November 4 is coming. The voters’ decisions about the state legislatures and Congress will determine the immediate future of the United States. Governor Tom Corbett hasgoverned to undermine the great cities and towns across the commonwealth in ways that have sabotaged new business creation, disrupted a cohesive educational agenda, and threatened public health and safety through the neglect of environmental issues. However, none of this damage would have been possible without a coalition of ideological supporters in the state senate and the federal House of Representatives. Montgomery County has become center stage fort he national confrontation with politicians who would abandon working class families in favor of failed policies under the banner of limited government.
Protections from government abuses are crucial to a free society. Yet, many ofthe current incumbents celebrate these ideas in ahistorical ways. Free markets can be just as tyrannical as intrusive policies or laws, especially when corporate interests dictate a governor’s or a legislature’s agenda. Promises of increased employment, wages, and economic growth based on reduced taxes and regulation, especially in the development of the natural gas industry, have gone unfulfilled. Instead, Harrisburg has turned its back on centers of innovation and growth like southeastern Pennsylvania, crippling the state at the worst moment possible. At the root of these decisions are the divisive politics of race. Instead of making connections between the various communities in Pennsylvania, the leadership of the state government has attacked immigrants and working class families over the last four years.
These errors have been compounded by a flawed vision of legitimate governance. Where earlier coalitions of engaged citizens had a voice in shaping legislation, special interest groups like the Club for Growth have steered a new path that claims only large property owners have the capacity and knowledge to guide policy. This ideology is a persistent attack on the principles of democracy and equality that have distinguished Pennsylvania since it first became a state. Every citizen’s voice should be heard, and every elected official must be held accountable to that chorus. Instead, an elitist patriarchy has governed the people of the Keystone state. It is time to restore functional government that respects all constituencies.
As the closing weeks of the 2014 political campaigns unfold, tired appeals to the voters’ fears have appeared. Claims of higher taxes, dangerous immigration policies, and the need for expanded law enforcement only reveal the insecurities of bankrupt officials whose time will soon pass. These proposals reek with a stale conceit that attempts to portray itself as patriotism. Citizens who want a new prosperity for the coming decades know that these old ideas have failed repeatedly since 1981 and that they have no place in the twenty-first century. The true patriotism is the constant engagement of citizens to dictate new policies that allow everyone access and influence in the halls of Congress and the state legislature.
A growth agenda under a new Governor and a balanced legislative leadership group will restore the dreams of the children to create new companies across the state, while lowering the property tax burden on senior citizens, veterans, and others with fixed incomes. On Election Day, voters in Norristown and across the state can restore the democratic principles that make Pennsylvania great – with liberty and justice for all.
Dr. Walter Greason founded the International Center for Metropolitan Growth (ICMG_InternationalCenter for Metropolitan Growth) and is the author of the award-winning historical monograph, Suburban Erasure. He is also the primary instructor for the “Engines of Wealth” initiative at Monmouth University. His work is available on Twitter (@worldprofessor /@icmgrowth), Facebook, LinkedIn, and by email (firstname.lastname@example.org). For bookings (workshops and speaking engagements), contact NJ History (email@example.com).