Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Election 2011

Integrity, Honesty, Decency . . . Have we lost those values in politics?

When I wrote my last post for Community Matters, I had a very specific message. The Tredyffrin Republican school board candidates made a choice and in my opinion, it was the wrong choice. They sent a campaign mailer that contained a lie — stating that the Democratic school board candidates want an EIT and that they have begun the process to implement this new tax. The Democratic school board candidates have not taken a position in favor of an EIT and it was wrong for the Republican candidates to lie and state that they had.

Integrity, honesty, decency . . . have we lost those values in politics? How about doing what’s right?

Through comments on Community Matters and in personal conversations, it may be possible that the Republican school board candidates did not approve or see that mailer before it went out. Do I know that factually? No. Is it possible? I guess so, but I stand firm that ‘as a candidate’, it is your name, your face and ultimately your reputation on the line, so the ‘buck stops with you’. A mailer may come from a political party but if it has your name attached to it, you are responsible for its contents. In other words, as a candidate, you ‘own it’

Two years ago, during the 2009 campaign cycle, similar misinformation about my fellow candidates and me was perpetuated and unfortunately, as a supervisor candidate I was on the receiving end. After that election, people should know that it has taken a lot of effort (and forgiveness) to move past the damage caused by that negative campaigning. Similarly, I have struggled to get past the personal distress caused during the Special Election by the local Democrats over what I believe was an inappropriate use of Community Matters on a candidate mailer.

Based on the firestorm of activity on Community Matters in the last couple of days, it is obvious that I do not fully understand the level of partisan politics held by some in Tredyffrin Township. But I would like to appeal to the local political party leaders, Republican Mike Broadhurst and Democrat Dariel Jamieson to look around at what is happening in this community; the partisan divide in widening. Whether or not your candidates win on November 8, is the price of victory worth it?

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