In this modern day of mud-slinging, "pick me, the other guy is a bum" political climate, I have discovered a remedy. It is called research. I must admit it was a medication that I waited far too long to use.
One recent example was when we received a political postcard in the mail from U.S. Senatorial candidate Tom Smith attacking his Republican opponent, Sam Rohrer.
The thrust of the message was Sam Rohrer voted for the "midnight pay raise" in 2005, asking, "Is this really who you want to represent you in Washington?" It is easy to take the criticism at face value and to become appalled, but as my grandmother used to remind me, "There are at least two sides to every story."
I chose to dig deeper to find more facts. This is what I discovered. Indeed there was a pay raise vote in 2005 that took place in Harrisburg where Rohrer was tricked into voting "Yes." Here is "the rest of the story."
Mr. Rohrer was involved for many months drafting legislation to ease and eliminate property taxes for Pennsylvania home owners. The political reality is many bills die due to lack of legislative support. The Rohrer proposal seemed to be gaining some by-partisan support. His bill was bundled with the "pay raise bill" without his foreknowledge or his consent.
Rohrer was then assured that if he voted yes to the "pay raise," it would virtually assure the passage of his bill. Rohrer did vote yes under the misguided premises. The eyebrow raising was because some language was inserted to make the "pay raise" retroactive. What this Legislature did was both unethical and unconstitutional.
The members voted on an additional provision that allowed the sitting state legislators to take the newly-voted pay raise immediately - in the form of unvouchered expenses.
Sam expressed fervent opposition to, and voted "No" on the unvouchered expense provision on the basis of its unconstitutionality. The unvouchered expense provision passed despite Sam's vehement protests.
When Sam had discovered he was deceived with the underhanded methodology, he was disturbed by his vote. Within 24 hours, Mr. Rohrer began work to repeal the bill. Additionally, he was one of a few legislators who agreed to not accept any of the "pay raise" money. In summary, Mr. Rohrer immediately took quick decisive action to correct an error in judgment that he regretted. Further, Sam has given a full public apology for his vote.
I truly wish more legislators would own up when they make mistakes and work to reverse their mistakes. Sam stands far above most legislators. As for Mr. Smith's tactics, well he forced me into researching the truth about Mr. Rohrer. This proved Mr. Rohrer to be even better than what I knew before. And I still know nothing about Mr. Smith's vision for the future. Does this qualify him to serve? You decide. As for me, I will vote the truth that my research has led me to. My research has found Sam Rohrer is the most honest and competent statesman our state has produced in decades.