As the Grange Fair begins its 148th year, let’s all celebrate this grand tradition!
The Centre County Grange Fair is a local extension of the national Grange movement, organized to advance methods of agriculture, as well as the social and economic well-being of farmers.
As Governor Wolf recently stated, farming is the backbone of Pennsylvania’s economy — a $132.5 billion industry supporting 590,000 jobs and nearly $33 billion in annual wages.
So why did our own Rep. GT Thompson vote against the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides desperately needed funding for several agricultural conservation programs, including the widely lauded Conservation Stewardship Program (or CSP)? CSP helps farmers defray the costs of growing cover crops, which protect and improve the soil for future crops, helping to keep fertilizer in place and preventing erosion over winter, as well as supporting habitat for bees and other beneficial insects.
In 1936, Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act to bring electricity to Americans living in remote, rural areas. Would Thompson have called that crucial program “Big Government” too? That model has been used to bring other important infrastructure, including broadband, to rural Americans.
An updated and similar act could encourage installation of solar panels on farm building roofs and unused pastures, reducing operating costs for stationary farm equipment. In the future, it might even encourage the development of electric-powered farm equipment.
Elect Democrats who support innovative and cost-saving farming programs—programs that will yield positive impacts on the environment, human health and profitability for Pennsylvania’s farmers!
Margie Swoboda, Julian, PA
The Wrong Stuff for Leadership
I recently read an excellent opinion piece written by the Editorial Board of the New York Times on leadership and how our democracy needs leaders who display “principled acts…of political bravery.” My thoughts immediately went to Pennsylvania’s wannabe state leader, Doug Mastriano, who has become the national poster boy of right-wing extremism.
From what I’ve seen, he talks a good game about leadership, using his military service and rank as evidence of his integrity and leadership skills. Ironically, his practice of posting pictures of himself in uniform brought him a “warning” from the U.S. Army, that such displays, easily interpreted as an endorsement of a political candidate, runs afoul of military policy. Interesting that such a by-the-book kind of guy wouldn’t know this.
Actually, Mastriano’s notoriety is not related to actions. His “service” to the Commonwealth is minimal and checkered. Rather, he is known by his words, which stand in stark contrast to what voters would expect and demand of principled leaders.
When he’s not pontificating about doing the “Lord’s” work, implying that he alone is the candidate for governor “hand-picked-by-god,” he’s deflecting questions about his position on the issues most voters care about with curt dismissals. “My body, my choice is ridiculous nonsense,” he says. “Separation between church and state is a myth,” he declares.
Doug Mastriano fails miserably at demonstrating true leadership, offering instead arrogance, cynicism, and dismissiveness.
History has shown each of these characteristics to be tools of the weak.
Dorie Evensen, State College, PA
The Answer Is Obvious
Donald Trump is reported to have written to Merrick Garland as follows: “The country is on fire. What can I do to reduce the heat?”
Do you really have to ask? Isn’t the answer obvious?
• You should immediately and unequivalently announce that Joe Biden is our legitimate President. That he honestly won the 2020 election. That there was no fraud or stealing. And you should apologize for perpetuating your lies for so long.
• You should admit that your removal of Presidential Records, classified or not, from Washington to Mar-A-Lago was inappropriate, and you should cooperate fully in the return of the same.
• You should call on your millions of supporters to refrain from violence, and threats of violence, directed toward poll workers, election officials, Secretaries of State, FBI agents, federal judges who sign search warrants, and, especially, national heroes like Liz Cheney.
But it’s not likely that you will do any of these things.
Connie Schulz, State College, PA
A Democratic Comeback?
Early this year, conventional wisdom held that the midterm elections would result in a “red tide” of Republican gains. One reason was simple history; the party not holding the White House has made gains in nearly every midterm election since 1946. Another was Joe Biden’s low approval rating, due to his anemic legislative accomplishments and serious price inflation.
Recent polling now suggests that the “red tide” prediction may have been premature. What has influenced this Democratic resurgence?
• Biden’s legislative scorecard now looks more impressive, following the passing of the Chips, Burn Pit, and Inflation Reduction Acts
• Gas (and other) prices are coming down.
• The January 6 Hearings have showcased the Republican threat to our democracy.
• Trump’s multiple legal entanglements, such as stealing governmental documents and transporting them to Mar-A-Lago.
• The Supreme Court decision overturning Roe.
• Most importantly, the clown car of Republican nominees for Governor races, including Mastriano (PA), Lake (AZ), and Dixon (MI), and for Senate races, including Oz (PA), Masters (AZ), Walker (GA), Vance (OH), and Schmitt (MO). Even Mitch McConnell has decried the lack of “candidate quality.”
A recent poll shows that more respondents named the threat to democracy as their top concern (21%) rather than cost of living (16%), which had been the top concern in prior polls. Some Americans might blame the Democrats for inflation, but most Americans recognize that the threat to our democracy is coming entirely from Republicans.
Suzanne Colvin, Mercer, PA
What Shall We Call Him?
During the early days of the republic, there was some question as to what title to grant the nation’s chief executive officer. Congress was concerned as to the signal the wrong title might send. After all, we had just fought a war to rid ourselves of King George III, and had committed to the idea that we aspired to be a democratic republic.
Various ideas were floated. “His Exalted Highness,” “His Elective Highness,” and Washington’s own suggestion: “His High Mightiness.” At a dinner party held by select members of the House of Representatives, Washington asked Peter Muhlenberg, a trusted subordinate in his Continental Army, what he thought. “Why General, if we were certain that the office would always be held by men as large as yourself it would be appropriate,”—and then cautioned that if a small man be elected, it would not wear so well.
We seem, in Donald Trump, to have elected the small man Muhlenberg warned of some 235 years ago.
The founders settled on “president” and nothing more. At the completion of a president’s time in office, they were expected to do as Washington did, namely go home and exit political life. As for powers, the Constitution granted former presidents none beyond those afforded to citizens. They, like us, were expected to obey the law and bear the penalties the same as any other citizen.
This is foreign to Citizen Trump. The DOJ suspected Trump of violating the law, provided “probable cause” to a federal judge and was issued a search warrant that the FBI meticulously executed in strict accordance with the law.
Either no one is above the law, or we need to accept that the republic is terminal and the reign of “His Exalted Highness,” King Donald I, and his minions, is darkly before us.
Joseph R Fischer, Northumberland, PA