Opinion: Rep. Bernstine, it’s Time You get Put Away Like the Paterno Statue


Pennsylvania Representative Aaron Bernstine (R, Lawrence/Butler) is everything that is wrong with government in this Commonwealth and this country.

At a time when we are facing the highest gasoline prices on record, at a time when we are facing inflation not seen in 40 years, at a time when we are as divided as a nation as we have been in at least 50 years what does dear Rep. Bernstine decide is the most pressing need of the day?

The Joe Paterno Statue of course.

The what you ask?

The Joe Paterno Statue Representative I am Trying to Become the Posterchild of Why PA Shouldn’t have a Fulltime Legislature said.

Benstine’s office put out a media release Tuesday “demanding” – yes the poor man is demanding like a little child – Penn State officials report the location and condition of the Paterno Statue and if they don’t, they shouldn’t/won’t receive their state funding.

He has gone so far as to say he was introducing an amendment to Senate Bill 1283, the bill authorizing funding the state-related universities like Penn State, that would make the demand law – of course, as of late Thursday afternoon no amendment was being shown on the Senate Bill via the Commonwealth website so perhaps the dear Representative is more bluster than action.

What I wish, is that this was a story I read on The Onion and not on various media outlets across our great Commonwealth.

But, alas, this is a real-life, living, breathing Pennsylvania State Representative here threatening to withhold funding to the biggest University-system in the Commonwealth and one of the Commonwealth’s largest employers (No. 4 to be exact) over a statue – and one that hasn’t been in place for 10 years now.

Why is this important you ask?

Well to most of us, even Penn State students, fans and alumni, it really isn’t.

But the 2006 graduate of Penn State representative who is prone to making headlines is very much concerned about the Statue – maybe it was his friend in college – because he seemingly doesn’t really care about all the students who go to Penn State or all the people who work at Penn State – including people right here in Warren County – and what withholding funding would do to them despite, as of 2018, being a lifetime member of the Penn State Alumni Association along with his wife, his parents, and his young son.

Instead, like too many politicians on both sides of the aisle today, he is more worried about creating a headline and catering to a specific “base” that he thinks will help make him more popular or perhaps bow down to him like he is a statue.

The I Want my Ball or I am Going Home and Telling Mom Representative is gravely concerned about the statue, which was first erected outside of Beaver Stadium in late 2001 but was removed on July 22, 2012, in the midst of the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal because Penn State officials at the time said it was “source of division and obstacle of healing” after the scandal.

“The statue symbolized Coach Paterno’s many outstanding contributions to Penn State on and off the gridiron,” Bernstine said. “His legacy should remain alive for people to view and reflect. Removing the statue does not serve the victims of Sandusky’s horrible crimes. The university is sending a mixed message by treating Paterno as a hero at the campus library where a plaque is displayed due to the millions of dollars he donated, but a villain at the stadium where he coached the Nittany Lions to two national collegiate championships and five undefeated seasons.”

Yes, because it is the statue that makes people remember – for the good or the bad – who Joe Paterno was and what he did as a football coach. In the age of the internet, of instant information on my phone, I need an inanimate object to tell me about Joe Paterno.

Representative Bernstine, aren’t there more important issues facing the Commonwealth, the country, that you could be working on than a long-gone statute that was removed when soon-to-be college freshmen were eight years old?

We all know the answer to that, of course, there are. But the dear Representative doesn’t care about those things. He only cares about making headlines for the sake of seeing himself in print.

Perhaps it is time that the voters of Pennsylvania tell Representative Too Much Time on His Hands – and all the other politicians who waste taxpayer money and time on the frivolous regardless of party –  that his time has come to an end.

We all deserve better.