Letter to the Editor: Articles underline importance of voting
I just read two articles in Monday’s Indiana Gazette that, together, prompted me to write.
The first article described how our state leaders have taken the Philadelphia public schools hostage in order to advance Gov. Corbett’s plan to renege on the state’s obligation to public employee pensions. After failing to contribute their share of the pension payments for years, Corbett and Republican leaders want to cut pension benefits rather than meet that obligation when their back payments are due.
As if this isn’t reprehensible enough, now Corbett and Republican leaders are refusing to act on a bill — which they already promised to approve — that would allow Philadelphia to raise the tax on tobacco to support their public schools, which are suffering horribly under the draconian cuts to public education instigated by Gov. Corbett and Republican legislators.
Philadelphia is the one bastion of the Democratic Party that Republicans have not been able to gerrymander away, so Republicans are holding the children hostage. As quoted in an Associated Press story appearing in the Gazette, Corbett said, “I would encourage the (Democratic) delegation from the city of Philadelphia to give the votes to get a pension bill done so they can get a cigarette tax done so they can get additional funding for the school district. It’s in their hands.”
He doesn’t even attempt to veil his threat — if they don’t give him what he wants, the children suffer.
The other article had to do with the fact that “even though two-thirds of Americans want their own House member booted,” 9 out of 10 incumbents over the past five decades have been re-elected, as have 80 percent of Senate members.
How is this possible? The article blames gerrymandering in part, but we are also to blame. Only about 40 percent of us vote in the fall elections, even fewer in the primary elections. Even when we don’t think our representatives deserve to return, many of us will vote for them anyway — or not vote at all.
I urge Philadelphia’s Democratic representatives to stand firm against this blackmail, and I urge the voters of Pennsylvania to get out and vote this November.
Vote for people who will work for voters rather than for paid interest groups. I know I’ll be out there — and I’ll be voting to fire my current leaders in favor of new faces and new ideas. Won’t you join me?