East Falls Now Article: Is Our Contract With Each Other Null and Void?
Social contract theory says that people live together in society in accordance with an agreement that establishes moral and political rules of behavior.
What I have witnessed for a while now is a breakdown of this contract by many of our friends and neighbors and I am curious as to the reason why and how we can agree to reinstate this agreement.
It is particularly evident on our roads and highways. Motorists disobeying traffic signals and stop signs, unauthorized use of the shoulder as a travel lane and speeding have become every hour of everyday occurrences. I often find myself looking into the rear-view mirror as I brake for a late yellow traffic light to ensure that I will not be rear ended due to so many fellow drivers seemingly comfortable running red lights.
In a recent conversation with PennDOT representatives, it became evident that litter, short dumping, and graffiti is consuming much of our financial resources that should be used to keep our highways and byways in good repair.
Personally, I believe that for years to come we will be reading what social scientists attribute to the genesis and cause of this behavior that makes our communities more challenging environments and less kind places to live, work and play.
On a recent 6-mile hike (mostly on trails versus Forbidden Drive) through the Wissahickon, I witnessed tremendous litter and 2 groups using grills despite clear postings that such equipment was prohibited. My hiking companion was uncomfortable with me approaching these groups and calling out their violation, so I did not out of respect for that companion.
We need to ensure that all citizens see the benefit of following the rules. We need to ensure that those rules are indeed equitable and fair, and that policy is developed and implemented through a lens of diversity and inclusion.
Perhaps we find ourselves in our current state of disarray due to the modeling of grossly inappropriate behavior by the former highest office holder in the land, further complicated by a disastrous pandemic that, in addition to the health and economic devastation visited upon us, highlighted the lack of ubiquitous diversity and inclusion in the policies that govern us at the federal, state, and local levels of government.
I am an optimist. Giving up or quitting is not part of my DNA. On my nightstand are two books - "The Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama and "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. It is important to give every citizen, younger and older, a sense of hope and for those same citizens to know that the smallest of actions can create a change that can positively impact all of society. Perhaps when more of us feel hopeful and understand that our actions can create positive change, our social contract will be fully restored.
As always, your thoughts and ideas related to state policy and other state matters are always welcome. What are the policy areas that you believe can restore our social contract with each other? You can email me at RepDeLissio@pahouse.net or call 215-482-8726. There is much state related information on my website at RepDeLissio.com including videos of recent town halls, along with my 109th town hall that took place on August 18.