Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Pennsylvania GOP

Where’s the R-E-S-P-E-C-T in Harrisburg?

Harrisburg could use Aretha Franklin singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T this week!

Regardless of your political leanings, I encourage everyone to watch this YouTube clip from the House Rules meeting. Click PA House Rules Committee Meeting for the video. Some would suggest it was just a matter of time before the partisan bickering surfaced, but I found the disrespect among the state’s legislators shocking. If the behavior on Wednesday in the House Rules Committee is any indicator, the sandbox is getting crowded in Harrisburg and it is going to be a long two years!

If I understand the meeting correctly, the House Republican leaders claimed that the Democrats were trying to reform bills, suggesting they are using amendments to “slow” or “obstruct” legislation. Interestingly, most of the amendments introduced by Democrats actually would have been expanded the reforms.

Loosing his temper, the Republican majority leader Mike Turzai tried to silence the Democrat opposition, completely throwing respect for the minority (and for his fellow legislators) to the wind. Not to be outdone by Turzai, the minority leader Frank Demody claimed that this attack was an attempt to muzzle the minority. However, is not that exactly what the Democrats did to the Republicans when they were in the minority? And the cycle continues . . .

In 2011, the Republicans have an advantage (112-91) which should enable them to do much as they wish for the next years. But that advantage does not absolve them of the duty to hear the minority view. Remember, the minority does represent 45 percent.

This is such childish behavior . . . each side trying to silence the voices of the other side. The optimist in me had hoped that the veil of bipartisan, ‘let’s work together for the people of Pennsylvania’ could have taken a bit longer to be lifted. Because of the tumultuous committee meeting in the state House, the chairs of both the Democratic and Republican parties is calling for the resignation of both the majority and minority leaders.

Where is the civility? Where is the R-E-S-P-E-C-T?

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