By Steven Hoffman
Everyone has heard the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words.
But one word can say quite a lot as well.
For example, consider the word “no.”
It's a small word, but almost from the time we're old enough to communicate, the word carries a powerful meaning.
John Lennon explained that he once went to the opening of an art exhibit for an artist that he didn't know. There was a ladder that allowed visitors to reach a painting that was hung from the ceiling. A spyglass was positioned up there so that when someone took the time to climb up the ladder and peer into the spyglass, they would see the word “yes” in tiny little letters. That positive word made all the difference to Lennon. He couldn't wait to meet the artist. It was his future wife, Yoko Ono. If the word had been “no,” Lennon explained, his opinion of the artist would have been affected and he might have walked out of the exhibit.
So “no” is a powerful word. It says a lot.
For example, did Gov. Wolf and the Republican-controlled state legislature work together to adopt a budget before the deadline to do so?
Failing that, did state lawmakers remain in Harrisburg so that they could work on a compromise agreement that would allow the state to meet not only its obligations for the fiscal year, but would establish a course for the future?
Did state lawmakers work tirelessly—and collaboratively—to bridge the gap between what Gov. Wolf proposed, and what elected officials felt the state could afford?
Did state lawmakers budge from their positions and find common ground so that a budget was approved in time for the start of the new school year?
Did state lawmakers come to their senses and reach an agreement on the budget before some of the 500 public school districts in the state used up all the available cash reserves and started to borrow money to keep the schools operating?
Did state lawmakers reach an agreement on the state budget before their Thanksgiving break? Their Christmas break? Their New Year's Day break?
No. No. No.
Did state lawmakers finally resolve the budget issue before human service organizations ran out of funding to help Pennsylvania citizens who are the most in need?
Did state lawmakers at least reach a compromise on the 2015-2016 spending plan before school district officials were expected to prepare proposed budgets for the 2016-2017 school year?
Do these state lawmakers deserve to be reelected after failing at the most important duty that they are charged with each year?