It's been an eventful month or two since I last posted, so this might be one of several entries over the next few weeks.
Side note: For additional reading, you can also check out this cross-blog posting written with Ms. Rivers.
First up, we have an election that was, and while no election ever left everyone happy, I think a majority are glad at least about the results of the Pennsylvania governor's race. For the benefit of the uninformed, that race was between the existing Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and state Senator Doug Mastriano. The results are:
While I am happy with the net result, the sad underlying reality is this: Over 2 million fellow Pennsylvania residents voted for a man who basically embodies the very notion of Christian Nationalism. You can read more about the candidate HERE and HERE. Now I get not necessarily liking Josh Shapiro; on a good day, he is about as engaging as a plain English muffin (untoasted, without any toppings). However, he has one major advantage over Doug Mastriano, in that he doesn't want to impose a religiously-centered government in Pennsylvania. That comes from the candidate himself, by the way. From the Guardian article previously linked:
As a state senator in Pennsylvania, he said women who violated a proposed six-week abortion ban should be charged with murder. Mastriano frequently attacks trans people and has said gay marriage should be illegal, and that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt children.
From a speech he gave (as quoted in the New York Times, and other sources):
The separation of church and state was a "myth" he said. "In November we are going to take out state back, my God will make it so"
From an interview given in 2018 (quoted in the Rolling Stone article):
The hosts asked Mastrianio if gay marriage should be legal. “Absolutely not,” he answered, citing the Old Testament. “I’m for traditional marriage. And I am not a hater for saying that. It’s been like that for 6,000 years,” he said, invoking the Bible: “It was the first institution founded by God in Genesis, and it needs to stay that way.”
One has to wonder what other biblical mandates Senator Mastriano would seek to impose on others.
Anyway, I don't know how someone can defend these stances. It also makes me somewhat ill thinking about the fact that I probably have social media connections who agree with these ideas. In the end, though, better people prevailed, but not by nearly enough. We still have a society where someone who trades in fear that is white-washed with religious zealotry can attract a large following. My hope is that younger generations will help right those wrongs.
I could also comment on the Pennsylvania Senate race, but I won't (much). Suffice it to say, the miracle cure snake oil salesman and New Jersey resident doctor didn't win. And he was defeated by a man who suffered a stroke. That says a lot. Oh, and one more thing: The man who had a stroke, Senator-Elect Fetterman, is an outstanding example for anyone who suffers from a physical setback, such as a stroke*, but nevertheless keeps moving forward. That's nothing short of inspirational.
Post-election, and it goes without saying that no one likes a sore winner, but with so many viewing politics through a sports-team lens ("Your team sucks!", where "team" is either Democrats or Republicans), that exact thing is bound to happen. So be it. Elections, like life itself, have a certain shelf-life, and that which is won today will be lost tomorrow. What really matters is the larger direction our society is moving in. Are we going to govern based on fears (of immigrants, of the LGBTQ community, of the Jews...and the list goes on) or are we going to start with the underlying assumption that we all have inalienable rights, without (many) strings attached? Where "all", by the way, includes those who are not just like us?
Finally, and to touch on one issue in particular, by all means, be vigorously anti-abortion if that's your passion, but don't assume that your passion gives you the right to make decisions for others. For example, I wish no one had an abortion, and that those kinds of decisions never had to be made. However, that's not living in the real world, and I find it repugnant that a government can impose such a deeply personal decision on a woman. Abortion bans end up being an example of a big, intrusive government at its very worst, which is a bit of irony that (supposedly) small government individuals such as Senator Mastriano can't seem to grasp.
(*) I have a tiny bit of skin in this game, as because of any underlying heart issue, I am considered as having a greater risk of stroke. It's something I'm working on addressing, but I will confess that the characterization of Senator-Elect Fetterman as being cognitively impaired due to his stroke made me angry. Political campaign rhetoric aside, you can learn more about stroke risks and support for stroke survivors at the following links: