Rumors and distortions of the truth are the evil, mischief-making twins of political campaigns, whether on the national, state or local level. Sometimes when unchecked, they are particularly damaging on the local level because most people running for office are not professional politicians and do not have crocodile hides.
One rumor that floated just under the surface, out of print in the papers, but forwarded around in emails warned that the election of certain candidates would result in a power bloc on the library board that would lead to blurring the line between church and state, or in this case, temple and state. Perhaps there would be a proposal to close the library and its branches on Shabbat. Perhaps it would be the beginning of the end. Perhaps we would be a divided community with deep rifts, like Lawrence.
The Record does not believe that such rumors were condoned by any of the candidates. This editorial is not pointed toward them; it is pointed toward us as a community.
Yes. Lawrence, New York as written up in the old Long Island, now alas, Regional section of The New York Times is a community in which the balance between sacred and secular has tipped and usually when that happens, all of the residents suffer. None of us want that for this community.
But friends, Great Neck is not Lawrence. Probably the word "diversity" has become overused, but Great Neck is home to many, many different ethnic and religious groups of various stripes. Our sheer demographics just do not support the kind of split witnessed there.
But the unexamined, unbridled fear of a community ripped apart can, indeed, rip the community apart.
Neither of the two library trustees, Sokol and Rutta, whom are viewed as having this "secret agenda" have ever indicated by word, when directly questioned, or deed that they have a desire to de-secularize the library. The Record may not always agree with them on other decisions, but on this matter, we feel that they are being unfairly portrayed.
Let us debate the tangible, practical issues at the library. What is the role of the board? What can we do at this point to attract a director of the caliber we need? What can we do to restore the confidence and trust among the board, the staff, and the community? What kind of vision do we have for the Main library restoration/renovation?
We have enough real issues without creating paper tigers to fight.
Let's get on with being Great Neck.