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True spirit of an American president

What follows below is the real spirit of the true American president and every true American citizen. Not a corrupt Marxist thief who stole the would-be elected position through vote fraud and now seeks to coerce free American citizens to become feudal serfs under the thumb of tyrannical government bureaucrats, but a freedom-loving, citizen-loving, Constitution-loving American through-and-through.

An order of April 6, 1779, issued in Boston and now preserved in the Emmet Collection of the New York Public Library (also on display in Morristown, New Jersey), describes in detail the required arms and accouterments of that day (1779) for America citizens. Its spelling is of that time:

To Shrimpton Hutchinson Esq.
SIR,

You are hereby ordered and directed, to compleat yourself with ARMS and Accoutrements, by the 12th Instant, upon failure thereof, you are liable to a FINE of THREE POUNDS; and for every Sixty Days after, a FINE OF SIX POUNDS, agreable to Law.

Articles of Equipment,

A good Fire-Arm, with a Steel or Iron Ram-Rod, and a Spring to retain the same, a Worm, Priming wire and Brash, and a Bayonet fitted to your GUN, a Scabbard and Belt therefor, and a Cutting Sword, or a Tomahawk or Hatchet, a Poach containing a Cartridge Box, that will hold fifteen Rounds of Cartridges at least, a hundred Buck Shot, a Jack-Knife and Tow for Wadding, six Flints, one pound powder, forty Leaden Balls fitted to your GUN, a Knapsack and Blanket a Canteen or Wooden Bottle sufficient to hold one Quart.

In other words, our American citizen, Shrimpton Hutchinson [fabulous name!], Esq., was commanded by his government to prepare for war against enemies both foreign (British Redcoats) and domestic (anti-freedom, anti-America Tories/Royalists/Loyalists), by assembling his own personal war-making weapons and equipment. Notably a military-grade firearm and all of its necessities, plus what we would today call hiking and camping gear for Mister Hutchinson’s time afield as a citizen soldier.

This fierce founding spirit, strong among those who first created America, in its general sense and in its particular military-grade gear requirement, is still alive among those Americans who do not take our freedoms or founding principles for granted. We who embody this spirit today know that tyranny is always just one generation away, because unfortunately, a proportion of humans are always power-crazed control freaks, who will not rest until they have every person under their thumb and absolute control. It is just the nature of some people to be bad this way, and it is therefore the duty of freedom-loving people to reject and sometimes legally or even physically repel those bad people.

In this vein, several months ago, Pennsylvania attorney Josh Prince won a significant lawsuit about the ownership and use of private firearms here in Harrisburg, with implications for holding over-reaching, anti-freedom government bureaucrats accountable across the entire Commonwealth. In a nutshell, the Court held that Pennsylvania’s firearm pre-emption law means exactly what it says, which is that local municipalities cannot create a 2,500-municipality crazy patchwork of firearm regulations here, any more than local municipalities can create such a patchwork of abortion regulations or approved books regulations etc.

I am the Harrisburg City plaintiff in this lawsuit, brought and paid for by Firearm Owners Against Crime, a group of which I am a life member. Although I am not presently bearing arms against tyrants like our patriot friend Shrimpton Hutchinson in 1779, I am part of the ongoing legal contest to preserve the basic rights of free American citizens to own and bear military-grade firearms for our own self-preservation.

The irony of this is that I actually do not like or enjoy military-grade firearms. My greatest personal enjoyment and use of firearms is the old muzzle loaders and black powder cartridge sporting firearms of the 1770s through about 1910. It is that spirit of free choice you have between one firearm and another that I defend and promote.

Hopefully soon, America will have a person in the Oval Office worthy of being called President (and not President* or pResident), a person in and on whom the spirit of our founding principles sits deeply. A person who not only trusts his fellow citizens with military grade firearms, and who sees America as a government Of, By and For The People, but as in 1779 he demands that they personally keep and own such firearms at home and on their person, to be prepared always to use them in defense of America.

The spirit of America – a worker leaving his office while preparing to repel lawless tyrants. This is where your freedom comes from

Great American Outdoor Show is on

This is a fake rhino, not a real one. It’s meant to provide people a realistic trophy without actually killing a living animal

Pro-America, pro-fair elections hats are highly popular with this audience

Right now I’m sitting in a nice old fashioned wooden rocking chair in the Farm Show complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at the Great American Outdoor Show. Been chatting with each successive guy who sits in the rocking chair to my left about every ten minutes. We all agree America is in huge trouble, and we worry about our kids’ future.

Surrounded by “Make My Day Come And Take Them” tee shirts, holsters, every type of firearm accoutrement, custom knives, lots of firearms manufacturers hawking their wares, many NRA staff, the top hunting guides and outfitters in America and Canada, outdoor clothing, RVs, ATVs, boats, boots, bows, trucks, campers, kayaks, anoraks, and exotic stuffed animals both real and fake, I am totally in my element.

If you enjoy the outdoors, and all-America types, this is the place to be. It runs through this coming Sunday, and I hope to see you here.

 

Hunting/ retrieving dog competition pool

This is the self-proclaimed “Selfie Stand” where visitors are invited to document their visit. So I did

 

 

 

Rockville’s big tree

Every year over the past ten years around Christmas a family in the Rockville neighborhood north of Harrisburg has put up a beautiful light array on their yard tree.
It’s now so pretty that people come from all around to admire it. It’s one of those small local things that brings a community together. I like sharing it here.

Citizen wave arrests aggressive elites

If yesterday’s amazing election results show anything, it is that Mister and Missus America have had enough and are fed up with aggressive cultural elites. It also shows that stolen elections have consequences, because when election thieves actually believe that their un-just, unconstitutional, coerced, forced, aggressive policies are justified by the fake “mandate” they never got through the election they never won, they get some come-uppance.

And this, despite their best efforts to steal yet more elections, as in Fairfax County, Virginia, being oh-so-sadly unable to show their election results on Election Day. The corrupt Democrat Party stronghold county did their level best to hide, manufacture, fake and lie and cheat and steal more votes to get candidate governor Terry Macauliffe over the finish line, but they failed.

Republican Youngkin won the Virginia governorship, and Republicans swept Virginia’s other offices from stem to stern. And again, this is despite the rampant vote stealing there that a corrupt judge OK’d at the last minute yesterday.

Republicans won in Democrat Party strongholds across the east coast yesterday, showing that regular old Americans are fed up, even Democrat Party members, with the wild communist policy overreach that has come to mark the Democrat Party today. This is the proverbial “citizen wave” that anyone with any connection to working people could see coming ten miles away, and which is still building up steam and coming even harder in 2022.

Here in Harrisburg outgoing mayor Eric Papenfuse attempted a write-in campaign to hold on to his office. Despite doing well as write-in efforts go, he nonetheless gathered about 33% of the vote, and Wanda Williams will move in to the mayor’s office. I give Eric credit for trying, as he cheerfully handed out literature at our polling place yesterday. But after eight years of indistinct presence in the mayor’s office, it is time to let someone else have a try at it. Hopefully Wanda will do better than Eric, and do better than her Democrat Party would want her to do.

Outgoing Harrisburg mayor Eric Papenfuse cheerfully running a write-in campaign for mayor on Election Day 2021.

 

 

Carlisle’s “Truth & Reconciliation Commission”

Carlisle, Pennsylvania, is home to the northern-most military attack by Confederacy troops during the first (or second, if you justifiably count the Revolutionary War as the first one) Civil War. It also houses Dickinson College, the Dickinson School of Law, the Army War College, and the Letort spring creek, one of central PA’s better native trout fisheries. But now, Carlisle is even more infamous.

Last month, the Carlisle borough council passed a resolution establishing a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” with the purported purpose of “improving racial justice and racial equity within the scope and jurisdiction of the borough council…including policies, practices and actions that have contributed to racial inequity and systemic racism.”

How refreshing this is. Really, I mean it, I am not being snarky here. This commission is a huge step forward for white liberals/leftists/ Democrat Party members to begin their inward-looking process of accepting the corrosive effects of their own racist white liberal thinking that has so badly damaged every minority in America since 1865.

Because the Democrats never forgave the Republicans for taking away their slaves in 1865, the Democrat Party has ever since losing that Civil War devoted itself for 155 years to regaining power, re-asserting slavery and control every way possible, over as many Americans as possible. They used Jim Crow laws, the Ku Klux Klan, lynchings, burnings, the poll tax, and a slew of other patently illegal and undemocratic ploys to keep American blacks from voting. And despite all of these methods being morally wrong and illegal (so is stealing elections), the empirical evidence visible to everyone’s eyes is that the Democrat Party has been wildly successful.

One way we can measure white liberals’ success in achieving their 1865 goal of re-establishing slavery and racial inequity is by the huge number of American cities, municipalities, and boroughs today that are majority minority (mostly black or Latino), bankrupt, violent, high-tax, low-municipal services, financially and socially failed, and which are nonetheless run by white liberals.

My own city of Harrisburg is like this, filled up with poverty-stricken minorities and kept that way decade-by-decade by their white liberal slave owners. Oh sure, the poor minorities are thrown tidbits of welfare and taxpayer support by the white liberals, but they are never allowed to leave. Any black or Latino who dares to speak out against white liberal racism is denounced as…a racist. By white liberals, no less. This same situation is found elsewhere, notably Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Saint Louis, etc.

Another way of measuring the Democrat Party’s inbred lust for absolute power and coercive control over every breathing and dead person is their stolen 2020 election, from which the they have launched an all-out assault on the individual freedoms enshrined in the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence, through a multi-prong effort to white-out Free Speech, Self Defense, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Religion, and a whole host of other absolute rights. It is mind-boggling how in just a few months America’s white liberals have designed a totalitarian federal government that fits every American like a glove. It is almost like they have been thinking about this for a very long time…but hey, when you are looking to expand your pool of slaves from 40 million to 340 million, ya gotta go big, and so that is what the Democrat Party has done. Enslave an entire nation, to big coercive, forceful, unaccountable, unjust, lawless, untouchable federal government.

So this racial justice business in Carlisle offers its white liberal progenitors some real tangible opportunity to come clean, to own up, to ask for forgiveness for the sins of generations of white liberals. For all the pain and suffering they have inflicted upon American blacks, especially, the forced inter-generational dependence on white liberals, and the forced failure, so that dependent minorities never, ever escape their grasp again.

Man, do I really look forward to the Carlisle Truth and Reconciliation Commission getting the ball rolling on this. I know that the Republican Party kind of lost its raison d’etre after they defeated the Democrat Party Confederacy in 1865 and gave American blacks voting rights in 1964, but here is a real opportunity for the Cumberland County GOP to help these poor white liberals come to terms with their own racial inequity and systemic racism built into the Democrat Party. After all, the Democrat Party could not have won any elections, real or stolen, without at least the appearance of Black loyalty at the stuffed voting box.

Let the education, honesty, and reconciliation begin, right at home where it started, with white liberals.

Dave Schankweiler for Harrisburg Mayor

All politics is local, and while it is easy to talk about and pay attention most to the biggest political issues that play out on a national scale, the fact is, at the end of the day, much of our political life is determined by local government.

Therefore, David Schankweiler should be Harrisburg’s next mayor.

Because he is a successful entrepreneur with a fresh approach to solving Harrisburg’s seemingly intractable problems, Dave deserves a shot at contributing to Harrisburg’s seemingly endless recovery. Recovery from what, you ask?

Well, for many years Harrisburg has been dominated by just one political party that has implemented a disproven, debunked, and obviously failed set of ideas and practices. This nonstop assault on the citizens of Harrisburg has driven it deeper into financial and social failure, driven the best wage earners out of the high tax city, and made corruption a way of life among the political elites.

When Eric Papenfuse was a candidate, I asked him at a forum if he would get the $100 million criminal Harrisburg incinerator situation sorted out legally, and he said Yes, People Will Go To Jail for that. And then eight years later….Papenfuse failed to deliver. He did and said nothing. Nothing happened, there was no accountability. Why? Because Papenfuse craves to be part of the Harrisburg inner circle that pulled off that illegal scam heist in the first place. Papenfuse is not a reformer, or an agent for change, or an agent for the rule of law. He is a paid lackey, a hired gun, an enabler of criminal insider dealing.

Papenfuse has been questioned about some of his own real estate investments since he was elected mayor. Like using his office to damage local businesses so, it appears, he can buy up their property for cheap. He did the same thing with Mike Brenner, who leased a property to the City of Harrisburg Public Works Department. In that case, Papenfuse was over two years behind in rent, and then he refused to pay any rent, and then he tried to steal Brenner’s property through eminent domain. But a county judge stopped him in court. A mayor who doesn’t believe in the rule of law, who uses his mayor’s office for personal gain…this is not what elected office is about.

Frankly, Papenfuse is a crooked thug whose greatest claims to fame are reducing the number of road lanes for daily commuters into the city, so that bicyclists have their own lane….Right next to a pre-existing bike lane that was also in dis-use for lack of regular bicyclists. This has caused more car accidents and greater daily commuting delays, but Papenfuse has mindlessly punched that politically correct “green” box on his hit list against the citizens of Harrisburg.

While Harrisburg’s school district remains a national disgrace and catastrophe, there is not a whole lot that any mayor can do about it. The citizens and parents of that school district have to want it to be better, and they have to force the issue. A good mayor can help rally those parents and families of school children, but why would Papenfuse do that? He is in lockstep with the white liberal-run unions that have repeatedly burned the city’s school district to the ground for decades.

Schankweiler represents a breath of fresh air, a positive and professional face, voice, and an experienced hand. He is not an incumbent, he has no history of being owned by the various power brokers in the city, and being mayor of Harrisburg is not a lifetime appointment. Harrisburg needs a change for the better, and Schankweiler is it.

Please vote for Dave Schankweiler in the upcoming primary election.

“Ridgie” no more

In 1998 I joined the Governor Tom Ridge administration in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, fresh off of a solid seven years of DC Swamp. Coming from the Washington, DC, federal bureaucracy, I was considered a professional insider and policy whiz. My own view was that I was a refugee from the anti-citizen, anti-taxpayer, anti-America administrative state that was so crazily overboard that I could no longer work inside of it. My job in the Ridge Administration was as Director of Education & Information on the executive staff at the PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR).

The state civil service bureaucrats in Harrisburg had a name for people like me. We were called “Ridgies,” because we were so dedicated to the unique Tom Ridge way of doing things. And what was that unique way of doing things? What was it about being dedicated to Governor Ridge that earned us this almost mocking sobriquet?

In a word, Ridge was honest. He brought a refreshing honesty and down-home common sense to running government that had not been seen in decades. So different and refreshing was this bright light being shone on The People’s business, that it left those of us who were implementing it with almost Moses-like beams of light emanating from our faces. You could say we were bright eyed and bushy tailed, excited to do our work. We humored the staid bureaucrats, but we meant it and we persevered.

I was proud to be a Ridgie, because Tom Ridge represented almost everything that was good and necessary in government doing the taxpayer’s work.

Fast forward 25 years and holy moley, what has happened…. Governor Tom Ridge has endorsed senile, corrupt, pedophile, racist failed liberal career politician Joe Biden over President Donald Trump. Trump being the Tom Ridge of today, Biden being everything that everyone hates about corrupt career politicians.

All that Ridge’s bizarre endorsement did for me was make me realize that unlike when he was governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge now values the permanent and unaccountable administrative state over the interests of the citizenry. When Ridge was governor, he confronted Pennsylvania’s hide-bound bureaucracies and forced them to serve The People, the forgotten taxpayers who underwrite all of government. Now, Ridge is on the side of that administrative state, a complete 180 degree flip from where he was.

What can account for this change of philosophy? Probably that Ridge Global, Ridge’s lobbying and consulting firm, is so closely tied to that same big government administrative state. He certainly is not advocating for good policy, because President Trump is implementing everything that Ridge used to say that he believed in, and here Ridge is opposing it.

I feel badly that such a good man as Ridge has been flipped by filthy lucre. It is painful to see someone whose good citizen name inspired us, his staff, to be proud “Ridgies,” to now renounce and stand against all he once stood for. The person in whom I put my trust to implement citizenry-saving policies is now an open and proud tool for anti-America forces and activists.

Contrary to what Ridge claimed in his Atlantic article earlier this year, he is definitely not a conservative. Because his policy views are very liberal. And based on the things he routinely says in public, and his consistent support for an obviously corrupt Joe Biden, Ridge can in no way claim to be a Republican any longer. Yet he is using his claim as a “conservative Republican” to advance anti-conservative, anti-Republican ideas and people. This is not honest behavior.

Sadly, Ridge is just as much a part of the fake news as all the other fake news people.  In turn, I must now say that I am no longer a “Ridgie.”

Unlike Governor Tom Ridge, I remain on the side of The People. I am still, however, a Trumpie, loud and proud.

USA! USA! USA!

TRUMP TRUMP TRUMP!

Democrat Party violence and Armed Citizen response = Save the NRA

Democrat Party militia have been engaged in violent destruction, looting, and personal assaults across America for months now. In Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City, and now Kenosha, as well as others.

Every one of these places is run by the Democrat Party, and in every one of these places the political leaders have stopped their own police forces from doing what police have always been hired to do: Bring general law and order to the public square. Liberals have unleashed their BLM, ANTIFA, and “peaceful protest” militias to bring chaos and disorder to public life, with the hope of scaring the public into giving them political power that they cannot otherwise persuade voters to convey to them at the ballot box.

I have never been a partisan person, never. I used to be a Democrat, a long time ago, until the Democrat Party abandoned almost everything I believed in, like a free America.

All my adult life I have voted for candidates and worked on political campaigns that seemed to me to offer the best choice for the citizenry. This includes Independents, Republicans, and Democrats. Living in Harrisburg, long ago abandoned by the GOP, I am often given a choice between batshit crazy leftist Democrats and normal, taxpaying, working Democrats who are liberal but also reasonable. Guess whose political campaigns I volunteer for? If you guessed the normal people who I merely disagree with on many policy issues, but who I do not feel physically threatened by, then you would be correct. Because the chickenshit GOP has abandoned Harrisburg, there are no GOP campaigns to volunteer for.

But this is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where things may be violent in certain neighborhoods, but overall we presently enjoy some general tranquility. In most other Democrat-run locales, the citizenry has been abandoned by the political leaders and their police; left to fend for themselves. Left to defend themselves with whatever weapons they can get.

But Kenosha and Portland could easily come to Harrisburg, because mayor Eric Papenfuse and governor Tom Wolf already sent the public message that they support violence when they marched in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA militias earlier this year.

And so what happens in the burning streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin, is a symbol of things about to come to your neighborhood. And so when 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse lawfully defends himself in those burning Kenosha streets against violent, murderous assault by a convicted violent pedophile, a convicted felon not-to-have-firearms who is pointing a handgun in his face, and another guy beating on him with a deadly weapon, is a symbol of what you and I may well end up doing. If we care to save our own lives.

And so we ask, why is the New York State Attorney General, a partisan Democrat, using her public office to attempt to destroy the National Rifle Association, on the most obvious of political and ideological grounds?

Is she attacking the NRA because she wants to bring harmony to the world? Or is she trying to undermine the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens, while simultaneously not enforcing the law against criminal use of firearms?

If you believe the NY AG is using her lawsuit against the NRA to hurt law-abiding citizens, and to leave them at the mercy of the exact kind of murderous Democrat Party militia guys who just attacked innocent Kyle Rittenhouse, then you would be correct. And this is why protecting the NRA is so important.

Without the NRA’s constant defense of our Second Amendment rights, we would have no self-defense rights at all, and we will then all be subject to the murderous attacks of liberal street militias, who are protected by their political leaders. The same Democrat leaders who will use the law to attack anyone who stands up to their liberal street militias.

The takeaway is this: Vote to support the NRA, because your very life depends upon it.

Kenosha, Wisconsin, car dealership attacked by Democrat Militia, despite the pro-BLM sign

Kenosha, Wisconsin, streets on fire with Democrat Militia. Is this really how you want America to be?

Quiet hero Jim Broussard moves on to next stage of being

Jim Broussard was one of those old school quiet, soft-spoken Southern gentlemen who could easily get by at a liberal cocktail party just because he was the nicest, most affable guy on Planet Earth. Unless you pressed him hard on politics, he would smile easily, laugh easily, tell some easy jokes, and make some subtly incisive social or political comments, and ask a lot of questions. But inside he was more than just quick political wit and analyst. He was probably my favorite guy in Harrisburg politics, and for a very long time he “sat in” for Dr. Krug at Charlie Gerow’s monthly public policy meetings downtown. Two weeks ago Jim left human life as we know it on Planet Earth, and if there is an afterlife, I am confident Jim is enjoying the best it has to offer. The man lived life to its fullest, left a huge footprint, without crossing any double yellow lines or cursing.

Jim and I first crossed paths at Charlie Gerow’s office, probably around 2009. He impressed me, which is difficult to do (observers of Josh know this, for better and for worse). He immediately asked me out for coffee, and ever after for a buck he would give the best political advice available around here. He sent the best Christmas holiday cards, because he used collectible stamps from decades past, and every card included genuine well wishes about things specific to the recipient’s life. Jim Broussard was a big positive force on Planet Earth, and I will miss him very much.

Below is the email his wife sent out, which includes his obituary, and then some photos I took of Jim over the years while holding forth at Gerow’s place:

“Dear friends,
We wanted to tell you how much Jim appreciated your messages of concern during his illness. They brightened his days up to the very end.
Thank you,
–Margaret and family
James H. Broussard, professor of history at Lebanon Valley College, died peacefully at home from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, on August 10, 2020.  He was born in Houston on May 6, 1941, to Charles Hugh and Ethel Rollins Broussard.  In 1959, he graduated from Bellaire High School, where he participated in R.O.T.C., debate, and student government.  He majored in history at Harvard College, receiving an A.B. degree in 1963.  While there, he was a member of R.O.T.C., the debate team, and the Young Republicans.  He attended graduate school in history at Duke University and received his doctoral degree in 1968.

From 1968 to 1970, Dr. Broussard performed his active-duty military service in the Army Adjutant General’s Corps at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, reaching the rank of captain.  Subsequently, he served as a reserve officer in the Office of the Chief of Military History.  He taught American history at Clarkson College of Technology, Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State), served as the historian of the Indiana state legislature, and returned to teaching at Ball State University and the University of Delaware.  In 1983, he was appointed chairman of the history and political science department at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA.  His publications include The Southern Federalists, 1800-1816, and Ronald Reagan, Champion of Conservatism, as well as scholarly articles and book reviews.

In the late 1970’s, Dr. Broussard began working to start an historical society focused on the early national period of American history, which he thought a neglected field.  He founded the Society for the History of the Early American Republic (SHEAR), which is now a thriving and respected part of the historical profession.  In recent years, he came to view political history also as a neglected field, and at the time of his death was engaged in establishing the Center for Political History, based at Lebanon Valley College.

In 1989, Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey proposed a tax plan which required a constitutional amendment permitting different categories of people to be taxed at different rates.  Dr. Broussard believed this would not only raise taxes but would do it in an unfair manner.  He formed the group Citizens Against Higher Taxes (CAHT) and campaigned against the amendment across Pennsylvania.  It was defeated by a margin of three to one, the biggest defeat of an amendment in the history of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Broussard listening to immediate past PA Governor Tom Corbett explain why he lost the 2014 election

Dr. Broussard was a member of the Lebanon Country Club, the Steitz Club, Phi Beta Kappa, and numerous historical societies.  He is survived by his wife, Margaret; their son, David Broussard, and David’s wife, Sophie, and their children Elsa Rose and Samuel, of Atlanta; his brother, Thomas R. Broussard, of New York City; his sister, Nancy Leonard, of Kentucky; his sister, Dorothy Bell, of New Mexico; one niece and three nephews.  Arrangements for services will be announced at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Center for Political History at Lebanon Valley College, Annville, PA.”

Jim sitting next to PA House Speaker Mike Turzai, with his hands clasped. Political whiz Charlie Gerow has his back to the camera on the right.

on Mayor Steve Reed

Steve Reed was the long-time Democrat mayor of Harrisburg City, and he died last week. I knew Mayor Reed and I feel compelled to say some things about him.

My uber-Republican grandparents Ed and Jane introduced me to Steve back in the early 1990s, when he was first running for mayor of Harrisburg. When I queried how such ardent partisans as they could support a Democrat, the response they gave was a life-changing truism that is worth everyone remembering:

“Support the best candidate who will do the best for The People, regardless of political party.”

And besides, the Republican Party had long since abandoned Harrisburg City, as the GOPe has chicken-out abandoned all other urban areas across America. So there was no real Republican to challenge Reed.

The truth is that Steve Reed really did have the best interest of The People, the citizens of Harrisburg City, at heart. Like a lot of gay men his age, he felt that his opportunity for personal companionship was self-limited, and so he had nothing else to live for than his citizens, the people he viewed as being under his care. And he did dutifully care for all of us to his best ability.

When a bad vehicle accident would occur in the city in the very dead of night, or a homicide, Steve would show up in coat and tie, maybe fuzzy slippers on his feet, to find out exactly what happened so that he could try to fix the cause. Or at least communicate to the city’s citizens what had happened, so that there was the least mystery possible. He was always on the job. The guy cared about his job in a way that hardly anyone ever cares about public service jobs any more. Reed was truly a public servant in every good sense of the phrase.

Long ago I joked with Mayor Reed that when he died, I was going to embalm his body, dress him up in one of his dowdy suits, put a cigarette in his hand, and prop him up in the window in his old office, so that the citizens below could look up and see Steve, The Mayor, still on the job, still doing his best for us, and that knowing all was well, they would all be consoled of all concerns and go on with their lives, happier and more confident. A perpetually stable Harrisburg.

He always smiled at that joke.

His attempt to build the nation’s premier cowboy / Western museum was a great idea, like his successful idea to build an incredible civil war museum. But that Wild West Museum did not happen only because it lost momentum, despite having a veritable mountain of wonderful bona fide Western frontier artifacts to show. When the museum lost momentum, questions began to arise about how all those wonderful artifacts had been obtained with scarce public funds, and where were they kept, etc. And once those questions were asked, it was the beginning of the end of Steve’s reign. Such was the public’s trust in Mayor Reed that he could really do no wrong, and when he demonstrated that even great people have weaknesses, the public mostly abandoned him.

The last I saw Steve was at a home in Uptown Harrisburg, down the street from where we live. It was a gathering of a political who-is-who in the area that I rudely barged into uninvited, and the hostess, Peggy, cheerfully greeted me with hugs and a hot drink nonetheless. The three of us, Peggy, myself, and Mayor Reed, were all back in a corner chatting while eating fresh fruit. Steve looked happy, and Peggy was her usual 100 MPH self. Until Steve asked me “Josh, you don’t support Trump, right?”

“Of course I do, mayor, I absolutely do support President Trump. He is doing a great job for America, and I think you of all people should appreciate how hard that is to do,” I responded.

Peggy exploded, poor thing. She was standing elbow to elbow with me, and her unhappy response was broadcast in bits and pieces across the side of my sweater and cheek. She was nearly foaming at the mouth with anger, indignation, her eyes were crossed, and a garble of unintelligible words poured forth from her mouth that I did not have to actually understand in their particular to understand in their overall gist.

Peggy disliked (still does) President Trump, and was ummm…frustrated that I would support him.

“Ignore him, Peggy,” said Mayor Reed. “He is just saying that to get a rise out of you.”

Mayor Reed looked at me, smiled, popped a grape in his mouth and walked off into the bigger party. He was politic to the end.

In our hunting camp there hangs a large moose head above the living room. It is named “Stephen” after Mayor Steve Reed, because it was purchased from the eventual auction of the Harrisburg Wild West Museum contents. When I picked up the enormous wooden crate with the moose head inside, I couldn’t wait, and I opened it up right away in the bed of the pick up truck. Inside was all the original documentation going back to the original purchase of the moose by Steve Reed, years before. He had acquired it from an old frontier saloon in southwest Minnesota, and apparently many cowboys had hung their hats on it over the decades. It was a real, bona fide emblem of the wild west; at least as the Western frontier was known in Minnesota.

Steve the Moose now looms over all our comings and goings at camp, provoking small children to squeal with delight and with fright, and grown men to pose all manly-like. No question the moose head is a symbol of the Big Woods and all that is wild in America, a proper companion to other real cabin furnishings like beaver pelts and traps. But to me, Steve the Moose symbolizes Steve Reed the mayor, the all-knowing bull moose, watching over his sanctuary, his people, his charges.

It is comforting to me.

Bye, Steve, you are gone but not forgotten. Here, let me dust off your ears for you. And have a light.

Mayor Steve Reed looks at one of the Remington bronzes he purchased for his Wild West Museum. The bronze was among the gazillion other real wild west artifacts sold at auction. Denver Post photo credit

Ammin Perry cartoon symbolizing about $7 million city dollars up in smoke, and Mayor Reed did like to smoke

Steve Reed the moose still oversees all