"Being in public life requires our officials to take stands on important questions of public policy. When I was young, I would often ask my Father for advice on one thing or another, and he used to love to quote a passage from Dante's Inferno to me. That quote is: "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality."
This is not the time to be NEUTRAL.
This is the time to be BOLD.
This is the time to be PASSIONATE.
This is the time for CHANGE.
This is a time for US to MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
THAT IS THE NEW GENERATION OF LEADERSHIP THAT I WANT TO OFFER YOU AS YOUR CONGRESSMAN FROM THIS DISTRICT.
MY NAME IS MIKE ARCURI AND I'M RUNNING FOR CONGRESS BECAUSE I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE FOR PEOPLE OF THE 24TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. "
from Michael Arcuri's Announcement
Been a while since a speech inspired hope in me.
Granted, I didn't expect anything less, but it's always nice to find it. Les Roberts spoke at the New Hartford Democratic Committee meeting on March 5th and when he was asked what he envisioned being left behind in the 24th CD after Election Day 2006, he replied "Hope."
Hope is already here.
Sure, like everywhere and everywhen else, it strengthens and fades. But it's here. With every new business that opened on Genesee St., with every treatment performed at the Regional Cancer Center, with every college graduation from the 8 colleges in the Mohawk Valley, with every refugee who bought a house and built a new live... Hope is here.
Now, by no means do I suggest that things are great and we're all happy people. There's a lot of work to be done and major changes needed, in spite of our current Representative, Sherwood Boehlert, stating that the people of the district "want more of the same."
For the record, I've had more than enough of the blankity-blank that we've been force fed by that side of the aisle.
More than enough lies that dragged us into an ill-conceived war...
More than enough tax breaks to the top one percent of the income bracket while poverty rates increase...
More than enough arrogance and ill-manners...
More than enough out-sourcing while cutting student aid...
More than enough dismantling of public safety while more people lack health care...
But in spite of all that and everything else (for instance, locally, having the highest sales tax that makes all the dollar stores in town really dollar-ten stores and the eviction of the Food Bank), not only do I know that things can be better, but that this is the year for it. Why else are there FOUR candidates for a job we typically struggle to find even one applicant?
But having hope isn't enough. If it's not converted to action, it's wasted. If it's not treated as a guiding light, it's lost. If it's not cultivated, it dies. With hope, all things are possible.... without it, suicide.
And that's why now is the time for Leaders.
One candidate has a proven track record of examining problems. Another teaches. Another criticizes and/or advocates. The incumbent states that his best strength is that he's been there so long.
But each skill alone is not enough. A Leader must have all those skills, the wisdom to know when to use what and when to learn more.
And it's time for all of us to say "enough is enough." The Constitution has not been suspended. The White House is not above the law. "F you" is not appropriate language on the Senate floor (or most all other floors too!)
The current mis-administration has done an excellent job of keeping most Americans in at least some combination of scared of terror, hungry, unemployed, sick, worried about children and/or parents, afraid, or at least feeling helpless. It's a great way of keeping all of us busy while the public safety net is unwoven, the likes of Enron take off with our retirements, and Mobil et al makes record profits.
Hearing of the profits that the oil companies made this year shamed and enraged me. I had students who had to drop out of college because they could not afford to travel to campus because of the cost of gas. And while these young people risk their education, the oil companies walk away whistling. What does it say about our current so-called leaders when they'd rather invest the country's future in the limited life-time of the oil companies rather than in the teaching of future generations?
No matter how we say it... The hottest places in hell is reserved for those who, in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality... Lead, follow, or get out of the way... If you're not part of the solution then you're part of the problem...
It's time to make a difference.