What Does "Pride in America" Truly Mean?
August 27, 2021
Rep. Kerry Benninghoff’s recent interview with the editorial staff of the Lewistown Sentinel is inconsistent, hypocritical, and -- despite claims of “eyes and ears to the ground” -- dismissive of the concerns and challenges facing his constituents. His insistence that the fundamental problem is a lack of “pride in America” is intentionally divisive. It deepens an “us” vs “them” mentality while deflecting attention from his role in nearly 25 years of eroding the opportunities he claims to champion.
Access to affordable childcare is a significant challenge for many working families, and is only exacerbated by the pandemic. Likewise, apprenticeships are wonderful but nowhere near as readily available as he describes -- although it’s ironic that he touts these overwhelmingly union-sponsored programs, given the GOP’s long-standing opposition to worker rights. And the implication that workforce development opportunities are “virtually free” will surprise the 1 in 7 Pennsylvanians struggling under crushing student loan debt.
While Benninghoff notes that freedom implies responsibility in military service, he ignores the fact that citizens and elected officials also have a social responsibility to protect their friends and neighbors. Medical professionals have endorsed common-sense public health measures such as mask and vaccine requirements, but Kerry and GOP leadership continue their opposition or simply remain silent.
Benninghoff’s divisive rhetoric does not help the people and communities of central Pennsylvania. We must send representatives to Harrisburg who are focused not on partisan talking points, but on helping solve the very real problems of the people and communities they represent.
(This appeared in the Centre Daily Times and on statecollege.com.)