Only in Eddystone can something like recreation become a political topic. Call me crazy, but I just think that basketball, baseball, softball, Memorial Day blow-ups, luncheons, and Santa Claus are things that should be able to span a political divide. If you want to know about the upcoming events going on in Eddystone, if you would like to volunteer, or if you would like to get your kids involved, then you must be “accepted” into the Recreation Board Facebook page friends’ group. The Recreation Board includes Ralph Orr, Dave Bennett, and Christine Cocker. Until the administrators of the site, which include Cocker and Councilwoman Thompson (who is also on the recreation board) accept you, then the page is off limits.
We should all be able to agree that some things should just be sacred when it comes to campaigning. Kids should be one of those sacred things not used in politics.
How many times have you heard adults say, “It’s for the kids” when talking about recreation, dances, BINGOs, or other activities? Yet, to politicize something like recreation is just a shame because it makes recreation about the adults and not the kids at all. That’s what this closed group for recreation is doing. Politicizing recreation ignores the fact that this election will pass in just over a month. By politicizing activities that are supposed to be for the kids, one group of people is ensuring that a sour taste will be left in the mouths of others, thus taking a place that should bring the town together and instead making it a place that will maintain or extend the divide.
No one likes being left out. Kids don’t. Adults don’t. And nothing positive comes from being so closed off within a small community. And before we hear the “it’s for the safety of the kids” argument as the reason for keeping the page closed, then why are some people invited to join but others’ request to join are ignored? In fact, some requests of parents and children active in the recreation are being ignored. There are also many posting options that could keep kids safe and the page open to the public. Ridley Township has the same exact page, however theirs is open to the public. I was able to view it without a problem.
On this issue, the endorsed candidates have all the power. Orr, Bennett, and Cocker are on the Recreation Board. They have the direct ability to make the page open to the public but are choosing to close it off. Their decision to keep the page closed is a lens into how they will lead this town.
This issue goes beyond the candidates, though. I think as a community we have a right to ask more of our recreation board, some of whom aspire to other positions. Because I believe that it is wrong to use kids, if one of these Orr candidates were my friend, or if they were to knock on my door and ask for my support, I think I say that it is wrong to politicize recreation because I would be outraged if an adult used my kid for their own gain or ignored my kid because of my political opinions. I wouldn’t want a campaign to be run like a high school popularity contest, where cliques and social stature matter but character and courage do not. I think I would simply ask, “Should all aspects of borough recreation be open or closed to the public?” This is a simple question.
Because after all, if someone is running for political office for the right reasons, they should be able to have an open dialogue with a resident and answer a simple question. Politics should not be a high school popularity contest, where I either like you or don’t. It is okay to question people who want to lead the town and expect them to lead the entire town, not just the part of the town that agrees with them. A person putting the town first would want feedback from residents, right? Right now, the recreation board is limiting itself to a small clique. Shouldn’t we ask our leaders to choose not to be closed off?