Editorials / Opinions

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Great Leaders

There are many great leaders in this world. At a dinner table this topic is mentioned to three of my friends. I mention Hitler as one of the "Great" leaders of the world. Of course my Jewish friend took ill to this suggestion as well as his (I think Christian) companion wife. They nor longer speak to me.

Webster's Dictionary defines "Great" as the following:

#4: Superior; admirable; commanding; applied to thoughts; actions and feelings.

#5: Endowed with extraordinary powers, uncommonly gifted; able to accomplish vast results; strong; powerful; mighty, noble, as a great hero, scholar, genius, philosopher, etc.

#6: Holding a chief position, elevated, lofty; eminent; distinguished; foremost; principal; as great men; the great seal, the great marshal etc.

I never said that he was a "Great moral leader." Jesus Christ would fit that description as a leader of "Goodness." Lucifer is a "Great leader" of "Evil." Both are worshiped to this day. Jesus has Catholics, Protestants, etc. and Lucifer has "Devil" worshipers.

My only statement is that "Hitler" was a "Great leader." Was he not locked up in jail? Did he not write "Mein Kamph" while in there? Was he not a mere painter? Then he becomes a leader of German. He had his "German" people almost take over the world. Without going into much detail that would take several pages, he follows many of the above descriptions in Webster's Dictionary.

These two friends are no longer my friends, for they do not like my defense of Hitler as a "Great Leader." I wear a Jewish and Christian cross around my neck. I was raised by my Jewish friends and went to many a Bat and Bar Mitzvahs. My jeweler Jewish friend cried in front of me telling how he saw his mother and father shot to death before his very eyes as he was watching above in a tree top; two of millions of Jews. I am no Hitler lover. I saw the films of the Jewish camps and the horrors of Hitler's "Evil Deeds."

There is a moral to this story. No, it is not that "One should not talk politics to friends." It is not that I lost two friends out of three. It is "The two" were not my friends in the first place. After all, they thought I was crazy supporting Trump when they voted for Senator Cruz.


Larry Gary, Gibson, PA

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No Turkish Delight

Public Impeachment hearings have begun. Republicans – and the central focus of these hearings – had demanded this; now he's complaining, after getting what he wanted. On second thought (or is it first?) it might only educate the public that there's something to it after all. It's not a hoax.

Meanwhile, the bloody thug of Turkey is being allowed to pollute the White House with his presence. The last time he was here, his security retinue took the initiative to beat up peaceful protesters – like they would in Turkey. Foreign visitors should not be allowed to repress our rights! I spoke out against Erdogan's tyranny online a while back. Someone I suspect was an agent of the Turkish government thought he smelled an Armenian.

Erdogan, you may recall, eradicated the splendid achievement of Kemal Ataturk, who modernized and Westernized the ruins of the old Ottoman Empire, making the only secular nation in the Islamic world. After a century of existence, the plain folks of the land got their heart's desire at last, and Turkey is now just another Islamic theocracy, with a repressive tyrant whose ambition is to re-create the Ottoman Empire on the dead bodies of the Kurds (who our own ambitious leader betrayed).

I wish the plain folks of this land would abandon their desire to destroy secularism here. A Christian theocracy is every bit as wrong, and contrary to the intent of the Founders.

This is not the first time that a murderous dictator has been honored by an invite to the White House. Duterte of the Philippines, even uglier inside than out, was allowed here, and praised for his effort that includes a few thousand being shot down on the streets at the whim of the police. (Due process? Bah!)  And of course, the idol and mentor (Putin) of our aspiring tyrant has also been here. If only Republicans cared more about important principles instead of sycophancy.

What is it with this guy? He loves dictators, which real Americans have always detested. According to one study, of his past 11 thousand or so tweets, 132 were praising dictators. This pales, however, to the 2026 praising himself.


Stephen Van Eck, Rushville, PA

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Thanksgiving Is More Than A Turkey Dinner

Some years back, I read a news article about a young woman. It often comes to mind, especially on the day set aside for giving thanks. I'd like to tell you about it.

Her photo, in the accompanying video, showed her to be petite, slight of figure, and an attractive twenty-something. And so she was until light shone upon her face. That changed everything.

A movie premiered in 1985 titled, Mask. It was about a teen aged boy, Rocky Dennis, who had craniodiaphyseal dysplasia (CDD), like the young girl I read about. If you saw the film, you will remember it. It's a horrifying disorder that causes calcium buildup in the bones and skull that results in grossly malformed, knobby bones, including the 14 bones that form the face.

Mask is about Rocky's struggle to be accepted for what he is, not what he looks like. It's a life-long endeavor for the teen that begins at the start of every day and ends with few victories. Rocky's struggles ended at age 17.

Come to think about it; I recall another historical drama about a CDD victim. At birth, he was named Joseph Merrick. Later in life, about 12, in itinerant sideshows, the only place he could find employment, he was billed as the Elephant Man. The name stuck. He passed away at the age of 28 in 1890.

A replica of his skeleton is on display at the Royal London Hospital Museum and Archives. It's something that has to be seen to be believed. You might have watched the movie, Elephant Man. It was released almost forty years ago, but it's still fresh in my mind.

It is difficult to believe that a person with such a grossly distorted and twisted body and face as John could house a gentle spirit and first-class mind. One had to get to know him to discover these qualities, something almost no one did. Finally, someone did.

A doctor rescued him from a freak show and provided Joseph in the last few years of his life with a room in a hospital, privacy, and care. At last, Joseph had someone who looked beyond what could be seen.

Well, getting back to the charming, young woman, whose name escapes me, CDD seemed to be concentrated in her face if it can be called such. To her, all that a young girl could desire was denied. No one ever asked her out on a date, she never held hands with a boy, and certainly was never kissed. She never went to a dance, which is just as well because no one would ask for her hand. She never received a Valentine card or flowers from an admirer, was never invited to a birthday party or any social event.

All she ever wanted in life was to be a wife and mother. And even that is slipping away day by day. And this lovely girl is not alone in her isolation; others, though mercifully few, are also similarly afflicted and shunned. Perhaps by this time, she has gone to her repose.

The only saving grace of CDD is that sufferers are usually relieved of their burden in their teens or early twenties. Even that "saving grace" is hardly something in which to rejoice.

Who among us does not see a face in the mirror that we would like to change: a line here, some wrinkles here, a little puffiness under the eyes. That's normal. But what would it be like to see a face looking back at you that was more like a Halloween mask, a mask that could not be removed but grows more grotesque each day?

We all, no matter what are physical circumstances, facial imperfections, or bikini shortcoming have so very much to be exceedingly thankful for; it's just that we have grown used to our blessings.

What about this Thanksgiving, we, you and I, make a start at becoming less accustomed to our benisons? It's a beginning. After all, Thanksgiving is more than a turkey dinner.


Bob Scroggins, New Milford, PA

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