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Letter: Am I Elitist?

“Elitist”. That’s a moniker with which I am frequently affixed and insofar as I contend that rule by philosopher-kings, cultured aristocrats, and scholarly noblemen bequeaths more enlightened governance than democratically-elected lawyers and other chattering classes, the charge is not wholly unwarranted. But that’s not the variant of elitism to which most are referring. 

 

One of the great ironies of my life, amidst myriad, is that unlike proponents of egalitarianism and liberal democracy who brand me “elitist”, I don’t think there are, or ought to be, significant socioeconomic barriers to individual achievement. One will frequently hear the egalitarians

blame poverty, racism, sexism, discrimination, and cultural bias for the failure of young people to reach their full potential in life. But Samantha Garvey, last year’s runner-up in the Intel Science Talent Search, lived with her family in a homeless shelter. Ioana Radulescu, the Island

Trees High School Class of 2014 salutatorian, came to America from Romania in 2004 speaking almost no English. And the young museum volunteers I’ve worked with over the years, most of them from Asian and Islamic countries - and aspiring to be engineers, microbiologists, and physicists whilst their peers think they’ll become rock stars or professional athletes -are not from privileged backgrounds. Too, the biography section of book stores buckle under the weight of volumes about women, minorities, gay people, handicapped people, and people who grew up in poverty who went on to accomplish great things in life. 

 

Now I think there is one major obstacle in contemporary American life and that obstacle is the culture of mediocrity and it is because of my personal jihad against it that I’m sneeringly and sanctimoniously called “elitist’ by those whose income, formal education, and social standing oftentimes exceeds mine own. I’ve been called snobbish, rude, intolerant, condescending, ignorant, and a few Anglo-Saxon unprintables in a family newspaper because I demand scientific evidence and historical accuracy to support extraordinary claims rather than Facebook memes, bumper sticker slogans, and pop culture clichés plastered on coffee mugs. I been labeled a bigot because I insist that right and wrong are not merely personal preferences, lifestyle choices, or social constructs handed down to us from on high by the feel-good psychobabble of TV talk show hosts and the lyrics of drug-addicted rock stars, but intrinsic elements in the human condition categorized by centuries of philosophy and theology. I’ve been called overbearing because I think that adults should employ spelling, grammar, and composition that exceeds what in my grandparent’s youth was deemed the Third Grade reading level. 

 

If young people don’t grow up to be knowledgeable, cultured, polite, civic-minded, and responsible adults it’s because they are more interested in smoking dope, drinking beer, getting tattoos, watching sports on TV, playing video games, and hanging-out at the car lot behind

Wal-Mart. It’s because they come from homes where books, science, art, religion, history, philosophy, and volunteering in the community are less important than worshiping pop culture celebrities, professional athletes, and gadgets; because family outings are to the Mall rather than to museums, libraries, churches, and historic sites. It’s not really all that “elitist” to suggest that what’s preventing young people from attaining their full potential in life is a culture of mediocrity that offers only lazy, self-centered, ignorant oafs as role models. In fact, there’s something rather democratic about the notion than anyone - irrespective of race, color, religion, gender, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, or physical handicap - can contribute something to society. And there’s nothing snobbish or condescending in observing that it’s the people around them that don’t expect, reward, or respect hard work and education that’s holding people back from achievement. 

 

— Paul Manton


News

Long Island Democrat David Denenberg has dropped out of the race for state Senate, after recent accusations that the Nassau County Legislator fraudulently billed his own law firm—

Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron—over $2 million for non-existent case work. According to published reports, Denenberg stated, “My family, the electorate, the campaign and this position are way too important to subject myself to such outrageous allegations and negative attacks against me personally. Therefore I withdraw from the race.”

The founders of the popular Facebook group “Massapequa Moms,” a ‘virtual living room with 6,700 people,’ are leveraging their social media power to create a new discount loyalty card good all over Long Island—including, they hope, in Levittown.

With a hugely popular Facebook community, co-founders Dawn Boyle Kostakis and Stephanie Hartman wanted to “figure out a way that we could help the consumer and the business owner at the same time; keeping commerce going, keeping it all local and having the people get a little bang for their buck,” said Kostakis. They wanted to serve more than just Massapequa, too, and the Long Island Loyalty card was born.


Sports

Saturday, Sept. 27

9 a.m. Boys Varsity Soccer Great Neck South at MacArthur

9:15 a.m. JV Football Lawrence at Division

10 a.m. Boys JV Soccer West Hemsptead at Division

10 a.m. Boys Varsity Soccer Division at West Hempstead

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Calendar

Hispanic Heritage Month

Friday, September 26

Donations Needed

Saturday, September 27

Homecoming

Saturday, September 27



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com