The Governor is the Governor
The Governor is the Governor. He’s not a thug. He’s not a dictator. He’s a Governor, he’s not a King, or an Earl, or a Prince, or a Duke. As Pennsylvanians, we don’t even know the difference between most of those lofty titles. And most of us really don’t care.
We also don’t really care when the Governor calls us bad names.
Because we know it’s simply not true.
Consider the example of our newest colleague, Senator Dave Arnold from Lebanon County…who signed a letter a few days ago to the Governor explaining that his home county is moving into the “yellow” (medium) phase of the Governor’s COVID19 shutdown order. The Governor knows better. Dave Arnold isn’t a coward, he’s a hero. He’s faced criminals as a District Attorney, time after time after time. He’s recovering from a terrible disease and he’s still here working every day, fighting for his constituents’ rights to health and safety and a decent job.
Another one of our new colleagues, Doug Mastriano, has been very outspoken…VERY outspoken… on behalf of his constituents who want to safely return to work in southcentral Pennsylvania. Does anyone in this Senate really believe that the Governor’s bad words apply to a retired US Army Colonel, a 30 year veteran? A guy who served along the East German border, who led our soldiers against Saddam’s elite troops in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, who served in three deployments to Afghanistan? Doug’s not a deserter, he’s a hero…a well-educated hero, with a Ph.D. in history who’s taught at the US Army War College. We should thank Colonel Mastriano and all of our House and Senate colleagues for their military service, not insult them.
The Governor is also a well-educated individual: Here’s the first page of his doctoral dissertation: Thomas Westerman Wolf: BA from Dartmouth, M. Phil from the University of London, Ph.D: MIT— I doubt that many of us have attempted to read his 603 page Ph.D. dissertation: Congressional sea change: conflict and organizational accommodation in the House of Representatives, 1878-1921. Although, as the son of a long-retired Business English teacher from the McCann School of Business—not exactly MIT– should I point out that Dr. Wolf misspelled “Accommodation”?
More important than any spelling errors, throughout the governor’s dissertation entire, there is no reference which states that a Governor can do whatever he or she wants. There are limits. Checks and balances.
Dr. Mastriano, do you agree?
Dr. Dinnaman, do you agree?
Of course there are checks and balances. You don’t need an MIT Ph.D. to know that. Any college student who’s taken any of my classes as a very part time college instructor understands that. Any 8th grader who’s paid attention in social studies should be able to explain the concept of checks and balances on the executive.
There’s another document that those 8th graders have studied, which was signed by some of our predecessors from the PA General Assembly in Philadelphia almost 224 years ago:
The second and third sentences hold the key phrases in Thomas Jefferson’s masterpiece, our Declaration of Independence:
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.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed……FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED.
If the Governor would talk to any of us from the Counties that want to move to his medium “yellow” phase of a gradual and safe return to normal from this terrible pandemic, we wouldn’t call him names. Instead, we’d remind him that through emails, and letters, and phone calls, and facebook, and people talking to us on the street, it’s very clear to us, in Schuylkill County and so many other counties still in his “red” most restricted zone of shutdown: The people we represent are not consenting …they are not consenting to remain locked up in their homes, limited to government handouts….people want to safely begin to return to work, small businesses want to be able to open, just like their big business competitors down the street, who have been open throughout this pandemic.
The Governor owes many of us an apology, but that’s not what I’m asking for today. The campaign attack dogs who wrote his speech yesterday should probably be fired for public policy malpractice, but I’m not asking for that either. We know better—that we are not cowards or deserters or terrible business owners who don’t care about the health and safety of their employees or their customers. What business owner in his or her right mind would want to make their customers or their employees sick?
If he would listen, I’d remind the Governor that the public and the local elected officials in the counties under your most restrictive orders…the ones who have worked with the local doctors and nurses and hospitals now tell us it’s safe for more of our counties to move to the yellow, medium phase of your health and safety restrictions.
All of us, including the Governor, should listen to the public….they’ve told the Coroners, the District Attorneys, the Sheriffs, the County Commissioners, and yes, the House and Senate members in these counties—In Beaver and Franklin, and Greene, and Lebanon, and Lancaster, and York and Schuylkill, and Dauphin and Cumberland and Perry and beyond, that we can trust the public to do the right thing and that they’re ready to carefully and safely move to the next phase in recovering from this health and economic disaster.
The consent of the governed. THAT’s what this is all about. To all of us, and to the Governor, remember that, rather than name calling, we have the ability to restore our constituents’ faith in democracy….to again receive the “consent of the governed.” The time to do that is NOW.
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