Representative Daryl Metcalfe (PA-Butler) has finally made me question the sanity of social conservatism in Pennsylvania. I mean, I never understood the point of letting fear control my every action, however it seems more and more that conservatives like Rep. Metcalfe are terrified. Not of some foreign enemy, but of anything that is different from their narrow worldview.
In the minds of these conservatives, nothing is more dangerous then their fellow citizens. Since the backlash against President Obama, low voter turnout, and a misguided belief that change was completed in 2008 turned many seats red in 2010. Many Americans in these states always looked at these socially conservative issues and thought will the south ever change. Unfortunately for us, these issues came north to the rust belt with full force.
My spirit was awoken in Feb 2011 reading about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s crusade against labor. Watching that develop I’m sure many of my fellow public sector union brothers and sisters were shocked in Pennsylvania, but we all told ourselves that it couldn’t happen here. Then we heard about Rep.Metcalfe and a couple other Republicans that were trying to force a group of ALEC sponsored Right to Work bills through their committees. Right to Work sounds like a good thing, however it is just another one of the rights many ploy to sap the strength of Unions so they can divide and conquer the workforce. If it wasn’t bad enough, a group of people I work with kept saying “don’t worry, they just after the teachers union. We will be okay” obviously they didn’t see Hannibal at the gates, but I did.
The backlash of Wisconsin and Ohio fighting back led these bills to get tabled. With Right to Work stuck in Committee, it was time for the next phase of the Conservative attempt to unify and create jobs; the ultrasound bill. After an unsuccessful attack against workers they decided to lash out on Women’s Rights; an ever popular subject and good way to lose at the polls. What these Republicans don’t understand is women vote, and usually don’t like being told what to do. Sorry Representative Rapp, you might still be in your place like it was 1965, but most other American woman aren’t there. After the partial failure of the bill in Virginia (which would subsequently pass after being modified) Ms. Rapp followed the ALEC model and brought it to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It ended up being tabled, after a good deal of backlash, however Republicans could most likely push it through whenever they so desire.
When you fail attacking workers and women where do you go? Voters. Rep. Metcalfe and his forward way of thinking brought us another ALEC gem; Voter Photo ID Bill. Doesn’t sound too bad, especially when you say people use ID to buy cigarettes and booze, why not to vote (common argument I see from posts onRep Metcalfe Facebook, and other Conservative pages) Unfortunately, this reasoning is as ignorant as the person making it. No one is going to card a 75 year old smoker, or a 50 year old buying a bottle a schnapps. And the voter impersonation that this bill targets to stamp out, State Senator Daylin Leach put so perfectly when he stated that “300 people will be struck by lightening before 1 case of voter impersonation occurs” In actuality, unless Republicans plan on providing free ID’s (which doesn’t seem part of the 11 million it will cost to implement the bill, when the state is cutting whatever it can) the voter bill is a thinly veiled unconstitutional poll tax. Unfortunately, this bill is most likely going to pass through the house this week and be sent to Governor Corbett. The Governor was all in favor of keeping the districts that this bill targets from voting during his campaign in 2010. Stating in front of a group of Delaware County Republicans:
“We want to make sure they don’t get 50 percent,” Corbett told a gathering of Delaware County Republicans, later aired on YouTube. “Keep that down.”http://www.phlmetropolis.com/2010/10/the-big-question.php
It’s not hard to figure where the Governor will go with this bill. His party is helped by keeping voter turnout down. Longer lines at the polls and people turned away because they couldn’t afford the proper ID helps Republicans.
For those of you keeping score. First they came for the workers, then the women, then the voter. Now who do we see Rep. Metcalfe and his cronies target? Gays. Rep. Metcalfe has taken up the charge to protect the institution of Marriage from those who would tarnish it with allowing for same-sex marriages. Yet again, these social conservatives are trying to decide who can, or can’t enjoy the same rights of others. I for one don’t know how allowing a same sex to enjoy the same privileges and legal respect that my wife and I enjoy would do anything to my marriage. God brought my wife and I together, and the state allowing two men or two women to marry does nothing to our union. Maybe my faith is strong enough to not worry about another persons marriage.
Every time Rep. Metcalfe and his backward bunch find a new target I am reminded of that famous quote by Pastor Neimoller:
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.
I just hope when the attention of the Social Conservatives is once again at me, someone will stand up. However, if we all stand up now, maybe they won’t have a chance to pick us off one at a time. Just a thought.