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From the Desk of
County Commissioner Weikert

(May, 2010) May 18 is primary election day in Pennsylvania. In this election cycle voters will be choosing candidates for US Senator and Congressman, State Governor and Lieutenant Governor, State House Representatives and state and local political party committee members. In the Pennsylvania Primary Elections, only Republicans and Democrats may vote, all others are for some reason by law not included. By the way, do you know all the official political parties that exist in our country today? I was amazed when I saw the list.

The parties include American, American Eagle, American Independent, American Labor, Anarchist, Birthday, Christian, Christian Democrat, Citizens, Conservative and Constitutional. Democratic, Free, Freedom, Good Neighbor, Green, Green Democrat, Independence, Independent, Independent Democrat, Independent Republican, Liberal, Libertarian, Natural Law and Non Affiliation. No Party, Non-Committal, Non-Partisan, Other, Patriot, Reform, Republican, Taxpayers and United Peoples. I had no clue that some of these political parties ever existed. So now with all that knowledge behind us, it's the R's versus the D's.

So how do you decide to be an R or a D anyway? When I was a youngster, I thought the farming community was all D's and the downtown business folks were all R's. Since my Dad was a storm trooper Harry Truman Democrat, it was all but decided that all his children would follow suit, walk into the Court House and sign up on the D side. Not so fast, being of our own minds my sister, brother and I all decided farm work was a hard life and we would sooner align ourselves with the downtown folks and opted for the R side. Most of my generation was pretty much expected to align with the family pecking order when picking their political affiliation. There were a lot of squabbles when family members chose different parties; I understand my wife's grand parents often nearly came to blows as the ballots were being counted.

Ok so what is really the difference between the R's and the D's anyway? Well the D's are often classified as liberal and R's as conservative. The D's many times support social programs which help those in need, while the R's rely on the private sector to create our jobs, pay us a competitive wage and we then can fend for ourselves. So what if you like to see new business startups and you also care for people and their needs, are you now a RD? If you believe we need to increase social programs and also help the business sector make it through a down turned economy are you now a DR?

As a teen I noticed that the D's often times drove Fords and the R's drove Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Cadillac's. I have a friend who, a few years back, proclaimed that a lot of the D's drove Volvos and the R's drove BMWs. In today's hybrid age, he tells me that the D's are driving the Prius and the R's are driving Tahoe's and Suburbans. Some people think that the D's are seen as tree huggers and the R's want to cover the entire landscape with concrete. Others claim that the R's are tall, dark and handsome and the D's are short, stocky and balding. I talked to a gentleman along the street one day and he tried to convince me that females were predominately D's and the guys were mostly R's. Funny how we classify our friends and neighbors isn't it?

Speaking of our Presidents, there were some famous ones who were identified by R's and D's. Our first President George Washington, "The Father of our Country", was not affiliated with any party. Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, who saw us through the Civil War and helped preserved the union was our first R President. FDR was our 32nd President of the United States. He was a D. He led America through WWII and helped establish our Social Security System, two major accomplishments I would agree. How about JFK our 35th President of the United States? He was a D. His leadership and commitment enabled America to land a man on the moon and create major opportunities in the field of math and science. LBJ our 36th President opened the door to civil rights for all Americans. He was a D. Ronald Reagan an R, our 40th President saw the Berlin Wall fall and helped broker the end of the "Cold War".

Well enough said about letters and history, let's get to the point. I believe that public service should have no need or claim for an R or D. We should look beyond our needs and step up to serve those who need our assistance. When you feel better by serving others than doing things for your self you are truly a public servant. It's no use to complain about others if you are not willing to step up and step out to make your community, organization, county, state or country a better place than you found it. Get up and get out to vote on May18 and help elect those who wish to serve. Think long and hard about how you may be able to serve yourself. Find something you care deeply about, something that you love and join in to make this world a better place for us all.

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