September 2, 2012
From the inbox:
The band Ten Years After has a song called “I’d Love To Change The World”. Those words of late have come to sum up my life’s goals, and are why I’m writing you today. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; and in the world of political campaigning, it might as well be ten-thousand.
Picture this: a representative poses with a crowd of smiling onlookers, holding a pair of over-sized scissors that could only be used for one thing—ribbon cutting. Along with kissing babies and shaking hands with service men and women, ribbon cutting ceremonies are fairly run of the mill activities for political officials. Ceremonies such as these provide politicians with the opportunity to get out into the community that they supposedly represent in order to mingle with their constituents—and perhaps more importantly (for some officials), they are wonderful photo ops. Even without any accompanying text, the image of a politician cutting a ribbon practically shouts, “Here I am, doing something important for my community, (re)elect me!”
Of course, it helps if the politician present has had some hand in bringing about the event that warrants a ribbon cutting ceremony in the first place. However, Representative Sandra Major recently posed with a group of community members in order to officiate over the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Prompton Dam in Wayne County—a dam that was originally funded by stimulus dollars, which were brought to PA thanks to President Obama and former Congressman Chris Carney.
Representative Major herself, however, had no part in the funding nor the building of the dam. It seems as though she was exercising a kind of political droit du seigneur—or the “right of the lord,” (which some of you might remember from the classic Braveheart) that allowed a feudal lord to ‘take’ a woman on her wedding night. Only in Representative Major’s droit du representative, she seems to believe that as long as something happens in her district, she can ride up and take the credit for it.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time that Representative Major has posed for photos that seem inauthentic and problematic, once you look past the veneer of a forced smile or a large pair of scissors. In February of this year, the Independent Weekender printed a picture of Representative Major posing with some local schoolchildren at Elk Lake Elementary School for the Read Across America initiative. The image of a politician, advanced in her career, passing on a love of learning to the younger generation would be almost sweet, were it not for the fact that Representative Major has repeatedly supported Governor Corbett’s cuts to public education—cuts that undoubtedly impacted students at Elk Lake and elsewhere in the 111th distract. Though this is just one example of Representative Major trying to garner good PR from a community event that she did not help to generate, it reflects a trend in her campaigning tactics.
Truly, a picture is worth a thousand (or ten thousand) words, but there are times when we need to look past the surface in order to find out what those words actually are. And at the end of the day, isn’t the truth worth infinitely more?
Personally, I do not want to be represented by someone who feels comfortable taking credit for another’s work or posing with students whose lives will be negatively affected by budget cuts that she supported. I think it’s time for my friends in the 111th district to elect a representative who will do more for his district than pose for convenient photo ops, who will not only stand next to a community structure, but also bring in the funding that could make such a structure possible. It’s time for a change. I strongly urge the citizens of the 111th district to send Jeffery Dahlander to Harrisburg.
Thomas R. Charles