Facing racist history not easy for country

*Facing racist history not easy for country *Ex-mayor’s critic left out accomplishments *Expose ISIS

Facing racist history not easy for country

In the Dec. 18 issue of The Daily Gazette, Michael Decker’s letter affirms the role of the Confederate flag as, in words of Charlie Daniels that he quotes, “a declaration of a geographic area that you are proud to be from.” Further, he expresses his “belief that if we, as a nation, attempt to erase or alter any part of our past, we will find it a very dangerous thing to do.”

In line with this belief, I hope that Mr. Decker — and others — may be interested in reading the forthcoming book by Jim Wallis, president of Sojourners, “America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America.”

In a Dec. 17 Sojourners magazine column, Wallis describes the two days he and 50 other faith leaders spent in Montgomery, Alabama, discussing these topics and visiting sites where lynchings had taken place, collecting soil from each in order to “remember and honor those untold thousands who were lynched.”

The difficulty in paying attention to this aspect of our history as a nation, very much alive in the events of our own day, is that it is not a comfortable thing to do. If you have a faith community in which you can look at this aspect of who we are, it can help.

Hugh Nevin


Ex-mayor’s critic left out accomplishments

There was a Nov. 29 guest column in The Sunday Gazette by a Christopher Gardner. Admittedly, I don’t think I have ever met this individual. However, in his op-ed piece, he talked about how, in recent years, the Schenectady Democrats have saved Schenectady from total collapse.

After reading the entire article, I came to the conclusion that the author was nothing more than a political operative who seemed to only know how to build himself up by putting others down. One person that he seemed to target was former Schenectady Mayor Al Jurczynski, who, by the way, happens to be my dad.

I asked my dad if he had any plans to respond to what was written about him. His response was a simple “no,” that for him to respond would be to acknowledge these trumped-up allegations as having merit. He also said that after being out of the arena for 12 years, it was no longer his fight and his only concern these days is for his family. My dad always told me to try to avoid a fight, unless someone is going after your family. I think it’s time for me to follow his advice.

Why couldn’t this Gardner operative say anything good about anybody but “his” Democrats? Why couldn’t he talk about how my dad had the foresight to put his neck on the line to rid Schenectady of strip bars? Why couldn’t he mention the relationship that my dad had with Gov. George Pataki, where the governor used to visit Schenectady on a regular basis, and how this relationship was a key ingredient in the formation of Schenectady Metroplex?

Why couldn’t he talk about my dad’s Guyanese initiative that resulted in an increase in population for the first time in many, many decades? I could go on about my dad’s accomplishments as Schenectady’s mayor, but there really isn’t enough space to write about it all in a letter to the editor.

I want to share an example of my dad’s leadership from a very personal perspective. It was Christmas Day 2003. I was 12 years old at the time. I awoke on Christmas morning expecting to open my presents. Couldn’t do it because dad wasn’t home. He had a week to go before his second term as mayor was completed.

He was on the scene of a multiple murder and multiple arson somewhere in the city. Naturally, this did not fit in with the expectations that a 12-year-old had for Christmas morning. I kept calling my dad on his cellphone and repeatedly asked him to come home so we could open our presents. He never told me to stop calling him, he just told me he would be home as soon as he could. He did get home at about 9 a.m. At the time, it seemed like forever.

He came home and we opened our presents and life was good. He never showed any frustration or carried any emotion about the horrific scenario that he encountered that morning, one week before he would no longer be the mayor.

Today, I am 24 years old. That Christmas was, to me, half a life ago. I tend to reflect a little differently on it today than I did then. My dad was doing his job for his city. He could have blown it off and left it all to the police and fire. He was there because he was a leader.

He came home and left his emotions at the scene of the crime. He came home and opened presents with my mom, my sister and me. He was warm and caring. I wasn’t too happy with him 12 years ago, but I am proud of him today.

He was, and is, a leader. I never viewed my dad as a political operative.

Alex Jurczynski


Expose ISIS for what it is in order to defeat

In response to Ariana Mattice’s Dec. 15 letter [“No way to completely vet possible terrorists”], trying to keep out terrorists by singling out one nationality is like trying to hold back the ocean with a 20-foot wall. It just goes around. The terrorists in San Bernardino were born in the United States and Pakistan. The terrorists in France were born in Belgium.

ISIS is proving to be very good at convincing people who are looking for a romantic cause to fight for that ISIS is good and pure and true. They find members through social media and then divert them away from mainstream Islam toward a message that they can control.

Women are given the idea of marrying a brave warrior. Don’t they look like knights with their flags flying? Be the brave woman fighting alongside him. Martyrdom is glorious.

First, we fight them by showing the world what ISIS really is. Widely publicize the stories of people who joined and then left. Tell the world how they’re shaking down the people of Mosul, where they rule. The Caliphate isn’t a nice place to live. The rulers are corrupt, and only they get the riches.

Next, cut off their money. Not easy. We’re friends with their financiers because of oil connections.

Most of all, it doesn’t help when we cower in fear of the people who already know how bad ISIS is and are trying to flee. By helping them, we are aiding the enemy of ISIS. We need to be the good guys that everyone wants to join. Right now, I think what the world sees in us is a bunch of screaming bigots.

Robin Schnell


Dems should release Trump’s greatest hits

In his Dec. 13 letter, Tony Russo makes a case for Donald Trump having the “leadership” this country needs. I understand leadership means taking stances that are occasionally unpopular. Trump’s idea of leadership goes one better.

His brand not only includes policies that are unpopular, save for maybe about a quarter to a third of Republicans, but offensive, silly, foolish and/or impractical policies. Among them are banning the flow of money from the United States to Mexico, to have the latter’s government pay for a wall, and banning Muslims from this country.

Charles Krauthammer put it quite well when he suggested Trump’s policy for the ban involve refusing entry to those who won’t eat a bacon sandwich. Collateral damage would sadly involve my vegetarian wife. But hey, we’re talking about our security here.

Trump’s leadership already has Democratic strategists creating a greatest-hits package. We could download it for the holidays, or wait to see and hear everything next fall if he is the Republican nominee. The tracks will include:

1) They’re rapists.

2) Who’s doing the raping?

3) We want deal. (Referring to Asians, in an accent.)

4) I understand the Chinese mind.

5) I have a great relationship with the blacks.

6) I’m a negotiator, like you folks. (Speaking to a conservative Jewish group.)

7) Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who? (Included in the deluxe version will be a 2007 photo of The Donald with Muhammad Ali.)

Wow, I just can’t wait — 1964 echoes in the distance. Can you hear it?

Michael Fondacaro


Military draft not the mark of a free society

Re Dec. 16 letter, “Bring back draft to prepare U.S. for war”: I must disagree with Mr. Sid Gordon regarding the return of the draft.

The decision to risk life and limb in a war should be left up to the individual. I don’t see how we can call ourselves a free society if we force citizens to participate in events that could cost them their lives. We’ve been forced to pay for military action in other countries to which many of us have voiced opposition; that was bad enough. A worse thing would have been to be forced by the government, by threat of imprisonment, to participate in said action.

We haven’t done a very good job in the past and present of taking care of our returning veterans; that’s why organizations like Paralyzed Veterans of America and Wounded Warrior Project exist. If a government will not take care of and assume responsibility for those who have served in military actions, I would question its right to compel military service on anyone.

Agent Orange, POWs, MIAs, homeless veterans, young people crippled for life, mentally and physically. We don’t need the draft, we need a government that acts responsibly with our nation’s resource: humans.

Susan E. Derella


Categories: Letters to the Editor

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