Tags Posts tagged with "Honor"

Honor

Unsplash photo

By Leah S. Dunaief

Leah Dunaief

Has anyone noticed that there seems to be a conspicuous lack of shame in our society? One could also point out, in the lacking department, the disappearance of honor. And to a great extent, of respect. Yes, and even civility, courtesy, apology and politeness. 

Now I am not pointing a finger at any particular demographic, as in, “In my generation, we always stood up if we were seated, when introduced to an elderly lady,” or “Children shouldn’t talk to their teachers that way.” Members of older generations have traditionally found fault with those coming up after them, for being less ambitious, or mannerly or some such. But I would hope I am not just another cranky, older person. No, I’m referring to something else, something more sinister in our present culture.

Now I am not accusing everyone here. Just saying that these qualities seem to be a lot less evident in today’s world. I guess if you never need to tell the truth, you never have to admit that you lost a tennis match … or an election. 

That loss of good sportsmanship is troubling. I like to see, for example, when the other two participants in a nightly round of “Jeopardy!” turn and applaud the winner at the end of the contest. It makes me feel that we are all together as part of a community when the ball teams each form a line and shake hands with the opposing team members, however competitive the preceding game might have been.

George Santos (R-NY3), the newly elected Congressman from Queens, is a case in point. He is merely a product of our times, if an extreme one. While he now admits to falsifying the resume he campaigned on, he seems to consider his behavior acceptable, exaggerating not lying. During Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, he unabashedly sashayed around the room, sitting in one of the most visible seats, shaking hands with many senators and the president, even taking selfies. He clearly feels no shame about his actions and no sense of consequence. What sort of culture does he come from? The answer is: one in which the lack of all the above attributes rule.

Santos is not the first such example, of course. I am reminded of the historic, “At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” question asked of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) by soft spoken American lawyer, Joseph Nye Welch, for the Army during the infamous Army-McCarthy hearings. Those hearings searched for Communist activities in the early 1950s on behalf of the Senate. McCarthy lied his way to power, but Welch’s immortal query, in effect, ended his career, as his Republican colleagues no longer accepted his erratic antics, censured and ostracized him.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), before Biden’s speech and noting Santos’s actions, told him he “shouldn’t have been there,” meaning front and center in the House, and had no shame. But so far, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA20) — odd repetition of names — has not publicly challenged or denounced him. 

“He shouldn’t be in Congress,” Romney said, when he was questioned by the press after Biden’s speech about the testy exchange with Santos . “If he had any shame at all, he wouldn’t be there.”

Far from shame, Santos tweeted Romney, “Hey @MittRomney, just a reminder that you will NEVER be PRESIDENT!” Romney, of course, lost his presidential bid in 2012.  

Perhaps in the culture of today, not only does one refrain from acknowledging wrongdoing but rather, when challenged, comes back fighting. How far we have come in our ethics evolution. Sounds a bit like Putin, doesn’t it? 

Photo from Town of Brookhaven

At the July 15 town board meeting, Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) presented a proclamation to Maryellen Campbell, wife of the late Glenn Campbell, who recently passed away at age 50. Campbell was a lawyer, a disabilities advocate and the first chairman of the Town of Brookhaven’s Disability Task Force. 

At the age of 16, he was involved in a bicycle accident that left him a quadriplegic. The injuries didn’t stop him from attending college and law school, becoming an attorney focusing on disability law, discrimination, elder law, wills, trusts and estates. 

In addition to his law practice, Campbell was active on several advisory boards including the Suffolk County Disability Advisory Board and the Association of Mental Health and Awareness. 

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State’s ‘longest-serving’ supervisor sees namesake forever ingrained into the facade of town building

Smithtown Supervisor Pat Vecchio presented the town's 2018 tentative operating budget this week. File photo by Susan Risoli

By Susan Risoli

With laughter, a few tears, memories of the past and a nod to the future, Smithtown Town Hall was dedicated Sunday in honor of Patrick Vecchio (R) and his nearly 38 years as Smithtown supervisor.

The event fulfilled a resolution, passed by town council members in March, that the building at 99 W. Main St. be dedicated in recognition of Vecchio’s lifelong record of public service.

In an interview after the ceremony, Vecchio said he felt “overwhelmed and humbled” by the praise.

When asked if his job was still fun after almost four decades, the supervisor said, “Yes, it is. At the end of the day, I’ve done something for people. And that’s the guiding principle of my life.”

Vecchio shook hands and hugged those in attendance, urging them to get something to eat from the Italian buffet of mozzarella sandwiches and almond cookies set up after the formal dedication.

The official town resolution is put on display. Photo by Susan Risoli
The official town resolution is put on display. Photo by Susan Risoli

As passing motorists tooted their horns and a crowd lined the sidewalk, legislators spoke warmly about Vecchio, peppering their remarks with wisecracks. Drawing laughs and applause from the audience, state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) feigned surprise that Vecchio arranged for a reception after the ceremony, because “he’s cheap, he wears it like a badge of honor.”

But the supervisor’s thriftiness is a good thing, Flanagan pointed out, because it means he’s mindful of Smithtown taxpayers.

“He never forgot, never forgets, never will forget where the money is coming from,” Flanagan said.

On a more serious note, Flanagan said Vecchio has been an effective supervisor because “we need leaders, we need people who are not afraid to mix it up.”

State Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-St. James) said Vecchio should be acknowledged for the advances Smithtown has made in protecting the environment.

“You have earned this honor. You have earned it,” he said, addressing Vecchio directly.

Smithtown historian, Brad Harris, called Vecchio “a feisty guy … ready to take on an issue or political opponent. He does battle for the people of Smithtown.”

He noted that Vecchio is the longest-serving town supervisor in the region, “and for all we know, the longest-serving supervisor in the state of New York and probably the nation.”

However, Harris said to laughter from the crowd, “It’s just not true that he was here when town hall was constructed in 1912.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) quoted legendary film siren Mae West, who said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Vecchio, Bellone said, has served Smithtown the right way.

The town is “an amazing place — a place filled with incredible beauty, natural resources, wonderful people … the history of Smithtown is the stuff of legends,” Bellone said.

Looking over at Vecchio seated in the audience, Bellone said, “I’m excited to see the continuing story of this legend.”

Noting that Vecchio is a former boxer who stood up to opponents in the ring before he entered the political arena, Bellone said people have been trying to “knock the supervisor out ever since, but he’s still standing.”

Smithtown Deputy Supervisor and Councilman Tom McCarthy (R) and Councilwoman Lynne Nowick (R) read the council’s resolution to dedicate the building in Vecchio’s honor.

Vecchio’s first word after hearing the tributes was “Wow.”

“My heart is overwhelmed with all of you folks,” Vecchio said, taking his turn at the microphone. “I’m going to cry.”

Vecchio praised the “unsung” heads of departments in town governments.

“You might not know who they are,” he said. “But they are the glue that holds this town together and makes it the best town in New York state.”