We are getting down to the primary in Pennsylvania. Since I am still a Democrat, I get calls from the party trying to win my support for their candidates. There are four Democrats trying to take on Gov. Tom Corbett.
Gov. Corbett stripped school funding during his first term as governor. It got so bad that last summer an almost equal amount of money was cut from the Philadelphia school district as was given to expand and update Graterford State Prison. (This is when I started to think about running for the State House and got summarily banned from the party headquarters.)
All the Democratic candidates are clamoring to bring the money back to the public schools. And all of them want to frack to fund the schools. Yes, frack your way to an education! I hope there are lessons about how you can have all the money in the world, but if you don't have potable water, you are going to die.
Forget the idea that we need to frack; that was brought to you by the mind-numbing ads with the pretty pictures of how pipes are going to go under our water supply and suck out all the energy. So after the energy gets sucked out, what happens when we get earthquakes? And when our groundwater water from the top mixes with the fracking slurry (that the industry refuses to disclose the contents of)?
I guess we will need a strong educational system to quickly figure out how to genetically modify all of us on the fly so that we can drink this stuff.
At last summer's Pennsylvania Democratic Party meeting the committee acquiesced to the fracking protestors. The committee passed a motion saying they would not support any candidate who is for fracking.
I got a phone call from an erstwhile supporter of one of the candidates. "We can take on Tom Corbett," the caller said.
"OK, but doesn't your candidate want to use taxes collected from fracking to do this?"
"Yes, and we will tax them more than anyone else."
"But what good are the taxes if we do not have water to drink?"
"All the Democratic candidates want to use fracking."
"Maybe the solution to the problem lies outside the Democratic Party."
The canvasser just blew by that comment. It is almost as though the hunt for the victory blinds the players to what they are winning. "There are five legitimate candidates running between the two parties," he continued. "Whoever wins will be for fracking."
I was thinking, This is how he is going to win me over? "So, you are offering me a choice of being shot, strangled, poisoned, garroted, or thrown in a wood-chipper?"
He chuckled the chuckle of "uh-oh."
"Look," I pressed, "the moment you tax these clowns, you legitimize them."
I don't think the volunteers have thought through the fact that the frackers will have a PR bonanza once the taxes are levied. They can run good-guy commercials about saving the public schools. Enjoy your fields of bubbling methane. Centralia will become a Sunday barbecue.
After I hit the canvasser with the State Committee thing and questions about how they are going to jibe a vote from last summer with a candidate who wants to physically destabilize the Commonwealth, I went for broke: "Look, you are calling people enabling someone to run for office who will destroy the environment. Doesn't that weigh on your conscience as a Democrat?"
"We are just talking past each other now."
"Then I would suggest you spend some time and think about what you are doing here. Sleep on it. You are really damaging the environment. If the candidate isn't going to listen to someone like me, or the State Democratic Committee, maybe you can get through to them as one of their volunteers."
I don't know if anything got in, but the call made me realize how unbelievably sold-out the state has become. It solidified for me the simple fact that I cannot vote for any of these people.
The only way to get rid of the frackers is to tax them into leaving. It should be pretty easy to make the case for taxing them into oblivion because we will need the money to remedy the damage the fracking industry is causing the environment.
If fracking were not an option, how would we fund our schools? There is no shortcut; we need to raise taxes if we want them. We need to raise the taxes to fix the educational environment that Tom Corbett traded for cell blocks. It is called responsibility.
It was a mistake to defund the schools to get prisons. You can't make another mistake by destroying the water tables to bring back the schools.
I might be writing in someone else for the primary....