The clearest message of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition’s annual Call to Action was a criticism of Donald Trump.
Bucks County Commissioner Diane Marseglia spoke about the Republican presidential candidate during her keynote address at the event, though did not once call him by name. She asked the women gathered to consider what a Trump presidency would mean for women’s issues.
“I feel deeply that this country, this state and even this county are in the midst of a shocking change, a change that could undermine the very essence and strength and wellness of women,” Marseglia said. “I am appalled that what is being said about women is not getting this person denied airtime … I am asking myself: Why I am not hearing outrage? Where is the pushback? Sometimes I want to yell, ‘Where are my sisters?’ ”
Marseglia, a Democrat, spoke about her role as commissioner, how she is now able to work with fellow commissioners Rob Loughery and Charlie Martin, both Republicans, to get things accomplished for Bucks. She explained that although her role seems equal after eight years as commissioner, her first four years were difficult in terms of dealing with other commissioners and staff members.
“Not one time. Never ever, ever did I call any of them ‘fatso’ or ‘bozo’ or ‘dum-dum’. If anyone here did that, I would venture to guess that you would be shunned and you would lose your job,” she continued.
Marseglia also related Trump’s behavior to that of a bully. Bullying, she said, is something Bucks County officials and school districts have fought against, especially for its youngest residents.
“How on Earth are we going to tell our children that they are not allowed to bully when there is a man on television at night calling people names: ‘lying Ted,’ ‘little Marco,’ ‘crooked Hillary,’ ” Marseglia said. “Yet these atrocious words are on your nightly news, night after night.”
Marseglia then moved to issues facing Bucks, talking about problems like child abuse and neglect. Since the Jerry Sandusky child sex scandal, Pennsylvania laws have been updated and child abuse reporting in Bucks has doubled. Marseglia said that Bucks has hired “two or three” more social workers.
“How are we going to find out what is the core of this abuse and neglect of children that we can’t get rid of … when we have someone who last night and other nights has said, ‘I’d be willing to date my daughter if she wasn’t my daughter?’ ” Marseglia said. “That’s warped, and if any of us said that, we would have child abuse investigating us tomorrow morning.”
Marseglia also highlighted other priorities for Bucks, like improving mental health services and drug abuse and treatment, as well as addressing sexual assault, relationship issues and other problems facing women.
She underlined the difficulties of achieving these priorities if the Trump campaign succeeds.
“Perhaps for the first time, I’m starting to wonder, did our work slow down too soon on women’s issues?” she asked. “We need to find our outrage. And when you find your outrage, I’m asking you to lean in and cherish it.”
For more information or to get involved with the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition, visit www.bcwac.org.