Bless me readers for I had left, it has been six weeks since my last expression. Now, I am back on my own dime but no less moved to comment on the issues of the day. I have also been away from the morning microphone, but expect to begin a weekly show on WVOX in the very near future.
One thing is certain; the news did not take a break.
Locally, Mayor Noam Bramson decided to throw his hat in the ring for county executive. This is a good thing for him and an even better prospect for Westchester. Bramson is perhaps the brightest person holding elective office in the region, and the way I see it, the more people who can benefit from his thoughtful, heartfelt approach to governing the better.
No one is perfect. The mayor’s low-key style can sometimes hide these qualities from view, and it is fair to disagree with his policies and politics. He also—for the sake of appearances—could show a little more patience when people are being crude, or launching angry tirades at him; something that has been sport for a dedicated, if small, segment of the city. His electoral record which shows overwhelming majorities whenever he runs, however, tells the larger story.
If people take the time to really know Noam Bramson, he should win, even over an opponent who himself is likeable and sincere. Bramson is simply special.
I have read where some of my friends in the Westchester media have made sport of publishing the names and addresses of those they disagree with. I have been traveling lately and I can assure you this has made news from coast to coast. Separate from one’s politics, it appears that these “outings” may well have been legal. The question is, however, at what cost? This is a real genie out of the bottle, and raises the question of where to draw the line?
Nationally, I am still reeling.
I had just the night before finished reading Laurence Rees’ definitive account of Auschwitz, spellbound by the chapter dealing with the unimaginable heartache of mothers being separated from their children when they got off the trains, when the news broke about the slaughter in Newtown, CT.
I had not yet overcome the sadness of wondering what it must have been like for parents and children alike. I was also struck by the desperate courage of mothers at Auschwitz who cut themselves to use their blood as rouge on the faces of their older children so that they might appear healthy and, thus, be chosen for work rather than the certain death of the gas chamber.
Here in Connecticut, I still cannot get my head around the notions of a mother who chose guns as an outlet for her severely disturbed son. Nor can I get my head around her leaving the weapons so accessible. Her bartender and sister had nice things to say about her. I still wait for others to come forward and explain her behavior.
For years, I have not been able to comprehend how our mental health system lets people who they know are potentially dangerous out on the streets. To be fair, this is a complex problem involving out basic freedoms, our system of health care and government. Nonetheless, we have to try.
As for the innocent children and the heartbroken parents, I can only express my deep sadness, love and condolences. It is so unthinkable. My only hope is that the families will find a way to go on, and not try to answer the question as to why these things happen. For thousands of years, religious leaders, philosophers and lay people have tried to provide one. Such a quest is as useless as trying to find the edge of the earth.