By: Rep. Jerry Knowles – 124th Legislative District
Where have the days gone of civility in not only our political process, but of simply interacting with one another? The days are long gone of individuals being able to compromise with each other and work together. The sense of community has been lost.
As a former legislative staffer, mayor, Schuylkill County commissioner, and now, as state representative, I have seen the tone shift dramatically – not for the good. I was fortunate to have seen the days where there was not a massive political partisan divide between everyone. Individuals were able to work together to get the job done.
I think back to the days of President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill. Both were prominent and powerful men of two different political parties and backgrounds. Two men who often fought during work hours for their political agendas, but after 6 p.m. their friendship would start.
O’Neill’s son once wrote an article for The New York Times, titled “Frenemies: A Story,” outlining the relationship his father and the president shared. The Speaker’s son, Thomas P. O’Neill III mentioned, “While neither man embraced the other’s worldview, each respected the other’s right to hold it. Each respected the other as a man.”
We all need to get back to the days of being able to have logical disagreements at work about reasonable things, but realizing we are all human. Seeing the humanity in one another and being able to compromise will truly allow us to prosper within our communities and as a Commonwealth.
I look forward to going to work every day and working to bringing back logic, civility, common sense, and compromise when possible.
Representative Jerry Knowles
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Matthew Deegan