Let’s build a stronger America

Let’s build a stronger America

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By Fr. Francis Pizzarelli

The primary season that will ultimately determine who the candidates are for the next presidential election is moving forward with great speed. The money being spent on political propaganda is out of control. It could probably feed and house the homeless for at least a year.

On many levels it is a tragic waste of money that could be better spent on social programs to help the poor and/or the growing number of drug addicts in our country.

So much of the political literature is a creative repackaging of the old rhetoric that has painfully put us in the position we are in today.

Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont is a breath of fresh air. His passion for the people of our nation is refreshing. His commitment to high ideals, to economic equity and to respect for the human rights of all is refreshing. His courage is shaping our national social agenda!

Sanders is urging us to debate ideas outside the box. Agree or respectfully disagree with the solutions — but allow these kinds of conversations to invigorate our civic life.

The Sanders’ candidacy has provoked young and old alike to get involved with the election of the next president, to take back our government and to let it once again be a government for the people and by the people. His challenging ideas are causing many of us to stop and think about what is really important to all Americans. He is urging us to dream again and genuinely believe that American dreams can come true.

Besides the profound waste of money on “ad hominem attacks,” the language and tone of this year’s presidential campaign is scandalous. It is outright disrespectful, and the attacks on a person’s character and the attacks on groups of people are reprehensible and embarrassing; and people wonder why so many of our youth are out of control.

Hopefully, once the candidates for the White House are determined, they will refocus the campaign and return to civility and respect and challenge the nation with ideas that will build a stronger America. Although the political landscape is pretty disturbing, people never stop amazing me and renewing and strengthening my hope that people really do care.

At the end of January there was a striking headline in the news that said “I forgive you!” A cardiologist from our larger community under the influence of alcohol in the early hours of the morning struck and killed an extraordinary woman. She was married with children and was a very active woman within our larger community.

At his sentencing the doctor, who also is an extraordinary person, expressed his profound remorse for what he had done to this family. The family stood before the court and the oldest son said, “You’re still a great doctor. You’re still a great man — I forgive you!”

That act of compassion and forgiveness is extraordinary. This remarkable family has profoundly reminded us that good people unfortunately make horrific mistakes but are still good people and deserve a second chance at redemption.

Fr. Pizzarelli is the director of Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson. The opinions of columnists are their own. They do not speak for the paper.