Personal Endorsements

Aside

Disclaimor: That which follows is NOT an endorsement by the Lebanon 9-12 Project. While I chair that organization what I am about to state has no bearing on a position by that organization. We encourage all of our members to go out and support the candidates of their choosing and in that regard, I am no different than anyone else in the room. While I am the chair of the Lebanon 9-12 Project and I have no authority to speak on their behalf in any area outside our official stated positions. The board has agree to a very strict non-endorsement policy and as a member of that board I totally embrace that position. However, that strict policy in no way restricts any individual in an official position from stating their individual positions in an election.  That includes me.  In the past I have chosen to stay out of elections and not publicly state my concerns or support for fear that my endorsement would be interpreted as an endorsement by the Lebanon 9-12 Project.  Circumstances in this election have forced me to search my conscience and take a different look at this election, particularly in the race in the 102nd.  The attention to that race has also detracted us from discussing the race in the 101st and I am very concerned that the choices in this race will be ignored until the Primary in May.  There are real choices in this race.  For those reasons and many others I have taken a position of endorsement this election cycle.  I would hope that in future races where real issues that face everyone in our Municipalities, Counties, State and Federal Government can remain front and center I can return to my personal non-endorsement policy.  

Elections, by their nature can become very divisive. I do think that has more to do with the way most elections are run because they so quickly degenerate into the politics of personal destruction. Rather than staying focused on issues when individuals make a choice based on which candidate they feel best represents, when elections degenerate into personal attacks while digging in the trenches to find those moments which they exploit by either embellishing or withholding certain facts turning truth into a misrepresentation. It is a technique of character assassination and when a candidate’s character is intentionally maligned supports see these attacks and take it personal

In an election focused on issues and not personalities, when the election is over it is much easier to shake hands rather than create divide. It is much easier to be supportive even when your candidate loses an election because the debate has not been framed around personal attacks.

In the real world, we elect people, not gods, to represent us in government. As people we sometimes make mistakes but an isolated incident is not a reflection of our total character. It is the bigger picture that should be our focus, the overall character of an individual rather than an isolated moment in time. I firmly believe in redemption, I believe people can make a mistake, learn from that mistake and become better people as a result of that mistake. Individuals who demonstrate a repetitive nature of going down the wrong path is something different. Again it’s the larger picture we should be looking at-in my opinion it should be about recognizing patterns.

One of the races in Lebanon County quickly degenerated into the politics of personal destruction. It became a race of intimidation of opponents that had little to do with the actual issues and everything to do with annihilating the competition and in many areas it crossed ethical lines in my opinion. It also became a race of deception where individuals pretended to be something they were not in order to try and get some piece of dirt they could use to cause divide and then exaggerate and exploit that deception. Frankly, It disgusted me.

The nature of that race is the reason I have decided to make personal endorsements

In the 101st I am supporting John Dissinger. John has served on City Council where he has both advocated for and stood up for Constitutional Principles. He’s not just a vote on an ordinance; he’s an advocate for principle. John has also been engaged in the fight for property tax independence. He was out there with us in the trenches engaged in this fight even joining us when we went to Harrisburg last September for the citizens lobbying efforts. These two factors made me take a very serious look at John Dissinger as a candidate. Certainly his support of HB/SB 76 weighed heavily in that since Rep. Gingrich has instead chosen to through her support behind the leadership led Grove bill which doesn’t eliminate school property taxes but rather expands the taxing authority of the school districts. John has solid positions on Right To Work, Prevailing Wage, Pensions, Paycheck Protection, Education and as a member of City Council John knows firsthand how unfunded mandates impact each of these issues. Those positions are not based on party but on rock solid positions. The Dissinger family has gone far and above the call of duty in the realm of parenting to take in a child who had gone through very difficult times and not only welcome him into their home but to make him a part of their family. I have no doubt that John has the moral clarity to make the right decision on legislation because it’s the right thing to do and that he will remain true to his principles and values as a representative of the people. John has publically stated he will not participate in the Public Pension. John also has experience in serving our country through the military. John took a pledge at the start of his campaign to keep his focus on principles and not the politics of personal destruction and he has remained true to that principle. At the core of John’s principles are personal faith principles that guide him.

In the 102nd I am endorsing Wanda Bechtold. This is the contentious race and I know that many of my friends are supporting another candidate. That doesn’t have to make us enemies and it shouldn’t. My support goes to Wanda because I have seen in her a consistent unwavering stance for the principles I admire. I am aware of the questions raised about Wanda’s qualifications as a legislator but I would remind everyone than none of the candidate in this race have any experience as a legislator. Having previous experience as a candidate or even an activist does not immediately translate into experience as a legislator. Like John, Wanda is a veteran of the military. Like John, she did so by choice. Inspired to help the troops, Wanda organized a local support the troops effort and has donated countless hours of volunteer time to build this effort with the help of a grassroots community in that effort to let our soldiers know that they haven’t been forgotten. Wanda then turned to the business community to seek their support in this effort turning it from its humble origins to a tremendous effort of support for the troops. Long before the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors became supporters of HB/SB 76, Wanda was busy working for this effort among her peers, the Lebanon County Realtors. She has also volunteered her time to work for Sertoma and for the Lebanon County GOP committee where she has tried to build bridges while remaining true to her principles. Wanda understands that it is okay to compromise on the details if those details do not threaten her principles and if that’s not a qualification for a legislator, I don’t know what a qualification is. Wanda has taken solid positions on Prevailing Wage, Right To Work, Pension Reform and Paycheck Protection that are again, based on personal principle and those positions are often centered around Wanda’s faith values. As this election turned ugly with personal attacks Wanda has remained resolved to not go down that path in an extraordinary display of integrity in adverse situations which I believe to be one of the ultimate tests of character. Wanda has also publicly taken a pledge to reject the public pension.

In both cases my support goes to these candidates because of their consistent efforts to serve their country and their community by being involved. In many cases their volunteer efforts have gone unnoticed by the general public because that’s not why they did it. It hasn’t been about garnering public attention or in driving the focus on them but is simply doing the right thing because it was the right thing to do. I have never heard Wanda or John claim that an effort they supported or even led was accomplished by them alone. They have always stated that it was through the work of others and have graciously recognized that effort. With Wanda and her support the troops effort she could justifiable say look at what I did but her nature is such that she recognizes that although she may have taken part in the lion’s share of the work, without the work of everyone involved else involved the effort would not be where it is today.

I am not endorsing in the 101st which was only recently redistricted into Lebanon County and I don’t really know enough about the challenger to Sue Helm to take a position. I do know John and Wanda as active members of our community who have not only taken a stand for principles but have spent countless hours of time and energy to work for those principles often unrecognized and behind the scenes.

Senator Folmer is uncontested. There’s a reason for that. Senator Folmer has been a consistent voice of principle and reason in a place where such things often seem like alien concepts. Senator Folmer went to Harrisburg as Citizen Mike and has never lost that connection to the people of this community. He has taken unpopular positions with his party while remaining firm in his conviction to principle. He’s also a bridge builder, understanding that details can be compromised as long as those details do not contradict his principles and our Commonwealth Constitution. Senator Folmer has my full support and endorsement as a representative of the people of this Commonwealth.

You may have chosen to support another candidate and that all part of this process. That doesn’t mean we have to drag this election into the dirt. That doesn’t mean we have to go out and do everything we can to show our support by destroying the character of the other candidates based on isolated incidents framed around half-truths and misdirections. It is possible to have elections based on real issues and the power of those who seek only to destroy their opponents only has the strength we are willing to give them. As exemplified in the special election in York, a people angry at this sort of election, can make a real difference if they have the courage to stand on principles.

I am fully aware that there has been petition challenges to Wanda Bechtold that may result in having her name removed from the ballot. I am also aware that this was a law created to punish people willfully attempting to deceive the people which I am certain that neither Wanda nor any of the petition gatherers for Wanda embraced. Like many laws created for our alleged good, it is easily abused and has become a tactic used by incumbents bent on preserving their candidacy by making it easy for someone new to the process to make an honest mistake. I believe the same to be true about the challenges to Joe Eisenhauer. In the event that the challenge is successful I fully intend to write-in Wanda as a Candidate because my opinion that Wanda is the best candidate to become a representative of the people in this race remains unchanged. If this becomes the only way an individual wins an election then the process needs to be changed.

Every candidate in this race brings elements to the body politic it’s up to you to decide what those elements are and if you want to support those elements. My endorsement is certainly not an end all do all and I would never pretend I carry such an influence. I encourage everyone to fully explore the candidates and then let your conscience guide you. This isn’t about “loyalty” which can both be an admirable trait and a flaw. For every politician engaged in acts of corruption against this Commonwealth, they had loyal followers. Blind allegiance in the face of questionable ethical practices is, in my opinion, a betrayal of friendship. We need look no further than this administration to see what how loyalty to party or individual in the face of unquestionable actions against the best interest of the nation is a flawed excuse to fall back on. We have a responsibility with our friends to support them when they are right and to let them know when we feel they are wrong. True loyalty is a two-way street. To ask an individual to betray their principles in the name of loyalty is to ask that friend to betray their conscience and that, in my opinion, has nothing to do with real friendship.

 

 

How far will they go in their overreach of power?

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Many of us are following the IRS Debacle and have become very concerned about the intrusions of the Federal Government into so many aspects of our private lives.  

We are starting to hear more about tactics used by the IRS and how this may have affected previous elections.   One aspect of this that is not getting much attention is that the mere discussion of this generates a fear among grassroots organizations to openly discuss issues when a representative becomes a candidate in an election In fear of violating some campaign regulation that would have the IRS breathing down their backs.  Since campaigns season begin in February with the Petition process and then will last until November, this only leaves a small window where some grassroots openly discuss issues that involve candidates.

This is nothing new.  There are many pastors who have openly stated that they fear taking a position from the pulpit on critical issues for fear of losing their tax exempt status.  Now considering that the first amendment states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”  a tax regulation that prohibits the free exercise of religious beliefs concerning politics would be a violation of the 1st Amendment.   There is the issue of separation of church and state but thanks to the progressive revisionists who have deluded most Americans into believing this phrase is actually in the Constitution,  the principle as laid out by Jefferson advocated for keeping the government out of the church but never to restrict the church from dealing with political issues.

They’ve done the same things in our schools by creating fear and confusion on the laws regarding this separation clause that some schools forbid students from bringing bibles to school or engaging in prayer.   Granted that some of the school officials promoting this are not acting so much out of confusion or fear but because they are pushing an agenda and will hide behind the confusion of these “laws” to get that accomplished.

The rapid growth of the conservative grassroots movement that began back 2009 resulted in two reactions.  The progressives wanted them silenced as they frothed at the mouth while trying to paint this movement as a cadre of tin-foil paranoids.  Originally elements of the GOP were excited about the grassroots in the hopes of making them faithful little soldiers but they quickly turned on them and joined the progressive liberals in their attacks of these grassroots groups because they all feared something at the center of what the grassroots were accomplishing:  Honest accountability regardless of party or individual.

We’ve all watched as networks identifying themselves as news stations turned into opinion bloviating spin machines at the beck and call of the administration.   We’ve seen similar things happen to the printed word.   It is unlikely the press will turn into political meat-eating predators again unless a real Conservative wins the White House and if both parties have their way, they won’t let that happen.  To the left a Conservative is the enemy, the right is kinder….they just say they are “unelectable” but they mean the same thing.

The outlet for true conservative opinion and voices is the grassroots efforts.  We are threat to progressives in government on the right and on the left.  Make no mistake that they will do all in their power to act offended about the IRS debacle while dragging their feet on this until after the elections this year as they both struggle to win control of the House and Senate even if that means winning with people who are weak in principle.  I mean, seriously, when a Senator has to filibuster to get an answer to a question about this administration’s abuse of power and his own party criticizes him for doing so….even when the issue involves the indefinite arrest and detention of American’s on American soil without due process do you really think they care if the IRS is intimidating you?

Consider that Property Tax Independence is an important issue to our group.  Now that we are in an election cycle, pointing out a representative or candidates position on that important issue becomes interpreted as co-ordination or an endorsement of the representative’s challenger.    Essentially this would prevent us from addressing this issue in relation to any representative or candidate essentially silencing us during any election cycle.

Consider that informing all members of an individual member’s sponsored meet and greet for specific candidates can also be seen as co-ordination even though the invitation is extended to all candidates simply by notifying us of the event. 

These are just two examples of ways that confusing rules for political advocacy grassroots organizations are being used to create the same type of fear and intimidation that was used to silence pulpits and schools.   This is called “social engineering” which is essentially the act of influencing a person to accomplish goals that may or may not be in the “target’s” best interest but are generally in the best interest of the social engineer.   

The revisionist progressives have been very successful in the use of social engineering it pushing for the loose less literal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and the advocacy of the Constitution being a “living document”.   Regardless of how far away these interpretation move from original intent a process of slow indoctrination begins until the public opinion consensus accepts that this is the way things have always been and that moves us into a realm that is called “the normalcy quotient” where no matter how different the new definition is from the original intent the public is deceived into thinking that it has always been this way.

Looking at the Property Tax Issue, most people assume that the school board has always had the power of taxation through a school property tax even though this is something that really only started as we know it now in 1965.  The process of changing thoughts on the right of the school board to tax us, even though it is a body of government and not a governing body, began with the Administrative Act in 1929 and then was advanced through the Public School Code of 1949.   It didn’t start with granting them the authority to tax us but it started by working to change our perceptions and accepting that the government had the right to do this to us even though our own Constitution forbade it.  (Article 3, Section 31 – The General Assembly shall not delegate to any special commission, private corporation or association, any power to make, supervise or interfere with any municipal improvement, money, property or effects, whether held in trust or otherwise, or to levy taxes or perform any municipal function whatever.)

By using tactics of fear and intimidation the results is that many groups will not have the courage to stand up vocally on pertinent issues that involve a representative’s voting record or a candidate’s position on an issue even to the point of merely expressing a concern.  Those groups will then do as some churches and schools have done, self-censor themselves for fear of having their tax status challenged or threatened.  Such surrender empowers the overreach of our government while controlling the free speech of a people as well as the free assembly of a group of people for specific political advocacy purposes.

The question then isn’t so much how far the government will go in this overreach of power but how far we the people will allow them to go.   In this election cycle we owe it to ourself to find out where our representatives and candidates stand on the issues that are important to us.  If the only way you can see your candidate or representative is to pay to see them through some fundraiser or other paid function, that candidate or representative doesn’t care about you, your voice or your opinion.  All they want is your money and they’ll get it from you one way or another.  

By now, those of you who follow what I write you know that I firmly believe that just government derive their powers from the CONSENT of the governed.  In order to get their consent means more than buying an election.  A representative can not possible know what their constituents consent to if they do nothing to inform those constituents about what’s happening in their legislative district and how that representative is voting on the issues.  The same is true of a candidate who wishes to become a representative.  The less we really know about our candidates positions on issues, the less chance there is that they will represent us once elected.  

And so I’ll close by once again quoting Frank Morgan from the movie A Stranger in Town 

“Like all of you here, I am a citizen of this country.  That is no little honor.  Men have fought revolutions and died to be called citizen as as citizens, we carry a burning responsibility.  It means that when we elect men to public office we cannot do it as lightly as when we flip a coin.  It means that after we’ve elected it them we can’t sit back and say our job is done, what they do now doesn’t concern us.  That philosophy of indifference is what the enemies of decent government want.  If we allow them to have their way and grow strong and vicious then the heroic struggle which welded thousands of lovely towns like this one into one nation than we are not citizens…WE ARE TRAITORS!  The great liberties by which we live have been bought with blood but the kind of government we get is the kind of government we deserve.   A government of the people, by the people and for the people can mean any kind of government.  It’s our duty to make it mean only one kind, uncorrupted, free, united!”