Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard wrote the following in his column that was published in the Jan. 18 issue of the Warwick Valley Dispatch:
It is a strange time we live in. It is an era of global uncertainty, escalating terrorism, unresolved anger and ongoing frustration. There are seemingly intense opposite sides and factions; there is disruption, threats, name calling and finger pointing all around us. We are an unsettled nation and this instability touches all of us in some form. We are connected more than ever by the Internet and social media, yet there is growing disconnection. Instead of a tool for communication and the rich development of sharing, it has become an arsenal of misguided tweets and incorrect and unfounded information. Words are used as arrows and hurting someone with those words has no consequences. In fact to be responsible, to take ownership of action or words is lost to the titillation of seeing a reaction to cruelty. True understanding and empathy have been cast aside because they lack the immediacy of spouting opinion.
So I wonder, in this current malaise, how to navigate, how to be a leader, how to transform growing pessimism. To find those tools, it is through the “Voice of Ages,” the words of Dr. King, that I find a well spring of clarity and inspiration and the momentum to go forward. In his words that, “Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.” I then see a future and when he says, “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon which cuts without wounding and enables the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals,” I am given a path toward promise and resolution.
These are words that resonate. They are, for me, building blocks. They are the “dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” Their intent is that, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” And they are the words that will lead us to where we need to go. You see as Rev. King said, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountain top. And I don’t mind. Like any man, I would like to live a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And he allowed me to look over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as people, will get to the Promised Land. And I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
These words represent a transformational America – the democracy I believe in. They are part of a great dream. But now it’s time for dreamers, lovers, brothers, sisters, all mankind to find the strength for the challenges ahead and to carry these words, his voice, his intent in our hearts. That, my friends, is what truly matters.