In this month’s column, Rep. Ravenstahl explains what living in a community and a democracy means to him.

Hello. As always, I hope this finds you and yours in good health.

I’m writing this during the last few weeks of November. As I write this, COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing in our community and state. The president is refusing to accept the results of the election and the state legislature is debating a stop-gap budget to get us through the next few months. By the time you read it, I will no longer be your state representative. 

These are trying times, but we must face them with the stoicism and optimism that is the American spirit. Hard times come, but we have always persevered. We have endured, and we have built better. And I have faith that we will do so again.

But we cannot do so unless we accept the reality of our situation — no matter how unpleasant — and work together. We may not like something, but our dislike or personal preferences should not cause us — or anyone — to refuse to accept the reality of a situation or provide us with a reason to act in bad faith.

It feels like a lifetime ago, but I lost an election once. And while I may not have liked it, there was no question about accepting the results. I have faith in the process, in the people, and in our democracy. It is that shared faith, our collective belief, that allows our system of government to function, and so it pains me to see it called into question.

Likewise, since then I have continued to represent the people of our community: my friends, my neighbors, and you, in good faith and to the best of my ability. And I have faith that my successor — while we may not agree on everything — will do so as well. Because that is what people do. 

In the same vein, while I may not like the fact that COVID-19 is spreading rapidly though our communities — and indeed, I do not, I accept it as fact and I act in good faith: by wearing a mask, by avoiding gatherings, by eliminating unnecessary trips — to protect those around me. I do not like that this disrupts my life and that of my family, but we do it for the good of community.

This is what it means to live in a community, in a democracy. We must have faith. We must act for the collective good and not allow our own self-interests to rule. 

We may not like something. We may even hate it, but we must recognize it if we are to change it.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent you in Harrisburg.

Be well. Be smart, be safe.


State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl represents the 20th Legislative District in Allegheny County.

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