Skip to main content

Chester County Press

Editorial: Pennsylvania Democratic Party: How low can you go?

10/17/2016 02:04PM ● By Richard Gaw
At the Democratic National Convention this past summer, First Lady Michelle Obama stood before a packed audience at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, and issued a directive that seemed out of the dark ages of American politics, but one uniquely calibrated to suggest that the better angels of our integrity could still be saved.
“When they go low, we go high,” she said.
Given the campaign literature that it has been paying for and authorizing for distribution to thousands of homes throughout Chester County this fall, one wonders if the Pennsylvania Democratic Party were absent on the evening that Ms. Obama delivered her address. Over the last two weeks, residents have pulled two mailers out of their mailboxes that are so demeaning to a particular Republican candidate, and so reprehensible in their portrayal of him, that they deserve the harshest of reprimand, and we are gladly volunteering to dole out the vitriol.
Last week, residents came home to find a cryptically-designed, 11” x 17” mailer incriminating Jack London, the Republican candidate for the Pa. Senate 's 19th District, for his past life as a bodybuilder. It featured an unflattering, black-and-white photograph of London wearing a torn t-shirt around bulging muscles, which the mailer called an “actual photo.” It made reference to an offhand remark London made that read, “I like it when women look at me in disgust and fear,” attempting to label London as little more than a misogynistic heathen, when the quote was actually attributed to a 2007 self-characterization spoof he wrote for, in reference to his his life as a bodybuilder.
“Dear Jack, You want us to fear you?” the mailer then read. “Interesting platform. Well, mission accomplished.” It was signed, “No thank you, Women of Chester County.”
The mailer unfairly painted London, the opponent of current State Sen. Andy Dinniman, as a Trump-like thug when, in truth, London is a family man with a wife and daughter, who has received the endorsement of several women who have posted their positive remarks on his website. 
Most recently, residents cracked open their mailbox again, only to find yet another photograph of London from his weightlifting days, imposed on an 8 1/2” x 11” mailer designed to resemble a Wheaties box. It again portrayed London in a negative light, both in photo and in print. Referring to London's past – and relatively minor – financial infractions, it attempted to illustrate London as a bill dodger – someone who can't be trusted with the financial keys to Harrisburg.
On its website, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, headed by Chairman Marcel Groen, says that its mission is to elect public servants and fight for the Democratic ideal “that, in America, everyone has a right to go as far as their natural abilities and perseverance will take them.”
If their principles are to truly hold to that ideal, then the Pennsylvania Democratic Party should be severely admonished for neglecting them in their cheap, tawdry attempt to discredit a worthy Republican opponent.
In the end, those from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party are sure to call their tactics just another example of modern politics, but examples such as these do not serve to strengthen the public's trust. They drive us further away. In the end, the best form of retaliation to these childish antics is not to further criticize the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, but to present them with the exact words that came just before Ms. Obama's marching orders:

“That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight, how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level.”