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Theres A Dark Side
Many of the articles and letters-to-the-editor in our local newspapers are filled with the good deeds performed by the people of Susquehanna County, the amazing variety of events held throughout the county at various times of year, and the unity among the residents in their support of the U.S. troops in Iraq all wonderful things to read about, and all painting a beautiful, positive picture of the countys residents.
But theres a dark side to this county that we tend to ignore, bury, or simply hide in the proverbial closet. This dark side makes its appearance in the form of prejudice. Last week I was made aware of two unrelated incidents that took place recently.
The first incident occurred in New Milford in the parking area of a local establishment. A young man of Indian (India) extraction had bent down to look under his car. Having heard some odd noises he thought that perhaps some part of the exhaust system had come loose. A minister from a local church parked nearby and asked the man if he was installing a bomb in the car. The man politely responded that he was doing no such thing and stated that the car was his own. The minister then said something to the effect of, "Well, youre Muslim, arent you?" to which the man responded, "No, Im Catholic."
The second incident took place in Hop Bottom, inside one of the towns small stores. A college student from Brazil had entered the store intending to purchase some yogurt. He approached the counter, where the clerk asked if she could help him with something. The student replied that he wished to buy some yogurt, to which the clerk replied that "they didnt have any." Seeing the yogurt on a shelf in the unit just behind the clerk, the student commented how they did, indeed, have yogurt that it was on the shelf right behind the clerk. The clerk stated, again, "We dont have any yogurt." Another clerk, sensing a problem, approached and asked what the problem was, whereupon the student, not wishing to cause additional disruption, said simply that he had misunderstood something and he left without the yogurt.
Both the minister and the clerk are harboring an unfounded prejudice against Arabic and/or Muslim people. (Note that each of them had directed the prejudicial comments to someone who was neither Arabic nor Muslim!) I am appalled that this type of prejudice is clearly alive and well in Susquehanna County. I am deeply concerned that a "man of the cloth" is guilty of harboring such a prejudice. What on earth is this man preaching to his congregation? I am shocked that now, in the year 2003, almost half a century since I marched along with Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington, DC to put an end to racial and other social injustices, we are witnessing the absolute worst kind of prejudicial behavior among our own Susquehanna County neighbors.
I am deeply concerned about what these two incidents indicate. If I am aware of two displays of such stupidity, there are undoubtedly many, many more of these actions taking place throughout the county each and every day toward anyone who is a little bit darker than the average area resident unprovoked acts of verbal (and perhaps even physical) abuse, and refusals to serve targeted individuals in places of business.
This is unconscionable behavior that cannot indeed, must not be condoned anywhere. This is behavior indicative of a poor education and a gross lack of ability to reason. To ignore or, worse yet, condone, such actions is to bring us all down to that abysmal level of human ignorance.
I urge all of the thinking, caring, and concerned citizens of Susquehanna County to speak up when they are witness to this kind of destructive behavior. Lets nip this potentially dangerous problem in the bud. Weve recently lost 30 years of environmental protection progress. Lets not lose 30 years of progress against social injustice as well.
Dorothy B. McPherson
EDITORS NOTE: Well put, Dorothy. Lets really s-t-r-e-t-c-h the prejudicial cord and include "them thar flatlanders."
Stealing Peoples Homes
When an 83-year old woman who refused to be evicted from her home is given a weeks extension to leave her home or be evicted, by force, by the Sheriff, then these barbaric evictions must STOP. Other victims are the young who have endured cuts in work hours or lost their jobs; those who lost one Social Security check when their spouse died; families who have been wrongly assessed at more than the value of their home; veterans who fought for our nation; and others. Families must have the right to live in peace in their homes without fear of losing the home. The property tax is the same as paying rent on ones home. The STOP plan is the equitable plan.
Homes sold in Pennsylvania are sold for taxes and penalties due, not the market value. There is a paid television advertisement informing people how to buy these homes cheap and sell for a huge profit. A complete listing of homes for sale will be given for $39.95. Get rich on some persons misery. This is the reason the governor and all the legislators must support Senate Bills 717-718 and House bills 1572-1573, now, to abolish the property tax on homesteads/farmsteads in Pennsylvania.
The STOP group has collected nearly 96,000 signatures and the list is still growing. The petitions state, "Further, be it known, the undersigned will not vote for any candidate for the above offices who does not put in writing the guarantee that they will work diligently and promptly to gain the objective above." For more information visit the website at www.grandoldusa.com, write to Bob Logue at KDKA Radio, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What has happened to Gov. Rendells campaign promise to hold a special session the day after he got elected? Now it is to reduce the school tax 20%, with assessments and reassessments. The county and municipal property taxes on homes will continue. I believe this is a ploy to bring slots at the racetracks and gambling to Pennsylvania. We have five lotteries now. Why do we need more gambling?
I want to remind Governor Rendell, also Senator Jane Earll, who will not release these bills out of committee, and all the legislators who are for chopped down bills of Senate Bills 717-718 and Companion House Bills 1572-1573 that hey are helping perpetuate a system that is stealing peoples homes and property.
Ford City, PA
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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