Observations

As I mentioned in the last issue, I am highly interested in what Thomas Mikulski has to say about the perspective he has acquired over time since writing his article in September of 2004 about the World’s view of the United States. Thomas talks about the desire of Polonia for the respect of other cultures and communities. In drawing his conclusions, he speaks of Polonia’s desire to achieve respect and influence in the larger American society that we are a part of. He poses the argument that as Polonia we should engage the communities around us and “reject” undue nationalism, and he observes that there are no alternatives based on the proposition that none have arisen in the dialogue he has engendered through his writings of the recent past.

I agree that I have not seen an alternative “strategy” to achieve the so-called “desire” for respect and influence, but there is in fact an alternative that Thomas is inherently working against. That alternative is apathy. As I see it, there is a focus in Polonia to be overly concerned with itself, and neglect its potential image and influence on the greater society of America. There is nothing at all wrong with Polonia being concerned with its own affairs, and indeed that is its primary business, so perhaps I am being overly critical, but I know that during my involvement with the newspaper and the Polish American community I have been more conscious of and more focused on the telling of our stories to the “outside” community than most of Polonia I deal with. Some take the view that we are entitled to respect and influence, while some don’t seem to care or pay attention enough to be concerned about whether we have it or not because they don’t care about the outside community. Thomas seeks to raise the awareness of the possibility that we can and should earn the respect of and influence among the wider society, and that we can benefit by it.

The saying goes that all that is necessary for the forces of evil to triumph is that good men do nothing. If we, as a whole, focus only on the concerns of our internal community of Polonia, I believe we would inevitably become obscure and insignificant. Fortunately, that would be contrary to our character and traditions (the traditions of Pulaski and Kosciusko). They will know us by our good deeds, and we will keep doing them, but we also must make them known.

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