By GORDON GLANTZ
There is a long-running joke in Montgomery County, Pa.
The butt (pun intended) of this joke is County Commissioner Joe Gale.
“Joe Gale, he has it made,” a jokester will say.
“Why?” one will ask.
“He has a job for life,” the jokester responds.
And it is true, Gale does seemingly have a job for life as the lone Republican among the three serving as our county commissioners.
Sure, he had a temporary delusion of grandeur in May, as his hat as thrown into the ring in his party’s gubernatorial primary. He suffered the ignominy of a distant sixth-place finish, coming away with a paltry 2.1 percent of the vote. By contrast, “winner” Doug Mastriano – lunatic that he is — placed first with a 43.8 plurality.
So, the running joke that is Joe Gale continues.
As the song by The Smiths goes: “That joke isn’t funny anymore.”
And the joke is on us.
While rendered insignificant, Gale seems to be on a mission to earn enough brownie points with the far right that he seemingly thinks Donald Trump might even cut him a check or something,
Yes, Gale’s social media posts are that frightening.
And while the rules call for at least one Republican to be consistently out-voted by Chair Val Arkoosh and Vice Chair Ken Lawrence, perhaps the county would be better served by a less extreme dissenting voice.
Believe it or not, there are still plenty of Republicans, especially locally, that I have respect for in these times of Civil War. And I would respect them more if they raised the bar a bit on who speaks in their name at the county level.
Unlike Facebook, I pretty much steer clear of politics on Instagram, instead using it as a Sofia photo album. However, I admittedly chide Gale’s absurdities posted under “Vote Joe Gale,” which seems like a stupid title considering how few Republicans voted for him around the state in the primary and how he pretty much has a free skate in the county.
That has come to an end, it seems, since I am now blocked from posting comments there anymore.
Seems odd, though, He is an elected official. Last time I checked, I was a resident of the county. I’m a constituent, whether he likes it or not.
Should I be blocked at will because he doesn’t like my constructive criticism or polite protestations?
I guess he just wants to hear what he wants to hear from the small band of bible-thumping Karens whole tell him how great he is for being mean-spirited in the name of Jesus.
Or maybe, well, he’s just a snowflake.
It’s always a bit interesting to see a good portions Republicans wrap themselves up in their peculiar interpretations of the Constitution when they are simultaneously violating it themselves by blocking freedom of speech.
Gale’s whole play – as the good Catholic boy – blows a lot of smoke.
But, you know what they say about smoke, right? Eventually, there will be fire – fire and brimstone.
I guess the stuff about separation of church and state eluded him in school.
He can selectively bounce around the county, taking selfies with law enforcement and attractive women at fairs and carnivals – while throwing in a perfunctory shot of himself with black people – but it doesn’t wash away the more troubling posts on both Instagram and Facebook (also called “Vote For Joe Gale”).
The facts are these (according to betterliving.com): 64.3 percent of county residents identify as being religious, meaning that close to 36 percent (myself included) do not actively practice any specific form of organized religion (whether or not we believe in a higher power or not).
Catholics, based on historical immigration of Irish and Italians (and more recently of Mexicans), are the plurality (at 38.5 percent) but not the majority (that would mean more than 50 percent). And I wonder how may say they are Catholic when polled when they are really just perfunctory Easter-Christmas Catholics.
Someone should tell Gale that, as he seems to be a bit confused about the difference. When you add in the various other Christian denominations, as well as the county’s robust Jewish community (mostly in the Eastern part of the county and the Main Line) – along with the 33.7 percent of us “others” who live, work and pay taxes here – he needs to be made to realize, maybe through official censure or something by peers, that he was elected to represent everyone and not just church ladies with rosary beads who give him feedback of daily affirmations.
I personally know church-going Catholics who are flat-out not impressed with Gale. Those jokes about him? They are often the source, these people.
But he has ripped a page out Trump’s playbook, seeing himself as just governing those – the smaller vocal minority — who think like he does.
The only difference, from my view, is that Trump doesn’t even really believe half of what he says (he was for gun control before he was against it, for example) but feeds off the whims of his followers because it boosts his enormous ego.
For Gale, I’m assuming it is some sort of pathetic cry for attention.
Don’t believe me? Think I’m being hyperbolic?
Let’s look at tone of some of these posts, which seem to be increasing as the proverbial noose tightens around Trump’s neck on the national stage:
-After President Joe Biden came to Philadelphia recently to say some of the types of things that wishy-washy Democrats have been afraid to say for way too long, Gale posted: “This fake Catholic, baby killer has some nerve coming to the great state of Pennsylvania and assassinating the character of God-fearing Americans that rightfully resist the Democrat Party’s reckless, left-wing agenda.”
Whoa! Who is he to call someone a “fake Catholic?” Who is he to call someone a “baby killer?” Does he know what Biden feels, spiritually, in his heart– especially after experiencing a lot of personal family tragedy and a near-death experience? Does he have proof he has personally “killed babies?” And, the usual theme of dividing Americans between being heathens and God-fearing, just because they are for a women’s right to choose what to do with her own body, is so unoriginal that it hurts.
-In response to an article from Fox News (his favorite source, despite its history of playing fast and loose with facts) that said more parents are enrolling kids in Catholic schools to avoid “wokeness” (yes, that’s a word), he responded: “Better yet, consider enrolling your children in the Regina Academies who offer a Catholic classical curriculum that forms both the mind and the soul.” That was followed with an actual web link for the private academies that come with tuitions.
Since when does an elected official serve as an official spokesperson for one school over the other?
And what about non-Catholics, Joe?
There was acknowledgement of some Catholic holidays that seemed innocent enough until you read between the lines.
-For example, there was this: “Happy Feast Day of Saint Raymond Nonnatus, the patron saint of unborn babies, expectant mothers and Christian families. Experience has shown his intercession to be powerful for fertility.”
-And another: “Today is the Memorial of the Passion of Saint John the Baptist. Be fearless in preaching the Good News of the Gospel, no matter the earthly consequences.”
-In response to news that actor Shia LeBeuof converting to Catholicism, he said: “Proof that miracles are real! Saint Padre Pio, pray for us and the conversion of more souls on earth and in purgatory.”
So now we get down to the nitty gritty here. To Gale, all of the rest of us are ticketed for purgatory.
He is allowed to think and say what he wants behind closed doors – or wherever he goes to hide from the hard harsh world he sees (parents’ basement, perhaps) – but not on an official page called “Vote For Joe Gale.”
Before he blocked me on Instagram, I playfully asked if he was going to wish his Jewish constituents a Happy New Year. Certainly no violation of any Internet rules about violence or language, especially at a threshold for an elected leader, but I know the answer.
After all, his page also included a cartoon evoking old anti-Semitic tropes and the following comment: “Like many big city District Attorneys, Philly DA Larry Krasner is bankrolled by globalist billionaire George Soros. The chaos and destruction that’s ensued is no coincidence.”
In case you didn’t know, Krasner and Soros are both Jewish. I guess our pious commissioner couldn’t resist.
Henry Ford would be so proud.
If Gale can’t get an audience with the pope, maybe he can go hang out with Mel Gibson and Van Morrison.
While he doesn’t mention Trump by name much, which is probably by design, Gale is running a lot of the same fullback dives from Page 1 of the playbook.
-On Anthony Fauci stepping down: “Good riddance to this swamp creature who contributed to the needless suffering of many families, students and small-businesses across Pennsylvania and the country.”
Mature, huh? Not sounding real, uh, religious to me. The immaturity, though, does wreak of Trump.
Abortion is Gales repeated theme. While I admit that “pro-abortion” is a stupid and destructive term, as no one is really “pro-abortion” as much as they are “pro-choice,” he cherry-picked a post that Arkoosh “liked” as being “sick.”
He said funding for Planned Parent was “Blood money.” No word on the NRA, in terms of blood money, although he did provide some skewed stats about where guns are sold and where crimes happen, which was following by more conveniently religious psychobabble: “Statistics prove the problem is not law abiding gun ownership, but hearts without God.”
And – unfortunately — there is more:
-He also had another post of a Rosary in a hand, and added that he was “feeling kind of ‘extremist’ today, think I’ll pray my Rosary.” Yes, not a misprint, that’s an elected official openly referring to himself as an “extremist.”
-While Philadelphia is just a tad bit out of his jurisdiction, Gale couldn’t help but pounce on a School District of Philadelphia mask mandate for the returning to school: “Pre-Kindergarteners will suffer another year of indignity and fear-mongering at the hands of the radical leftists who run the Philadelphia School District. Families and children across the city deserve better.”
So does Montgomery County.
When it comes to Joe Gale, we deserve a lot better.