April 12, 2024

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Confessions of a participation trophy liberal – and what it tells you about Pa. politics | Opinion

By Patrick Beaty

Here’s anything I uncovered as a result of a lot of yrs of experience in condition government and as an advocate for redistricting reform. When a govt worker phone calls you a participation trophy liberal, a loser and a cheater, all in 1 sophomoric rant, you know you should be on to some thing.

Correct, the comment was not directed at me personally, but the concept was very clear ample.

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Household Republican caucus was responding to a push conference at which a wide variety of govt reform groups referred to as for alterations in legislative procedures to let for consideration of charges with bi-partisan support.

Asked to remark on the proposal, Household GOP spokesperson Jason Gottesman chose instead to interact in name-calling of the kind that has turn out to be all too familiar on social media. He explained to a reporter that the reform advocates had been “participation trophy liberals” who “don’t like the point that they have lost the match, so they are seeking to cheat by transforming the policies.”

There’s a ton to unpack there, but let us start out with this. When did it grow to be ok for a governing administration employee to give a statement like that as the official reaction of the Property bulk caucus? It feels like an invisible line has been crossed before we even realized it was there.

The Pa. Constitution belongs to all of us. Not one political get together | Patrick Beaty

The Pennsylvania legislature has a very long sad heritage as a entire body resistant to alter. To put it mildly. In actuality, that is how legislative leaders constantly seemed to cope with earlier reform attempts – mildly – with lukewarm assurances that have been in no way recognized.

Don’t forget previous Speaker Mike Turzai’s professed help for the gift ban? Or recent Speaker Bryan Cutler’s assurance (when he was the greater part chief) that the Regulations Committee which he chaired was open to taking into consideration extra rule changes? Almost nothing happened, of study course, and at some point the legislative session came to an conclude without any sizeable reforms. Disappointing to be absolutely sure, but at the very least reformers weren’t vilified as losers. At minimum not as the formal government response.

Even setting aside the appalling tone of disrespect for nonpartisan teams like the Committee of Seventy, League of Females Voters of PA, March on Harrisburg, Fair Districts PA, and other individuals who participated in the push occasion, the quoted assertion reveals quite a good deal about what is erroneous with politics and governing administration these days. And, although not intended, the assertion actually served to reinforce the most important position becoming created by the reformers.

After on a time, the social gathering in electric power would sometimes arrive at throughout the aisle and collaborate with customers of the minority celebration on issues that were well known with voters of both of those persuasions.


Have confidence in me, this truly happened. Appears to be nearly quaint in retrospect. Those people have been also the days when lawmakers labored collectively in committee to examine proposed laws, listen to from interested citizens and experts and then make needed amendments before reporting bills to the flooring for consideration by the comprehensive Household or Senate.

Now it is a great deal much more widespread for charges to be voted out of committee without the need of community input or option for associates of the minority get together to supply amendments, but with the obscure assure that any worries could be addressed later on.

The whole committee process is dealt with by the greater part party as a nuisance they would gladly toss aside if it were being not needed by our point out Constitution. Costs launched by users of the minority bash are really almost never regarded as regardless of advantage.

It has been normally said that politics is a “contact sport’’ or a “blood sport” (and also that “politics ain’t beanbag,” which is a type of video game, if not a sport). By the nature of our two-party system, American politics entails groups who gain and drop. The profitable team will get particular strengths. They get to set the agenda for as long as they continue being in ability and they get to management the flow (or deficiency thereof) of expenses released by members of equally teams.

We are now at a point wherever successful is anything. If you are not on the winning team, you are by definition a loser and so apparently are all individuals who voted for you or who maintain similar beliefs. It is no for a longer time thought of off limits for an elected formal to request constituents how they are registered as voters and if they voted for that official in the last election.

But we have arrived at a full different stage of dysfunction and rancor when unique citizens and teams who problem the standing quo in the spirit of reform are castigated as cheaters who only want to alter the principles since they “lost the sport.”

We must not assume any “participation trophy” since we did not acquire. Properly guess what? We’re not even playing your match. We are the people you are supposed to symbolize in governing administration. All of us, not just the kinds who voted for your group.

For the history, I have never ever been a admirer of providing awards just for displaying up. Contact me old college (or just aged). But I also am not offended if someone else wishes to do that. It does not make them losers. If you say that will make me a participation trophy liberal, then I will gladly confess to the demand.

Patrick Beaty is the volunteer legislative director of Honest Districts PA. His do the job seems often on the Cash-Star’s Commentary Page.