1999-12-25 / Editorial/Opinion

What Is Essential

Christmas seems to bring out the best in people. Maybe it’s the holiday music. Maybe it’s the anticipation of spending time with family and friends. It just seems that people begin to change their perspectives, that is, they see what is essential. It has been said, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

Seeing through our hearts, rather than our eyes, is idealistic, but necessary in a community like ours. When looking at life through our eyes we can easily separate ourselves from life. We can easily say, "That is happening there, I have no connection to that." We can easily take no responsibility for the community around us, the events around us, the people around us. We even lose responsibility for our own actions; the bickering, the gossiping, the cheating, the backstabbing.

This is felt more in a small town like Rockaway. Many on the outside look in and say Rockawayites are our very own enemies. We fight amongst each other. We talk about each other. We jump at the opportunity to take credit for something, get our picture in the paper, but seem to forget the cause. We want everyone on the outside to listen to us, to our community needs, but we are making so much noise among ourselves that no one can hear. With our eyes we can separate…see only what is in this for ourselves. It is with our hearts that we see Rockaway…what is in this for Rockaway as a whole. That is the essential.

How about the essential when dealing with your neighbors? In a country as great as ours, people are going to believe in different things. They are going to have different views. They are going to support different paths to get to the same place. It is with our hearts that we can "respectfully disagree" or "agree to disagree." Forget about those hit lists (or hate lists) when disagreeing on something. How ridiculous and childlike! It’s about what is essential. Forget about the petty nonsense!

This is harder said than done. We have to stop judging from the ego, stop viewing the world and our lives from the superficial, and start taking matters to heart. We must be truly concerned about our community and our fellow neighbors. What a novel idea? No, just a reminder that our personal success and our community’s success, in the end, rely on this and this alone…it is only with our hearts that we see the essential…

Odds And Ends

Sometimes we feel compelled to respond to issues nationally and globally. We couldn't help but say something about the Atlanta Braves' John Rocker, who in a statement to Sports Illustrated trashed just about everyone and anybody. His slurs against homosexuals, foreigners, New York City and Mets fans show him to be nothing less than an idiot and a bigot. Dare he ever play in our great city again, he would be victim to our wrath.

The Atlanta Braves as well as Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig must take appropriate and swift action against Rocker. Chances are he won't be tossed off the team for his statement, because of his first amendment rights. But he needs to immediately receive some tolerance education training.
He also needs to realize that if it weren't for the fans, which are made up of homosexuals and foreigners as well, he wouldn't be receiving his big fat paycheck!

With New Years just around the corner, we think it is time for the United States to stop playing political propaganda games with a child's life. We are talking about Elian Gonzalez, the six year old Cuban boy who was found after his mother died in a shipwreck trying to get to the U.S. Let him go home to his father. Not only did he lose his mother, but he can't even be reunited with his own father. So, we risk the psychological health of a child just to make a point. And is that point about freedom--about Democracy versus Communism. If Democracy truly stands for the pursuit of happiness then this boy needs to be reunited with his father for the New Year.

And, while on Cuba, isn't it time that the United States wake up and smell the coffee. What is the difference between Cuba and China? Why trade with one and not the other? If it is about unfair treatment of people in Cuba, then we shouldn’t be trading with China either. It's time to open up Cuba to the market economy. Through economic interdependency we will begin to chip away at the dictatorial regime in Cuba, leading that country into the 21 Century.

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