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As Long as We Remember...

January 18, 2010

Marriage, Politics, Haiti and Conan O’Brien

Michael Kurtianyk

So I asked my best friend, my wife Brenda, what I should write about this week. Her response was: “How about love and marriage?”


My response: “Okay, but what do I write about in the next paragraph?”


Needless to say, she’s vacuuming now….


So, I’m back at the computer and considering my next move. Seriously, I look back on the 20 years we’ve been together – 15 ½ years of marriage and 4 ½ years before that being together when we worked in different cities. We’ve been through a great deal together, but as we looked back, we both agreed that the birth of our daughters has so far been the highlight of our lives.


We’re happy that we’re south of the Mason-Dixon Line now. The winters can be cold in Upstate New York (and so can the summers!). I would smirk when I heard what “Liberal Leave” meant when schools were closed locally after only a dusting of snow. However, I realized early on when this area didn’t have the resources and infrastructure to deal with snow (salt, plows, etc.), that it was just the way things were.


Aside from that, I’ve met a great many people here: through church, school, real estate, Rotary, politics, and the like. Currently, I count many as being my friends and advisors today. One of the things I like about this area is that there are so many different people who’ve arrived and bring with them new approaches to ideas.


I like that – on any issue – we hear from diverse people bringing diverse ideologies. We come together; we discuss; we review; and then we make a decision. Though discussions can get heated, good decisions are based on toning down the rhetoric so that people listen. When the rhetoric gets unnecessarily loud and adversarial, people stop listening.


Which is why I am intrigued by the people who raised some issues about providing relief efforts to Haiti. As we know, Haiti has been suffering through the aftereffects of an earthquake whose magnitude was measured at 7.0 last week. Thousands (to date) have been killed, and buildings have been destroyed throughout the country.


We all heard that many local people have donated their time, money, and efforts, to the Red Cross. I applauded Blaine Young of WFMD, who coordinated with the Frederick Shell on the Golden Mile to raise money for the Haitian effort. Yet, there were people who called in to Mr. Young’s show and said that we shouldn’t give so much to Haiti when we have troubles here in America.


I understand that, and fortunately, that rhetoric wasn’t too heated and adversarial. My contention is that I see where they’re coming from, but I disagree with the notion of not helping Haiti. We as a nation have the ability to help others, and we must put aside our own troubles for a moment and help Haiti.


I do draw the line at what Pat Robertson said about the Haitian situation. On a recent broadcast of his show The 700 Club, Mr. Robertson said:


“…something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it, they were under the heel of the French, uh, you know, Napoleon the third and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the devil, they said, we will serve you, if you get us free from the French, true story. And so the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free, and ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor."


My mistake – I thought we were living in 2010. Free speech being what it is, do others share Mr. Robertson’s views? This type of rhetoric concerns me. I’m sorry that he has these views. So sad.


Funniest line this week (Conan O’Brien):


"Hosting 'The Tonight Show' has been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream to me. And I want to say to the kids out there watching, you can do anything you want in life unless Jay Leno wants to do it, too."


Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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