You may be familiar with Sam Arora. He ran for the Maryland House of Delegates a few years ago as a progressive Netroots candidate, promising, among other things, to be a strong voice for the gay community, including supporting marriage equality. But something happened after Arora got elected and he changed his vote. With today’s marriage equality vote, expected as early as 11am Thursday, in the House of Delegates, Arora has a chance to turn back time and re-cast himself as a hero.
The lastest vote count shows that we have 70 votes in the state House, and need 71. Arora is a key, if not the key, vote. He hasn’t said what he’ll do. I’d argue that the smart thing politically, and obviously the right thing morally, is for Arora to return to his roots and support the full and equal civil rights of all of his constituents.
The moral argument is easy, and Arora already knows it, or he wouldn’t have supported our full civil rights when running for office in the first place. He knows many gays and lesbians personally, and he knows his vote will have a profound effect on the lives and families of friends and colleagues across the state of Maryland and beyond.
But let’s talk politics. I can think of little better for a young politician looking to his future in Maryland Democratic politics (what other politics is there in Maryland?) than to ingratiate himself to the Democratic governor and party, and to one of the most powerful and tenacious constituencies in the Democratic base, the gay community.
Sam Arora has been given a rare gift in politics – the chance to do it all over again and wipe the slate clean.
I’m sure there’s a lot of bad blood all around on this issue, and understandably so. But politics is the art of the possible. Some days you’re at each other’s throats, and the next you find a way to put aside your differences and move forward to everyone’s benefit.
Sam Arora has been given the opportunity to fulfill his promise to his constituents, his party, his friends and his governor, to put a year of strained relations behind him, and to quite literally be a hero.
Sam Arora has the chance to do something few politicians at his age, or any age, can do – make history with one vote.
The question is, will he?