Saturday, July 23, 2005

33: “Three Women”

Ancient Greek playwrights dramatized their times by telling the stories of their heroes, and their villains. Hercules, Orestes, Agamemnon, Ajax, and the god Prometheus have all come down to us over the millennia, and their dramatists, such men as Sophocles, Euripides, Aeschylus and Aristophanes told their stories in the form of dramas, often in competition with other playwrights. Euripides won 24 of these competitions, meaning 96 of his plays (they were submitted in sets of four) won top prizes in their competitions.

Several of these dramatists wrote of Greek or Trojan Women as well. In Lysistrata, Aristophanes told of Greek women who, weary of the constant and protracted wars their men engaged in, shut themselves off from their men, and essentially went on a strike of wifely duties until they won their point. In Electra, Sophocles drew the character of a woman wronged, who used her inner strength in an attempt to gain retribution.

In Antigone, Sophocles tells of a woman who defies the orders of a king in an attempt to bury her fallen brother. She runs afoul of cruel King Creon who in anger at her defiance, declares her a criminal, and banishes her to starve in a cave outside of town. Such strength, and nobility of character given by these playwrights to their women in the face of adversity, and in spite of the actions of the men that surround them, is typical of the women portrayed in their dramas.

At the start of Antigone, this warning is issued,

"And now what is the proclamation that they tell of/made lately by the commander, publicly,/to all people? Do you know it? Have you heard it?/Don't you notice when evils due to enemies/are headed towards those we love?"
In Gettysburg, we have been experiencing our own “Greek Drama” over the past few months. A son of the realm has returned to town, created a kingdom, and now attempts to expand that kingdom. But the king has angered many of his fellow citizens by the manner in which he seeks to expand, and his seeming disregard for the older traditions of the town. Some feel his success would destroy those valued traditions.

As the Greeks had strong women, so, too, has Gettysburg been blessed. They are many in number, but we shall speak of three who dared to show their courage, and take on not just one Goliath, but two at the same time.

Susan Star Paddock, Jean Siderio, and Linda B. Perkins traveled to Harrisburg on Thursday to attend a meeting of the newly formed Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. They went, even though they knew in advance they would not be permitted to speak -- such has government silenced its own constituents. These three ladies went anyway, wearing their “No Casino Gettysburg” t-shirts, and became media darlings of the day. The news of the fight against a casino in Gettysburg has finally hit the networks. NPR and ABC are carrying the story. MSNBC is also. A trip through the halls of the Capitol Building, followed by the media, turned into a trip through a gauntlet of well-wishers, from legislative staff to legislators, and the three women were given encouragement to keep up the fight; they had support in Harrisburg.

No Casino Gettysburg finally had a face, or rather three faces, in their now national fight to stop the casino from being built here.

The two Goliaths are Chance Enterprises, and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Chance Enterprises is the corporate entity comprised of investors who wish to build the casino here in Gettysburg. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania passed a pair of Acts last year that enabled gaming in the state. It has been a pet project of the Governor, Ed Rendell, since he was Mayor of Philadelphia, perhaps even farther back than that. The Governor has even met with a national organization of casino operators in an attempt to raise funds from them for political purposes. That makes him a super-Goliath. His office has promised that he is keeping a tally of support for and against the casino, at least the one projected for Gettysburg.

The visit to Harrisburg has upped the ante on public relations against the project in Gettysburg. In fact, in terms of PR, Chance Enterprises now has an unmitigated PR disaster on its hands. Public opinion locally has been organized against them for months, ever since the first announcement of the projected casino. Now, however, the fight has gone nationwide. Chance Enterprises needs to quietly fold its tents and steal away. It was a bad idea from the start, and nothing they have said or done since their announcement has provided a shred of evidence to recommend the project. In fact, their PR folks, a Pittsburgh law firm, claims to have conducted a survey, the raw data from which they refuse to allow anyone to see, and the numbers of people surveyed change based on which news outlet reports on it. Some say 300 were phoned, others say 600. In the face of such obfuscation, it is no wonder they cannot refute the facts that their promised 800 jobs are not needed in Adams County, which has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, and the promised money for the schools and communities simply will not exist – ever. Not only is the project a bad idea for Gettysburg, it is a misguided one as well. Such efforts would be better placed, and of more economic benefit – if indeed there is to be any community economic benefit, in depressed areas such as Chester, Delaware County, or in the coal region of northeast Pennsylvania. Those regions truly need economic development like what Adams County is facing. Adams County does not.

This fight is now a national one, and we have three heroes to stand for the many heroes who stand on street corners collecting signatures on petitions, work in the administration of the effort, make phone calls to gain support, or simply those who donate. No Casino Gettysburg has three faces, in the form of three women worthy of a Greek drama.

Please remember to donate to NoCasinoGettysburg either at their office or website.

NO Casino Gettysburg
Box 3173,
Gettysburg, PA 17325

or contact them via the phone at 717-334-6333.

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Randy said...

My initial desire to delve further into the American Civil War partially stemmed from seeing what people can accomplish when they meet a monumental undertaking with a will equal to the task. All three of these driven and tenacious crusaders, showing that same will and energy, certainly deserve the praise you have so wonderfully bestowed upon them.

Thank you all very much for your efforts.

Randy said...

I should add to my thanks, the author of this blog who, it seems, tirelessly researches the factors impacting historic Adams County Pennsylvania and then eloquently expresses such here so that all may benefit and take action.

Anonymous said...

"You go Girls!!!!"

GettysBLOG said...

Anonymous has it right!

They went and they got the job done! They were nothing short of magnificent.