In Pennsylvania we have bucolic rural beauty and we also have the savage pipelines raping the land.
We are a Commonwealth of Contrasts; the juxtaposition between heaven and hell.
Remember images like this when you go to vote.
In Pennsylvania we have bucolic rural beauty and we also have the savage pipelines raping the land.
We are a Commonwealth of Contrasts; the juxtaposition between heaven and hell.
Remember images like this when you go to vote.
We all lead ordinary lives and eventually something hits us and just doesn’t sit right. Then you become active where you live. It is somewhat of a NIMBY prospect (Not in My Backyard) because you often do not realize how wrong something is until it is happening in your own backyard.
Trust me; it is far easier to just be a sheeple in your community accepting at face value verbatim whatever local politicians and power brokers tell us must be so. (You know the theory of they say it is so , so it must be so?)
Some assert that it is far easier to just vote the way you are “told” — and yes, volunteering in local elections many moons ago I literally heard someone say that as they walked an elderly person into a polling place say “Now you just vote the way we told you to.” That very memory is one of the things that always makes me tell people to vote in all elections, including local .
You don’t realize that our vote is such a powerful voice. Check out the candidates…and also whenever able check out who supports them financially as that always tells an interesting tale.
If you are in a group trying to enact change, never, ever back a candidate for political office when they come calling. Ask them to take YOUR position, i.e. what are they willing to do for you? Don’t be used by politicians. They are public servants, they work for us. That also means that anyone at any time should be able to speak to an elected official. If they as politicians, do not have time for everyone, replace them with those who do have time. Keep replacing until you get the ones you want representing you.
I have never had the desire to run for elected office. I don’t have the long-term stomach for the games and the inevitable deal making. Politics however will always fascinate me and repulse me. It makes for interesting people watching, that is for sure.
I have, however, had the privilege to know some amazing elected officials in my life from the most local of levels to Harrisburg to Washington D.C. Like me, like you, they are just people. I have no hero worship, just appreciation for some of them because they do care and they do work darn hard to make a difference.
We live in a dangerous and somewhat crazy political climate right now. As Americans, we have watched in horror as people have shot up schools, Congressmen on ball fields, random people in malls and movie theaters. A week ago today we all awoke to the news that Las Vegas was the scene of a massacre engineered by a mad man. All those poor people were doing was listening to music at a concert.
Yeah, we need to have a conversation about gun control, but NO ONE can do that CALMLY in this country. All people and officials on both sides of the issue do is SCREAM at each other.
We live in a crazy political climate and most of what we hear out of a sitting United States President appears on Twitter. In my opinion , as an American citizen, I not only find the behavior embarrassing that we even have a Tweeter in Chief, but somewhat removed from everyday reality.
Along with friends I have fought eminent domain for private gain. It was a whirlwind and we fought all the way down to Washington, D.C. alongside folks like ordinary people from Long Branch, NJ , Cramer Hill Camden NJ, Coatesville Pa (Saha Farm), and Suzette Kelo of New London, CT (as in the U.S. Supreme Court Case.)
Another time, other friends and I found ourselves the recipients of a congressional commendation for a specific volunteerism campaign we had initiated and completed.
I have done what I have done because I believe in community and a sense of greater good; because it was the right thing to do.
Along the way I have grown less idealistic and naïve. Sadly, I can be jaded now. But as you age and watch how bloody cruel and duplicitous human beings can be to one and other, you change. But you have to remember the good in people, as hard as that is at times.
I am just a person. I was not born with other than an immigrant pedigree. Italian, Irish, and Pennsylvania German. To me that makes me a quintessential Pennsylvanian.
I believe in our Constitution and the freedoms our founding fathers fought and bled and died for. Yes, the same values and freedoms that subsequent generations of Americans have fought and marched and bled and died for. It seems as Americans that we have been perpetually fighting for our rights and freedoms. But is that not the very nature of preserving and enhancing freedom?
As an American born in the birthplace of American rights and freedoms, I believe in the First Amendment.
Be independent-minded in life. You will be glad of it.
What is history? By straight definition it is the study of past events, particularly in human affairs.
In the early 1960s, an English Historian named Edward Hallett Carr wrote a book titled What is History. It was a study of historiography (study of historical writing/the writing of history). The book discusses history, facts, the bias of historians, science, morality, individuals and society, and moral judgments in history. I find that so timely considering the craziness of revisionist history overtaking the US today.
Allow me to quote Cambridge University on his book (Cambridge University Press printed it originally in 1961):
…Historiography consists partly of the study of historians and partly of the study of historical method, the study of the study of history. Many eminent historians have turned their hand to it, reflecting on the nature of the work they undertake and its relationship both to the reader and to the past….. he chose as his theme the question ‘What is History?’ and sought to undermine the idea, then very much current, that historians enjoy a sort of objectivity and authority over the history they study. At one point he pictured the past as a long procession of people and events, twisting and turning so that different ages might look at each other with greater or lesser clarity. He warned, however, against the idea that the historian was in any sort of commanding position, like a general taking the salute; instead the historian is in the procession with everyone else, commenting on events as they appear from there, with no detachment from them nor, of course, any idea of what events might lie in the future.
Carr also discussed the influence that a society will play on forming the approach of the historian and the interpretation of historical facts. He wrote about how historians as individual people are also influenced by the society that surrounds them. He also wrote about the cause and effect of history, and that history is human progression. It’s fascinating, really. It makes you understand how and why certain historical events seem so different from generation to generation.
So let’s look at our history in the USA. We are a country born of immigrants, yet today we seem to have such issues with them. Truthfully, nothing new as every era in the U.S. has historically had issues with various ethnicities coming to the U.S. in search of their American dream, correct?
We as Americans have ugly wars in our past. It’s all part of our history. How we got here today, has it’s roots in our past. It’s how we learn and grow as a society.
Today we are a nation seething with anger and self-righteousness. People love one politician, and hate another. People love each other, and also hate each other. It is kind of part and parcel of the human condition, is it not?
We learn from history what we do not wish to repeat, correct? So why is it people do not get if we do not acknowledge and learn from our history we are doomed to repeat the same mistakes?
Our history is not pretty. No history is 100% pretty. Even fairy tales are not 100% pretty, so why is it people think they can change the history by removing statues? I get why people want to remove some statues – like Robert E. Lee. Even when some versions of history try to be gentle, there isn’t exactly much that is truly redemptive about him. But his personal history was interesting, and he seems to have been a contradiction of himself at times. (And no I am not a fan of his, that is merely an observation after doing a bit of reading on him when writing this post.)
At the center of the Robert E Lee and tearing down of statues debate is slavery. Trump asked if we were going to start removing George Washington things as well, and as a column in the Chicago Tribune asks, where do we as Americans draw the line?
Here is a snippet from the article by Eric Zorn:
It can be an interesting and difficult debate — think of Christopher Columbus, Henry Ford, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and other historical figures whose great accomplishments are tainted by words or deeds that horrify those with modern sensibilities….It’s an easy distinction. Washington, Jefferson and other flawed founders built this country. Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and other rebels tried to tear it apart. Unlike Washington and Jefferson, they have no significant compensating virtues or accomplishments to counterbalance their treachery and justify the numerous honors and tributes bestowed on them as symbols of Southern “heritage.”…
This doesn’t mean, as one piously aggrieved reader wrote, that we must purge our personal libraries of accounts of the Civil War. It doesn’t mean we have to sanitize our museums, pave over our battlegrounds or write the Confederacy out of history textbooks. It doesn’t even mean that good ol’ boys and girls can’t put rebel-flag stickers on their cars or build shrines to losing generals on their property.
It means we all have to stop pretending. It means we have to acknowledge Robert E. Lee isn’t an anodyne mascot for sweet tea, stock car races and Faulkner novels, particularly for African Americans, whose continued bondage he fought for.
Ahh yes, but here in the Philadelphia area, we have to have what the media calls in situations at times “the Philadelphia connection.”
Enter Frank Rizzo.
So as I was researching, I stumbled accross this blog – I found it interesting (and timely), so let me share:
Saturday, December 09, 2006
One Tough Philly Cop, Frank L. Rizzo.
Rizzo was born in 1920 in the Italian-American neighborhood of South Philadelphia. In 1943, like his father before him, he joined the Philadelphia police force and rose to became Commissioner in 1966. Rizzo didn’t care much for the sixties. To him it was all about law and order and he had zero tolerance for those who acted otherwise….Other American cities burned, not Philadelphia. …The man was asymmetric in force and style. Look left at this photo. Check the nightstick from his sharkskin tux. This is Rizzo in 1969, Commissioner Rizzo. While attending a banquet he was informed on an impending riot. Still dressed in his tuxedo, he took charge. No delegating for Rizzo.
Rizzo went on to be mayor. He switched parties from a Democrat to a Republican was elected mayor in 1971 and 1975. No cultural ambiguity or political correctness from Frank…Rizzo lived a modest life and was never charged with anything.
Frank Rizzo died 16 July 1991. He is gone and so is a lot else of that era. America has always had flaws and so has her leaders. The cynical cadre on the left side will always make a cause of tearing down America and the tough patriotic men who created and slowly improved her…The Left has seized the agenda and will set the agenda once again. They know what they are about and their leaders stay true to their cause. The never deviate form staying the course. Conservatives have not done well because of misplaced loyalty to those that call themselves conservative and are not. Given that, which side do you think will win?
We are still having the conversation today between left and right, but that is not what we’re talking about today. We are discussing “what is history?”
Frank Rizzo was an Italian from South Philadelphia. He may have been many things, but a White Supremacist and slave owner wasn’t among them. That is inconvenient history to some, but it is the truth, isn’t it?
Helen Gym, on Philadelphia City Council seems to be one of the main proponents of Project Topple Frank, and who is she? I frankly, don’t follow Philadelphia city politics particularly closely and had never heard of her before this.
She is apparently the first Asian American woman to hold this position. She is Korean and was born in Seattle, raised in Ohio. Went to Penn as per what I see online, and after college worked as a teacher and as a reporter in Ohio. She is married and has kids and is a community activist. In 2009 she was active in a Federal Civil Rights case involving the horrible bullying of Asian students in South Philadelphia. (Click here for her subsequent testimony to the US Commission on Civil Rights.)
Here is her website – check it out HelenGym.com. She has done amazing things, but you know I just do not agree with her whole Rizzo thing.
People conveniently forget how the Italians and Irish were discriminated against in Philadelphia.
Rizzo was a big symbol to a lot of Philadelphians. Positive and negative. But that is kind of like the parallel to what is history isn’t it? The good and the bad? The pretty and the ugly? Are we going to sanitize every piece of history in this country? Can we? Should we?
Taking down Frank Rizzo’s statue is not going to do anything except create more of a divide than exists already in Philadelphia. He’s not Robert E. Lee. He wasn’t perfect, but he is part of our regional history – we can’t whitewash all of our history. The heated rhetoric on both sides does not help.
This country is exploding in ugliness. It makes me sad. I am not so naïve to think “why can’t we all get along” because it is at it’s core completely contrary to human nature.
I remember years ago, a local politician refusing to go to a historic site for a special occasion. They wouldn’t go because one of the owners (Quakers) owned slaves. It doesn’t matter that one of the more famous owners of the property freed said slaves and if memory serves, paid them wages.
And ironically, if you are a student of history, you will note that Quakers way back when before times changed, were slave owners .
But what we do need to do is to stop the hate, stop the violence. A country founded by immigrants is now so at war with itself. It’s like if we do not change course, we soon will be embroiled in a version of another civil war, or is it happening already?
No matter what our race, creed, or color we need to take back our cities and towns and crossroads from ugliness and violence. We have the knowledge and power to do it peacefully. But I just do not see taking down the statues of dead Philadelphia mayors as being helpful to that end.
History is a cruel mistress and we can’t undo certain aspects of it. We can only use what it teaches us to try to move forward more positively. We should not try to deny what happened or do a revisionist history on our history. We do need to stop pretending, acknowledge history’s dirty and horrible bits, along with the rest of it and move on.
We have to stop trying to tear each other down as well as catering to the agendas of politicians – not trying to be mean, but politicians without some sort of agenda are few and far between, aren’t they? We need to be the Americans our forefathers fought and died for, a nation of immigrants yearning for a better life and a desire to be free from tyranny. The thing about tyranny is it comes in many forms.
Some will like this post, and others will not. This is something I have been thinking about and I hope I have articulated in a way that provokes thoughtful conversation, not a litany of angry, threatening comments.
Please, be a part of the solution to stop the madness infecting this country, not feed it’s eternal fever. Use our history to make us better in the future.
I wonder, what will the history books say 25 years from now, 50 years from now, and 100 years from now about what is going on across this country right now? How will they recount the history we are presently living?
For further commentary on Rizzo-Statue-Gate:
Was Frank Rizzo racist, or a product of his time?
by David Gambacorta, Chris Brennan & Valerie Russ – Staff Writers
That Rizzo statue is history! (No, seriously…put it in a museum)
Updated: AUGUST 17, 2017 — 12:07 PM EDT by Will Bunch, STAFF COLUMNIST
Kenney says Art Commission will make the call on Rizzo statue
Updated: AUGUST 22, 2017 — 2:20 PM EDT
by Chris Brennan, STAFF WRITER
Frank Rizzo mural defaced in South Philly Updated: AUGUST 19, 2017 — 1:31 PM EDT
by William Bender, Staff Writer
Earlier this year we had lovely things like shooting a United States Congressman at a softball practice for a charity match (Alexandria, VA). In this country, they also shoot police officers these days, people in malls and schools and movie theaters. Pick your atrocity.
The United States of America is our collective home, so when did we stop respecting it?
When did we as one nation under God stop respecting what our forefathers did for us?
When did we get so ugly and angry?
When did we become a country of angry seething and racial and religious bigotry?
When did we become a country that hates immigrants and we are a country founded by immigrants?
When did peaceful resolution and polite and respectful dialogue go out of fashion?
Why are so many conservative pundits in papers, on the radio and television, and on social media stoking the fires of hatred? I don’t understand it, since given the administration in Washington, this should be their time, they should be happy, not angry and hateful.
I am someone who was once a political junkie, now I hate politics as much as I hate news. Politics is a dirty business, and the harsh reality is more people are in politics for the wrong reasons, versus the right reasons.
Extremism is the name of the game these days, and extremism in politics is so bad for this country, yet we as Americans seem to allow it?
The USA is turning into one long night of hell with this current administration in Washington. And we are turning into a joke with the rest of the world.
This terrifies me and makes me sad. What are we teaching our children? What is the legacy we are leaving our children and future generations?
People, we need to find peace. We need to stop the hate and violence. We need to take our country back from political extremism. Peacefully. Hate begets hate and violence begets violence. It has to stop.
Be kind to one and other, remember what made America great is actually none of the crap we are seeing currently. What made America great was our fight for freedom, our independent spirits, our ingenuity, our grit, our kindness, our ability to love one and other, our ability to unite as one people.
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
~ Thomas Jefferson
You will note I have not said much politically as in national- elections-politically in a very long time. Except for mentioning that after the most recent US presidential primary I went from being a life long Republican to a registered Independent.
I haven’t mentioned anything because on both sides of the aisle the ranting and raving especially on social media has been upsetting. We are officially a country of extremism politically at this point and I find that terrifying.
Our President Elect seems incapable of getting out of his own way. He attained the highest office in the land, literally. So why is it at this point so close to the inauguration that he can’t behave in a more shall we say “Presidential” manner?
He likes to criticize people like bloggers and the media and celebrities and basically anyone who disagrees with him in any way. OK so it’s fine to be a cranky person who reacts to everything on Twitter, but this guy is going to be our president officially as in sworn in officially in a matter of days and the only thing he can do is attack Meryl Streep for exercising her right of free speech at the Golden Globes awards ceremony?
It’s not like it’s anything new is it? Award ceremonies are used by celebrities all the time to voice their political opinions and platforms.
Meryl Streep is eloquent and thoughtful. And once again our now President Elect has vilified yet another woman. Why does he have issues with women so often?
Apparently no one else is allowed to say anything he might find upsetting, distressing, personally distasteful. But in that double standard world in which he lives, he can say whatever he wants it’s just everyone else who has to keep their mouths shut.
Newsflash Mr. President elect this isn’t Mother Russia. Pravda need not apply. You don’t have to agree with everyone’s opinion, but our forefathers fought for our freedom’s including freedom of speech.
I actually wonder in addition to trying to completely dismantle our healthcare system if he will try to well rollback freedom of speech a couple hundred years. I am waiting for laws that will hurt bloggers and reporters and anyone at all who has an opinion that differs from the party line that the incoming administration wants out there.
By Elahe Izadi and Amy B Wang Arts and Entertainment. January 9 at 8:32 am
Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. Okay. Go on with that thing.
You do not have to share Meryl Streep’s politics to know she speaks the truth. And this country was founded by people who fought so we could speak our truths and not live under the thumb of tyranny. They died for this.
As Americans are we going to allow the clock to be turned back to a more oppresive form of our country? you know a country where women were barefoot, pregnant, in the kitchen, and didn’t open their mouths?
I could go on but I won’t. I just felt like I had to write about this. Every day I fear more and more that the next four years will be so ugly. We should not be ruled by political extremism and reactionary politics. We should not be ruled.
West Goshen is one of those Chester County municipalities that seems to like to stay below the radar. We heard a lot about them in recent years because of the Sunoco pipeline. But you don’t hear about them very often overall, do you? I don’t think so, unless I am missing something?
However, West Goshen actually popped back into the news again recently over a pipeline meeting in West Chester. There was also an interesting blip in Pensions and Investments about them in early August (article was titled West Goshen Township issues call for investment manager.) And something just yesterday about QVC laying folks off again recently (jerks – QVC not the township so we are clear.)
West Goshen also seems to outsiders and residents to not be so open and transparent a municipality, and maybe there is good reason for such opinions? The Board of Supervisors Meetings are neither televised nor videotaped for replaying later (even East Whiteland has joined modern times with that!) and their meeting minutes are not current and the most recent I could find was from July 2016, and they are draft minutes, not finalized (don’t they finalize at next subsequent meeting and post?). Oh and this Sewer Authority Meeting Minutes from June makes interesting reading but nothing more current?
I found this letter in the Sewer Authority Meeting Minutes so interesting, I thought I would share with the class. This is something one would think the local papers would perhaps be clued into and report on? What the heck is going on???
I don’t have a clue but damn…. that is one scathing letter, isn’t it?
So I found this thing on the court records after someone said there was some kerfuffle at summer meetings.. West Goshen is embroiled in some new litigation…and it’s new, very new.
I sense a Nancy Drew Mystery….and I predict this is something to watch….
A resident is suing West Goshen Township. People do not take those actions lightly. And it is over a lack of “sunshine”. Yep. Open Records. (I have friends who did this and prevailed in Radnor Township some years ago now and this is not an easy thing.)
“CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE OF PETITION FOR REVIEW TO OVERTURN THEFINAL DETERMINATION OF THE OFFICE OF OPEN RECORDS (OOR) FINAL RULING AND TO COMPEL THE DEFTS TO PROVIDE ALL INFORMATION REQUESTED UPON”
Municipalities and sunshine and transparency do not necessarily go hand in hand do they?
I notice that West Goshen has TWO lawyers representing their interests versus one resident pro-se (representing himself) at this point.
Hmm that Camp name was familiar, so I asked a friend who lives in Easttown Township and they said Kristin S. Camp was their solicitor didn’t I remember the articles about Devon Yard the hideous Eli Kahn/Wade McDevitt/Old Waterloo/Devon Horse Show/Devon Drama plan?? (Well who could forget about that looming monstrosity?) They sent me a link to a February 2016 article written by Main Line Media News Reporter Linda Stein titled Easttown Township: More than 200 residents pack meeting about Devon Yard plans .
It always amazes me how many municipalities municipal lawyers have – Ms. Camp is no exception and she has a few. I don’t know if this list is completely 100% current and if not I apologize to the solicitor but I have: West Goshen, Easttown, West Nantmeal, Birmingham, and Pocopson all in Chester County? Wow, and she is a partner in her law firm? Busy busy busy.
But West Goshen is spending money on two lawyers to defend against one small resident? Are they nervous or something?
Now the Judge assigned, like most Chester County Judges means nothing. Judge Jeffrey R. Sommer who apparently before ascending to the bench was in the same law firm that Solicitor Camp is with. His term runs from when he was elected in 2013 to 2023. This Judge was in the news this summer over his excellent decision regarding that pool fence dispute. Somehow I knew the Judge who wouldn’t get this case is the only one I know of related to someone serving on a West Goshen Board, Allison Bell-Royer. Her husband is a former West Chester Borough Councilman, Shannon Royer. Mr. Royer, a senior lobbyist with a firm called Wanner, sits on West Goshen’s Zoning Hearing Board.
As a completely unrelated aside, Judge Royer has an amazing Pennsylvania political pedigree. Her grandfather was legendary State Senator Clarence D. Bell, who I think still holds the record in the Keystone State for being the longest serving public official in Pennsylvania – almost 50 years! (48 to be precise). Judge Royer’s dad was no slouch either. If you wonder what propels people towards public service, look no further than the examples Judge Royer had growing up. When Judge Royer was running I was new to Chester County, so I did a little research to decide if she was someone I wanted to vote for since women on the bench is still not an every day occurrence and I think it should be (but I digress).
So back to this case. What does it all mean? I don’t know. Hopefully reporters will dig into it.
Seems there is a lot going on behind the scenes in somewhat normally sleepy West Goshen doesn’t there? I don’t have much of an opinion about West Goshen at this point, but I do find this somewhat intriguing, don’t you?
File under inquiring minds want to know?
Today for preservationists there was a very happy headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Updated: MAY 4, 2016 — 3:25 AM EDT
How does that work exactly?
So I am guessing this is all just a silly coincidence of relationships? I mean why cut out the local media until a half hour before this event? Surely it is a gaffe? Because it just is not right, and let us not forget for a long time it was solely the local papers on the Main Line which carried this story and followed it and covered it and attended mind and rear end numbing meetings in Lower Merion Township.
And then there are the comments on social media including from members of Lower Merion Township Staff who should really know better. I saved the actual screen shot of the comment but won’t post so as to not embarrass the author of this particular comment:
The transformation of the Haas Estate was initiated by the Haas family but it took a lot of creativity, hard work and leadership by the local government to realize.
Respectfully, I disagree. Lower Merion got lucky and went on to create an ordinance around it that was given an unfortunate nickname. My former township sometimes shall we say likes to ummm, over improve and over complicate things and is that fair to say?
Local government can’t take all the credit on this one alone, sorry. It is mostly the doing of the family. And the Natural Lands Trust.
This year’s Natural Lands Trust Stardust celebration is being held at Stoneleigh. Stardust is an amazingly lovely party, so think about supporting it.