Potter protesters are misinformed
I was terribly saddened, shocked, and appalled that a small group gathered to hurl insults and hateful speech during Friday night of the Harry Potter Festival. Because the hateful group framed their abuse in language from the extreme end of the Christian religion, I felt compelled to respond. I feel it is important to say not only that this group is terribly misguided, but that they are also misinformed.
The Harry Potter books present a highly moral universe where love, redemption, and resurrection square off against the forces of death, hate, and corruption. Sound familiar? It should. These are deeply Christian themes. Just like the Narnia books, these fantasies support and enliven faith and the imagination of the faithful.
Any story that depicts friendship, loyalty, courage, self-sacrifice, persistence, and truth-telling as vividly as the Harry Potter stories only supports and enhances a moral vision of the world. These stories particularly captured the imagination of a generation of young people thirsty for the core Gospel message of love, justice, and peace. Christian people should welcome these books as a gift.
As much as I was saddened by the purveyors of hate, I was deeply inspired by and commend our neighbors who organized a nonviolent response that hemmed in the agitators. Well done!
Your local Muggle Priest,
the Rev. Jarrett Kerbel
Rector, Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Thanks to police for festival management
On behalf of the residents, businesses, and institutions in Chestnut Hill, the Chestnut Hill Community Association would like to thank 14th Police District Captain John Hearn and the police force for their planning and fine work with the Harry Potter festival zone and crowd management.
While this event is organized by the business district, the satisfaction of our residents is our shared interest, as we not only live here but are the shoppers and supporters of our business community on a daily basis. The 14th District’s efforts ensured that we were not greatly impacted by the influx of visitors descending on our beautiful town and could experience the magic of the fan fest ourselves. Kudos for a job well done!
Danger cones not needed for Hill bank
Last week I watched the workers who were marking up the sidewalk and placing danger cones off the curb in front of the Wells Fargo Bank branch at 8527 Germantown Ave. The bank is one of 770 branches of Wells Fargo where entrances are being changed to accommodate ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) rules.
But this isn’t necessary here! This is a cookie-cutter solution for a neighborhood that is critically organized around historic beauty and architectural history. This bank does not need a formulaic façade like the others off a checklist! Can you do anything in time before the thick marble steps with bullnose corners are removed permanently? Urgent.
The difference a year makes
This time last year I was getting geared up for everyone’s favorite election: President. I had my lawn signs, set my monthly recurring donations and checked daily stats via Nate Silver’s blog. Like some of my friends I wasn’t super excited to vote for Hillary, but I was excited about the prospect of our first female president and of course anyone but president p—- grabber (remember, his words).
As election day grew closer, I was convinced our country would never elect a narcissistic man child with no experience in the job he was applying for. For me it would be like hiring a pastry chef who only worked at Barnum and Bailey.
He was the polar opposite of the near superhero status of Barack Obama. He would be following a class act: a man who is a loving father and a devoted respectful husband who has empathy and compassion for our country’s citizens and who truly believes in equality for all. Not to mention – but I will – a lawyer who is an expert on the Constitution and had been dedicated to serving his country for years.
Boy, the pendulum really swung hard in the wrong direction on Nov. 8, 2016. My night began with a gathering of a few friends to watch history being made with the first female president. The night ended early with tears and a friend curled up in my spare bedroom in the fetal position.
I happened to have a doctor’s appointment scheduled a few days later and found myself crying uncontrollably when my doc asked me how I was feeling. She had a box of tissues and a script for Wellbutrin ready for me. I gathered she had seen a lot of that. As someone with a ton of responsibilities and stress in her life, this was the last straw for me, and meds needed to be called in.
The tears continued for quite a while and bled into my work life. Luckily, the overwhelming majority of my customers were in shock and tears also. We commiserated together, shared info about protests, which congressmen to call, and encouraged each other to call weekly. This week the conversation is about voting next Tuesday and how incredibly important every vote will be to see positive change.
In one year the change we have seen is alarming. White supremacists have found their ugly hateful voices, and the White House squatters are trying to turn back progress on healthcare, labor standards, environmental protections and women’s rights to name a few.
On the other hand it is heartening that the once largely conservative Chestnut Hill has become one of the most progressive neighborhoods in the country. It is evidenced by many clues, including the vast number of “hate has no home here” lawn signs, support of a very progressive mayor and hopefully Krasner as the next DA.
And as the very clever Andy Borowitz recently wrote, “White House rejects supremacist label: no one has done more than Trump to prove white people are not superior.”
Owner, Night Kitchen Bakery
Much at stake on Election Day
On Nov. 7, Pennsylvanians will have the chance to bring more balance to the state appellate court system and elect new and exciting candidates.
One thing we have learned in the tumultuous Trump era has been the importance of an independent judiciary. Given the lopsided margins in the General Assembly, it is all the more important to ensure that our judiciary is fair and balanced. If we as a society care about individual rights and freedoms, we must ensure that we have an independent judiciary. That is why this election cycle is so important. With both houses of the General Assembly dominated by the Republican Party thanks to some of the worst gerrymandering in the nation, the judiciary must be available to operate as a check on extreme legislation.
Both the Superior and Commonwealth Courts are dominated by one-party Republican rule. If we ever want to address the anti-democratic gerrymandering that has infected our state, we must bring balance to our judiciary. I urge you to vote for the four Democrats running for the Superior Court. Democrats Maria McLaughlin, Carolyn Nichols, Deborah Kunselman, and Geoffrey Moulton are well- qualified and strong candidates. For the Commonwealth Court, please vote local resident Ellen Ceisler, as well as Irene Clark. Both women will bring intelligence and integrity to the Court. Finally, I urge you to vote for Dwayne Woodruff, who would be only the second African American to sit on the Supreme Court. Dwayne put himself through law school at night while playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers (no one is perfect) and is an exciting candidate. Also Deborah Todd, a Democrat with bipartisan appeal is up for retention and deserves your vote.
Finally, for District Attorney and Comptroller we have the option to vote for well- qualified agents of change. Larry Krasner, a fine man with great integrity surprised all the pundits and won a tremendous victory in the Democratic primary. He will bring change and reform to our broken criminal justice system. Rebecca Rhynhart also surprised the powers that be in staging an upset victory. She deserves your vote.
These off-year elections usually get little attention and relatively low turnout. I urge you to come out and exercise your constitutional right no matter what you decide.
Democratic Committeeperson, 9th Ward