefs, but their mascot. Dinner got really amusing at this point, the four kids voicing opinions (shouting) why porcupines make terrible mascots…
"Porcupines are slow"…"Porcupines aren’t very tough"…"They’re too small!"… and, "They’re not very strong."
I had to agree. All those things are true. I tried to explain the reasoning behind the porcupine as mascot, but the kids protested.
"They should change the mascot to a honey badger!" said the eleven-year-old.
"But the honey badger is aggressive. That’s the whole point. The porcupine minds his own business unless another animal tries to eat him."
"How about a hippo?" asked the two-year-old.
"No, a lion…with a machine gun!" countered the five year old.
"A lobster!"
"A vampire bat!"
That went on for five minutes or longer. The children wholeheartedly agreed that the porcupine makes a terrible mascot. Made me wonder if perhaps they were on to something. Is the mascot that important?
If the honey badger isn’t really suitable for Libertarians, then maybe the Republican Party should upgrade the tired elephant with the scrappy honey badger since our elected federal officials have been just short of docile sheep. Could an assertive mascot reinvigorate the Republican party?
The Democrats are donkeys and the Republicans are elephants for no good reason other than a German-born cartoonist depicting them as such during Andrew Jackson’s campaign days. The cartoons were so popular that the animal mascots stuck. So, perhaps both parties should reconsider the animal representing them.
At least the lowly porcupine exhibits the attempted symbolism. A prudent representation of the Libertarian movement and decidedly not ferocious…but effective? Perhaps. The young team of Anaheim managed to win the Stanley Cup without a fearsome mascot….
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