Warning: This post contains graphically offensive images
This is the true story of a very small person. Actually, I have no idea how tall he stands, nor what he weighs, but I know that he is a very small person with an even smaller mind. He is Charles Wasko, mayor of West York, Pennsylvania, a small borough, adjacent to the city of York, in York County, Pennsylvania. The population of West York was 4,617 at the 2010 census. The government of West York consists of the mayor and seven borough councilpersons.
Yesterday, Mayor Wasko came into the national spotlight when his Facebook posts came under scrutiny by the members of the Borough Council. Wasko has posted several pictures on Facebook this year that council members took issue with: Two compared President Barack Obama and his family to monkeys, and one suggested Obama should be hanged with a noose. The one with the noose has since been removed, but I was able to find a copy on Salon’s website.
Still another is a text meme:
August 31 at 5:58pm ·
A young black kid asks his mother, “Mama, what is Socialism and what is Racism?”
“Well, Child…..Socialism is when the white folks work every day so we can get all our governmental entitlement stuff for free. You know…..like our free cell phones for each family member, rent subsidy, food stamps, EBT, WIC, free school breakfast, lunch, and in some places supper; free healthcare, utility subsidy, and on and on…..you know, that’s Socialism.”
“But, mama, don’t the white people get pissed off about that?”
“Sure they do, Honey. That’s called Racism.”
(Never was it more simply explained)
Several West York borough council members have called on Mayor Charles Wasko to step down in light of racist posts he has made on Facebook. The position of mayor in West York is unpaid and Wasko cannot be removed legislatively. Wasko’s response to the request for his resignation was, “I say what people think but are afraid to upset the liberal media and crooked politicians…there will be more to come from me. When I ran for this position I told the residents that I will work with council but I won’t put up with and wrong doings I will let residents know what they really do, and the bomb is ready to drop on [council members] Mauck and Wilson.” Wasko also referred to the request for his resignation as a “witch hunt”.
Aside from the obvious, Councilmen Mauck and Wilson are concerned because Wasko has some oversight of the day-to-day operations of the West York Borough Police Department. Approximately 25% of the population of West York, including 2 of the 8 police officers, are minorities. Acting Police Chief Matthew Millsaps is understandably concerned, saying, “I’ve viewed these images and am disturbed. This in no way reflects the ideology or beliefs of this department. Of particular concern are any images with undertones of violence — lynching or that are threatening in nature.”
If you can stomach it, here is a link to Wasko’s Facebook page: I made the mistake of checking it out just as I was beginning to eat supper, and I was not able to eat, so a word of caution, don’t go there at mealtime.
Yes, Mayor Wasko is small peanuts, hasn’t much real power, and is not even paid for his job. But there is a bigger picture here. The fact that Wasko seems to believe it is okay for him to post such racist, offensive messages, the fact that he has no moral filter, no remorse, is symbolic of the current environment in this country. Would Wasko have done this five years ago, or even two years ago? I cannot be certain … nobody can … and likely he has been a racist all of his life. But thinking something, and vocalizing it, or acting on it, are different things. As one friend recently said, the current GOP candidate has basically lifted the rock from which have slithered all the ugly creatures. He has made it seem “okay” to be a racist, to spew hatred and even act upon those thoughts. As West York Councilman Mauck says, the posts are a result of the “age of (Donald) Trump that has made anything possible” and that “it’s time that we start pushing back and say no to this kind of rhetoric.”
Writing this post made me very sad. Wasko is not just a one-in-a-million fluke. Wasko may be a one-in-a-hundred, or even a one-in-ten. There are more like him; many, many more. How many is anybody’s guess, but I am fairly certain we are going to see more and more of this behaviour. One termite always means there is a whole nest of termites somewhere and they will come out of the woodwork at some point. Think about it.