A few days ago, I received a letter from Mr. Peduto thanking me for attending a house meeting in my neighborhood. This is how he signed off:
“Together we can move Pittsburgh forward. Together we can win. I look forward to working closely alongside you to help build a New Pittsburgh.”
Today I received the acknowledge of my campaign contribution which I have to admit was a big chunk for me to fork over. It was incorrectly adddressed so I called the campaign to get that corrected. During the course of that conversation, I was fed the whole party line about the reasons why it was in Pittsburgh's best interest for Mr. Peduto to withdraw from the race and why I should still be a true believer.
It just made me angrier. Its almost as if I am supposed to just stuff my feelings down and take one for the team with just the slightest suggestion that actually *criticizing* Bill Peduto is a big fat no-no. Good girls/progressives don't. I'm supposed to suck it up and go to bat for other progressive candidates.
Fuck that. While my learned blogging colleagues around the burghosphere explore the political underbelly of recent events, critique the media response and go all cosa nostra on the Ravenstahl administration, I sit here at my computer staring at these two letters just FEELING ANGRY. It has only been three days after all. I'm allowed to be angry. It is a healthy response to betrayal. Oops, did I say that? I mean to tacitly accepting the status quo with regard to Allegheny County Dem politics.
Its only two years, the staffer told me. I'm 36. Two years is a still a proportionately decent amount of my lifetime. It is 24 months of my payroll taxes and property taxes and sweat equity. It is countless community meetings and volunteer hours and meals in locally owned restaurants and purchases in local businesses.
It is two more years of endless telephone calls to Luke's Folly (aka 311) about dumping, dog fighting, marijuana sales, runaway girls, and overgrown lawns. It is several years of calling 911 from my cell phone so the cops don't show up on my door and rat me out to the local dealers (if they show up). Its probably another few years of the house next door to me remaining unsold, unkempt and unattractive. Oh, and that holds true for the other 10 houses for sale on my street.
Two years is how long it might take for Allegheny County's anti-street violence project to actually try and intervene with the young men on our street. Of course, in two years they could all be in jail anyway and who needs to worry then?
Two more years of driving out to the Giant Eagle on Camp Horne Road because its clean AND prostitute free. On a bright note, with extra daylight it is safer to go to our Northside Giant Eagle a bit later in the evening (per the jitney drivers who have urged me away at times).
So, Mr. Peduto, I look forward to a New Pittsburgh, too. But over the next two years, I'm going to have to put all my energies into just keeping body and soul together here in my inner-city neighborhood. I'm one of the lucky ones who has a two income family and the privileges of being white. You may not have noticed that most of the people who showed up at our little neighborhood meeting were white, most of us yuppies. The following week at another community meeting, the reverse was true. But you weren't there. Neither was our actual city council rep (Ms. Payne) or our state rep (Ms. Wagner) or our senator (Mr. Fontana). I wonder why they couldn't make it?
So while I appreciate the genuine sentiment of Mr. Peduto's campaign worker, I disagree with her philosophy. She asked me to keep an open mind. I blew a gasket at that and have to give her credit for listening to me. My mind is open.
It is my heart that is closed.