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Adriana E. Ramirez: The Elections Demonstrated That Pennsylvania Can Still Be My Home

My husband has been threatening to relocate our family out of Pennsylvania if Doug Mastriano is elected governor for several weeks. We are Jews. I’m a newcomer. I sometimes give lectures at colleges. We have books by Claudia Rankine, Ralph Ellison, and Toni Morrison on our shelves.

 Whatever my own views on abortion, I truly think that everyone has the right to make their own decisions. No matter how they love or identify, every person has the right to happiness in this world, according to our family.

These opinions turn me into an enemy in the eyes of several local Republicans that I know. I don’t want to leave, either; I genuinely adore Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and my home. I’ve been hoping for weeks that the polls would be off, that logic would win out, and that the candidate who detested me would lose; I’ve been praying that my state wanted me to be here.

I should note that I have raised a Republican. And in a perfect world, I would be admitting to being a moderate to you right now. I typically have the ability to see both sides of a situation. However, right-wing Republican talking points have turned many like me off. I’m not alone either.

There were other people considering leaving besides my family. Even my bladder had to wait this morning as I checked my phone as soon as my eyes opened. Before I went to sleep at about midnight, I needed to confirm what I thought I had seen. It wasn’t a dream for Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman to win. Nothing that occurred during the night could have undone it, and the findings were supported by all reliable sources.

I offered a prayer of gratitude. My city, my neighbors, and my neighborhood are all incredibly nice. Home is here. But there was something more there under my relief. The figures made me hesitate. Why was the race even somewhat competitive? Why support a candidate who openly advocated blurring the barrier between church and state by 42% of Pennsylvanians? Why did those who were supposed to care the most about the Constitution support a candidate who wished to undermine a fundamental aspect of American democracy?

I fervently hope that Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Fetterman can foster better relations among Pennsylvanians. To mend the rifts that separate us rather than fan the flames of conflict, I hope they view it as their mission. To be fair, Mr. Shapiro is a capable bureaucrat who centered his campaign on how he is a calm and sympathetic person. He’s not ideal, but for the time being, he’s all we have.

The problem is that we ought to have better options. Instead of putting forward extremists who run on a platform of retribution and persecution, the Republican Party ought to field great statesmen. Instead of solidifying our ideas, opposition ought to improve us and make us reflect on our errors.

The notion of compromise, though, scares me right now. We shouldn’t be so terrified of the other side winning; it shouldn’t be that way. However, fear may be a powerful motivator. The midterm election turnout this year has been dubbed “record-breaking” by analysts. Many people believed that the fate of democracy was at stake. That seems even more unbelievable the more I consider it.

The commentators will make every effort to explain the outcomes. They’ll claim that Mr. Fetterman was carried by Mr. Shapiro. That Mr. Mastriano brought Mr. Oz down. They’ll mention suburban women in the Philadelphia region (thanks! ), as well as how abortion, immigration, and government spending are divisive issues.

In my opinion, Older folks tend to dislike more than younger people do. Younger generations were raised in the lawless acropolis of the internet and other forms of limited lawlessness. We’ve learned to avoid radical content and to adore memes with a wide audience.

We’re the first generation that won’t fare as well financially as the ones who came before us since many of us had to borrow money from our parents, most of us lived beyond our means, and we’ve all lived beyond our means. We owe older Americans debt, a world that is dying, and a lifetime of war.

John Fetterman obviously appealed to us. Doug Mastriano obviously didn’t. Our unofficial catchphrase is “You do you, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.” Whatever the reason, Pennsylvania voters have rejected radicalism in this midterm election. They disapproved of anti-Semitism. They have rejected the abolition of transgender and reproductive rights.

Today, the world seems a little less frightening to a great number of us. All morning long, my spouse has been humming, content to stay put. There’s a great chance here. There is a potential for Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman to accomplish something for all Pennsylvanians.

We have a different type of politician in Mr. Fetterman. He’s not a “yes” man, and I hope he will occasionally oppose his own party. I can’t wait to see him in a well-fitting suit. Regarding Mr. Shapiro, I’m glad he’ll be in charge. He will need to work across the aisle to accomplish any significant legislation because the Democratic majority in the state House and the Republican majority in the state Senate are both slim.

But Republicans in Pennsylvania have the best chance. The state GOP needs to reorganize and reinvent itself so that sensible moderates will even consider it. Maybe they should concentrate more on what they can genuinely provide rather than spending so much time trying to deny others their rights.

This dysfunctional two-party system was left to us. We will sometimes have to hold our noses when voting until there is a strong third party. I sincerely hope that is what 2.2 million Pennsylvanians did when choosing Mr. Mastriano as their candidate.

We can only wait and watch what transpires, as well as what Mr. Shapiro and Mr. Fetterman choose to accomplish while occupying the center stage of politics. There is a lot of work to be done. I will be appreciative of the brief silence, the chance to think about anything else, and the boxes I won’t have to pack in the interim until the campaigns pick back up for 2024. Award-winning author Adriana E. Ramrez resides in Pittsburgh.

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