When Joan Holliday and I wrote “The Story of Kennett- Shaping Our Future One Child at a Time”, we found that the quality of life in our community was driven from the bottom up. It included good will, a high level of community resources and volunteers to address the unmet needs. But it also required a partnership with our representatives in government.

Our chance to improve government leadership is coming up Nov. 5, when we go to the polls and pick our leaders. As one of four precinct captains for Precinct New Garden South One, I know something about the voting process and it stinks. Not enough people care enough to even vote, let alone participate in the process.

In this off year election the powers that be in West Chester believe we will have about one in four people voting. We are better than that. I understand this is an off year election. It is not 2020, but come on people; this is for our School Boards, Township Supervisors, the County Commissioners and our Judges. There is even a ballot initiative that sounds good, giving crime victims constitutional rights, but will just muck up the court system.

And if you live in the Avongrove School District, one of the best in the country, you really need to pay attention to the school board election. It is a chance to cement excellent education for years to come. The kids are like the ones from Lake Wobegon, they are all above average, and that is because they are getting an above average education and they need the facilities to sustain it.

I remember when my brother married a beautiful British girl from Oxford. Her uncle was the officiant and he told them something that surprised me, “Everyone marries the wrong person. The secret to a good marriage is making it work.” What a romantic. Forty-three years later, their marriage continues to be amazing and they are making it work.

I believe the same is true of our politicians. We need to know them, understand what they are doing and support them in their work. No wonder we have this bifurcation of politics if 75 percent of us aren’t participating in the process. With poor turnouts and a reduction of good political journalism it is pretty easy nowadays to buy a politician. Most of us don’t believe it is our government, because it isn’t. We delegate electing officials to the guy across the street.

If you are following what is going on in Hong Kong, you can see how toxic it is when your government believes it is their right to tell you what to do, instead of “we the people” telling our government what to do.

I had four deployments to Vietnam, fighting communism, and made good friends with officers in the Vietnamese Navy. I hated leaving them behind. When I went back to put a phone bank into Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) to sell farmers seed for their crops,

I had to admit that the Vietnamese quality of life was much better than when I was there fighting a war. But we left them with one party rule. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and my new Vietnamese friends had to go through the communist party to get things done.

This meant they had to deal with corruption, nepotism and cronyism. That was our failure in Vietnam; we didn’t leave them with a government that would let them choose their own leaders. Democracy is America’s greatest gift and we don’t appreciate it.

One party rule is not healthy. Chester County has been ruled by one party for 200 years. We started replacing some of the leaders in 2016. One of the new officers reported that the previous officer had never come to work and even got a job as a lawyer with one of the other government offices so they could double dip. This coming election the majority of the County Commissioners could easily change affiliation for the first time in 200 years. Do you want to let a quarter of the county make that decision for you?

Our quality of life is at stake and when Pennsylvania’s ruling party believes that the phrase “good government” is an oxymoron, that less government is the best, it is no wonder people don’t feel their government is representing them well in Harrisburg or Washington. That is not to say more government is better; there are unintended consequences of legislation.

But our society should be getting better and it isn’t. As an engineer, I believe that it will regress toward the mean, but Chester County is the richest county in the state and we should expect a lot from this good fortune. We should expect from our government a sustainable safety net of food, housing and health care, while addressing climate change, and keeping us safe and secure.

It is only when we take responsibility for our political leaders that we will be making real progress. This will not happen if we aren’t taking the time to understand who’s running and why. So surprise the folks this election cycle and care about your community. Vote November 5th.

The Story of Kennett may be purchased on Amazon and at the Mushroom Cap or Resale Book Shoppe in Kennett. You can contact Bob at Georgert@gmail.com.
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