In responding to a local reporter who recently wrote a newspaper article on “transparency,” I inquired as to why the members of the Democrat slate of Pennridge School Director candidates did not identify themselves as “Democrat,” but only as members of the “Pennridge Community Alliance,” as if that was a separate political party affiliation.
From its website, to its printed campaign material, to television ads, to even how the candidates identify themselves during door-to-door canvasing, they did not indicate that they are the Democrat candidates for school board.
I asked if this lack of party identification was intentional and if the reporter could find out why the slate was either embarrassed by or running away from the Democrat Party? Were they hoping to somehow deceive voters? I could not help but wonder if this was illustrative of how transparent they would be as leaders.
The response I received from the reporter was that, “[t]he candidates advised that they do not believe they are defined by a party or a party’s messaging and instead are focused on addressing solutions to issues that are impacting the district.” Frankly, that’s a great answer and would be believable if the slate contained candidates who did not have to be of the same party affiliation.
This made me wonder why party affiliation mattered in “internal-facing decisions,” but not when it came to “voter-facing imaging.” Why the masking? At best, it looks incongruent and, at worst, deceptive.
Moreover, if “labels mean nothing” is now the lens through which we are to view one another, then that perspective would need to be applied consistently, if it is to be believed at all. Instead, Republicans are barraged with a steady stream of public political disparagement, using “labels” as terms of derision.
As I reflect on my two years on the Pennridge School Board, the one thing that I have found to be consistent is the inability of people to see others through the same perspective they wish to be seen.
Jonathan Russell, is a Hilltown resident, current Pennridge School director and Republican candidate for Pennridge School Board.