For years I have supported those running for office from the Republican party. I have donated my time, money and advice. I have been involved in numerous local, state and national races. In fact so many that I have lost count. And, of course, I still participate.
The one thing that drives me is my interest in those candidates who can and do make a difference. It is a rare circumstance that I support someone solely because they are of a particular political party. Obviously, there are good people on the other side of the aisle that I did not support — sometimes just because I did not know them as well as my candidate.
And when there are those who suggest employing dirty tricks to unfairly besmirch another’s reputation, I do what I can to steer the campaign in another direction — sometimes successfully and sometimes not so successfully. But what I can not stomach is the kind of character assassination employed in today’s political campaigns.
As a result, I have been quite verbal about the direction Donald Trump and his ilk have taken the country. I have spoken about it and written about it as well. This week I discovered something that took my breath away.
A friend of mine, who is a Republican and a really, really good person, told me that another Republican who is a Franklin County elected official “hates my guts.”
Why? Accordingly, it is because, my friend was told, I am a RINO (Republican in Name Only). That took me back, because I have been a supporter of this elected official for many years.
It seems that I am persona non grata unless I toe the line, speak only of how wonderful my fellow Republicans are, back them no matter how wrong they are from time to time, kiss Trump’s ring, visit the Capitol while insurrectionists storm the place, agree with the fairytales of QAnon, and accept the lies of the 2020 election deniers.
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Truth be told, before I am a Republican, I am an American, and I want the best for my country, starting right here in Franklin County, then Pennsylvania, then America. Some of those who want to destroy what we have built, since our founding, live right here among us.
They tell us that it is OK to lie, and if not lie, to accept what we are told as the new truth. And coupled with these lie-spreaders, social media manipulators, and far-right and far-left enablers, we are battered around like so many leaves in a windstorm.
For example, let’s look at the truth about the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania. According to the advertising, John Fetterman is an ignoramus who can’t put two words together. He even wears shorts and a sweatshirt, like the rest of us. The advertising has it that since his stroke, he is worthless, dumb, an embarrassment and should hide in his parents’ basement.
Yet, there is the reality of who Fetterman is that those who call me a RINO need to take into consideration.
Fetterman is married to Gisele Barreto Fetterman and has three children. Gisele is a Brazilian-born immigrant who earned her green card, worked her buns off to simply survive, and went through the arduous process to become an American citizen. She is a philanthropist, nonprofit executive, and founder of the nonprofit Freestore 15104 and co-founder of the nonprofits For Good PGH and 412 Food Rescue.
Contrary to social media gossip, John is brilliant. He began his career working in the insurance business and went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in finance from Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania. He earned his MBA degree from the University of Connecticut.
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He then went on to earn his distinguished Master of Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School. In this rigorous program at Harvard University, John was taught how to understand complex problems and craft concrete solutions that solve issues and get results. He also served the country with a stint in AmeriCorps, the agency of the U.S. government that concentrates on volunteerism and improving the lives of average Americans.
John was elected and again re-elected as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, for 13 years until he was elected as lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.
Now as the U.S. Senate candidate, John wants to enact the following agenda which would seem to be neither Democratic or Republican solutions. These five items would seem to be reasonable, and what I would want from our next U.S. Senator.
- Make more stuff in America
- Cut taxes for working people
- Ban Congress from trading stocks
- Slash “out of pocket” health care costs
- End immoral price gouging
And for those wondering, here is the bottom-line regarding the stroke suffered by John, as reported in a Sept. 1 article in PennLive Patriot-News: People who have a stroke of the kind Fetterman suffered “‘may have some structural injury on their brain scans, but clinically, they can essentially be back to their normal functioning state pre-stroke,’ says Dr. Ray Reichwein, a stroke neurologist and co-director of the Penn State Stroke Center.”
Regardless of which candidate you support, please do not participate in kicking around a recovering stroke victim who is brilliant and would make a significant difference for us in the U.S. Senate.
People are not so much what they say or how fast they can say it. Rather they are what they do and what they accomplish.
Bill Gindlesperger is a central Pennsylvanian, Dickinson College graduate, Pennsylvania System Of Higher Education (PASSHE) Governor, Shippensburg University Trustee, and Chairman of eLynxx Solutions. eLynxx software coordinates and drives communication, specifying, approval, procurement or production, reporting and activities necessary to obtaining direct mail, marketing materials, promo and all other printing. He is a board member, campaign advisor, successful entrepreneur, published author and commentator. He can be reached at [email protected].