‘I could have stayed and listened for another hour or two.’
So remarked one attendee at the Oct 8 political forum sponsored by the Susquehanna Valley Conservatives and held at the Campus Theater in Lewisburg.
For 90 minutes, Gary Sojka, retired President of Bucknell University, guided four top panelists – two liberals and two conservatives – as they presented their ‘Vision for America’ to a packed house. Sojka did a superb job handling the sometimes reasonable, sometimes contentious give and take between panelists; and, later in the evening, as the audience grew more vocal at points made by either side.
Susquehanna Valley Conservatives offers sincere thanks to Dr Sojka.
Retired Bucknell professors John Peeler and Peter Kresl (speaking for the liberal side) and Ana Puig and Andre Harper (for the conservatives), held the attention of approximately 330 attendees as they each offered an opening statement, then posed questions back and forth, seeking to draw distinctions between their vision and that of their opponents.
Peeler and Kresl presented liberalism from a historical perspective, going back to its roots in activism against the ‘Mercantilist State’, when people banded together to fight against exploitation by the merchant class. They moved forward on the timeline – through the rise of labor unions, to Keynesian economics in which government seeks to ‘guide’ economies by expenditure of public funds – to Roosevelt’s New Deal.
On the conservative side, Puig immediately made the case against re-electing the president, citing her experience immigrating to America to escape a socialist government, her travels around the world where she has observed socialist/Marxist governments and their impact on nations. Puig’s passion about not wanting to see America go into a state of decline by following the same path was evident in her presentation.
Andre Harper described his life on, and escape from, the streets of West Palm Beach. He cited his ‘awakening’ when Rev Jesse Jackson came to Florida A & M to talk ‘politics’ with students. Harper, a student leader for the Democratic Party at the time, was taken aback when Jackson spoke to black students, not about issues of the day, but only from a perspective of how those students were being exploited – how they owed blind allegiance – to the Democratic Party. His conclusion, and the main theme of his presentation – liberals are racists because they seek to continue to oppress minorities under the guise of ‘helping’ them.
Sparks flew near the end of the give and take when Puig drew a comparison between liberals and Communists. Dr Kresl took exception to that comparison – to which Harper shot back that liberals ‘can dish it out but they can’t take it.’
Susquehanna Valley Conservations sincerely thanks the panelists for their participation and the audience for their interest. Our Founding Fathers saw the need for an informed electorate as one of the linchpins of democracy. The SVC meeting on October 8 shows that residents of the Susquehanna Valley are willing to discharge that responsibility.
Pictures of the forum can be viewed here
SVC National Debt Tracker
Due to the full agenda for this meeting, national debt data was not presented.
Next Monthly Meeting
Next monthly meeting will be held Monday, November 19. Please note this is a change to the 3rd Monday of November, rather than the 2nd Monday because November 12 is Veterans Day
DEMOCRACY IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT