Shift to Left, Low Voter Turnout Bode Poorly for Philadelphia
Photo: Inquirer Staff
The big question resulting from Tuesday’s election is what it means for Philadelphia and the people who call the city home.
That’s what I’m wondering. And being a full-time pessimist, well, let’s just say that I’m feeling a disturbance in The Force.
Right now the media seems to be having an outright love-affair with the new faces who will be taking their places on City Council. Wait . . . love-affair? Yes, I sense a kind of euphoria in the reporting about Kendra Brooks (a Helen Gym ally), Jamie Gauthier (who won in the primary over Jannie Blackwell) and new at-large members Isaiah Thomas and Katherine Gilmore Richardson.
Brooks is quoted as saying “I am going to be true to who I am. Part of making decisions is getting people to move on bills you want, but I’m not going in there to make friends. I’m going in there to build a movement and pass policy.”
Build a movement? What, exactly, does that mean? There’s my natural pessimism showing, speculating about motivations, reasons and goals. Will Philadelphia see significant reductions in poverty and violence and an increase to address the anemic funding of our public schools? Will we see an influx of family-sustaining jobs into the city or, instead, more government hand-outs that really don’t impact the reduction of poverty? These are the questions that make me go…hmm.
Then we have the re-election of Mayor Jim Kenney. Republican challenger William Ciancaglini received 52,537 votes to Kenney’s 213,390. I am not a fan of this mayor. I’d like to be, but pushing through a regressive tax that hurts the very people it’s supposed to help (Pre-K: It’s for the kids) doesn’t endear me to the administration.
Numbers tell part of the story but to me, it’s the tip of an iceberg. Yes, more people turned out for the November election than did for the primary. There are 1,062,588 voters registered for this election. The still-unofficial tally of total people who voted is around 284,885. That leaves 777,703 people who didn’t get out to vote. Let’s spell that out; plainly speaking, over seven hundred thousand Philadelphians (of various ethnicities) did not exercise their Constitutional right.
As a result, we’re getting the kind of government we deserve. Joseph de Maistre, a 19th Century French lawyer, political philosopher and diplomat said that. It’s worth Googling his name to learn other thoughts he had.
Here’s what I think of what Tuesday’s election results mean, locally and nationally:
I think America needs to raise a skeptical eyebrow regarding the Democratic Party’s heavy leaning to leftist political ideology and an apparent wishy-washy Republican response.
And, I think, with the current social romance with the musical Hamilton, Americans would do well to reflect on the history of the high cost of attaining and maintaining our free society.
I’m going to close with a quote from French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville (Google him, too). “Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom, socialism restricts it. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man; socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: equality. But notice the difference: While democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
Larry Miller is a Special Projects Manager in Ceisler Media's Philadelphia office.