Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman Friday, 06 January 2012 00:00
Kicking off his annual holiday party at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman welcome a large crowd of public officials, stating: “I’m AWOL from Washington … I’m glad to be anywhere but there.” Welcoming guests, “Republicans and Democrats,” Congressman Ackerman admitted that “everything you read, everything you hear, it’s true … it’s almost embarrassing that there is no work product.”
In his 29th year representing the 5th Congressional District, the congressman said he has “never seen anything as bad, as partisan, such antagonism … we’re not getting done what we were sent to do.” And so that night he was happy to be “home.” Congressman Ackerman said that “home is where you go when they have to take you in.”
Congressman Ackerman then spoke of the “uncertainty” now in the world, his concern for his grandchildren and his children and their futures. Noting the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, the congressman mentioned “time and place … they can interconnect.” And he mused if Moses and Jesus and Mohammed lived at that same time, at the same place where all three were born. “They would all tell you it was their home, this place that is now in “turbulence, strife, killing, death, violence …”
Congressman Ackerman continued, wondering if the three would find a way to live together. Would there be compromises? The congressman said that in Washington “we will have to start thinking … new need to compromise and to start talking to each other … we need to fight for the things we believe in, for family and children and for a better world.”
The congressman went on to emphasize: “It’s not about party, it’s about people … we have to start thinking of others.” And at this holiday time and looking towards the New Year, Congressman Ackerman said that “we have to think about what we all believe in and celebrate our differences … we must accept each other … we all want peace … we must be tolerant … we must make the world a better place for our grandchildren.”
Gary Ackerman then turned to the reason why he went into public service. “Do something important to you and then you will feel good about yourself,” he said.
When he recently spoke to a group of Eagle Scouts, the congressman, who also attained Eagle Scout status, said that he told these young men to think about their lives, to “think about the last chapter in a book of your life.” He said that, before they wrote that book they should ask themselves if they have made a difference, if they made the world a little better. “It’s not about getting, not about gathering … it’s about what you give back.”
Returning to history, Congressman Ackerman asked: “What did Moses, Jesus and Mohammed leave?” And the answer: “They left values and culture and traditions” and not money and worldly goods.
And as he bid everyone a happy holiday season and a Happy New Year, Gary Ackerman again briefly spoke about running for Congress “to make this a better world,” a better world for his children. Today he still works hard to also make this a better world for his grandchildren “and for the four grandchildren” recently born to public officials in the crowd!