by Sue Ann Rybak
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf told an audience of more than 300 people at Indivisible: Northwest Philly’s March 12 meeting at the Unitarian Church of Germantown that it’s time “to take this nation back.”
“What you are looking to do is nothing less than secure the future of this country,” said the state’s Democratic governor. “In a democracy, what we need to do all the time is participate – it’s incumbent upon all of us to really act as citizens.”
Indivisible: Northwest Philly is just one of the hundreds of groups across the country that are mobilizing under the name “Indivisible,” a nationwide progressive movement whose strategies are built around the Indivisible Guide, an online resource written by former Congressional staffers outlining the most effective way to mobilize Congress to resist Trump’s agenda.
The guide draws from the successful approach of the Tea Party, whose resistance led to the effective takeover of the Republican Party and the election of Donald Trump.”
Wolf told the audience that he intends to veto Senate Bill 3, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, except in rare medical emergencies. The bill would ban abortions in the case of “rape, incest, health or tragic anomalies.”
“We need to resist [Trump’s agenda], but we also need to create a healthy vision through an alternative because the progressive vision makes sense,” he said. “We need a national healthcare solution. Nobody is saying Obamacare is perfect, but under the Affordable Care Act, we now have 700,000 Pennsylvanians who now have health insurance just over the last two years who didn’t have it before.”
Wolf said the GOP’s proposed healthcare plan to replace the Affordable Care Act would cut health care for the nation’s most vulnerable residents – including children, seniors and individuals suffering from alcohol and drug addiction.
He said the plan would essentially replace subsidies with an “age tax.”
“The American Health Care Act would allow insurance companies to charge people between the age of 55 and 64 five times more for the exact same coverage and would cut subsidies for seniors,” he said.
Wolf pledged to resist any efforts to “go back on things that really made America great.”
“If you really want America to be great, let’s create a society based on the core values that make us great – fairness and equality,” he said.
Wolf said he has tried to “create an alternative to the nonsense that other side has founded” by investing more in education, seniors and programs that address the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania.
“President Trump has threatened who we are as Americans,” he added.
The Governor encouraged attendees to resist what the Republican Party is trying to impose on Americans “because this is not who we are.” Wolf told the packed audience that Democrats need to be the party that gets things done and “shows them the way to the future we actually want.”
State Rep. Chris Rabb, of the 200th Legislative District, also attended the Sunday afternoon meeting.
“This is one of the many groundswells of meaningful activism, expressions of solidarity and resistance to our extremist right wing administration – and rededicating ourselves to participatory democracy – that will make America great again,” he said in an interview before the meeting.
Larry West, a Republican committeeman, said he attended the meeting to find out more information about Indivisible: Northwest Philly.
“I’m not a fan of Trump, and if there are ways to bring accountability to his administration, I’m interested,” said the 32-year-old Mt. Airy resident. “It was great seeing people who care and want accountability from their elected officials.
“People need to stay active, but the key is to stay informed on the local level as well,” said West, a local artist. “It’s great to know what’s happening nationally, but the bad policies and corruption that’s happening locally is incredibly important to stay aware of, too.”
He added that he wished the governor had “stayed for questions [after his speech], especially for a crowd that seemed thrilled to see him there.”
Barbara Adolphe, 69, who recently moved to Mt. Airy from New Jersey, said after Donald Trump was elected, she was “in shock” and felt isolated because she didn’t know many people in her new neighborhood.
“I quickly realized that Mt Airy, Chestnut Hill and the surrounding communities are filled with diverse residents who care about each other, our country and our planet,” she said.
Adolphe said Sunday’s Indivisible meeting was “productive and energizing” and “as a result of the talks by Governor Wolf, Rep. Rabb and the amazingly dedicated Indivisible volunteers,” she is currently “working with others to preserve our democracy and help immigrants” through Indivisible: Northwest Philly and other community organizations.
For more information about Indivisible: Philly NW, go to https://www.facebook.com/pg/IndivisiblePhiladelphiaNorthwest/about/?ref=page_internal
Sue Ann Rybak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-248-8804