Poland has a new President. Bronislaw Komorowski has won the recent Polish presidential election in a race that tightened in the end to a much closer finish than was projected. Komorowski received congratulations and invitations to visit from both U.S. and Russian heads of state as we report on the details in this issue. We congratulate Poland’s new president and hope that he will act with wisdom and care. A major issue is weather Poland’s new leader and his supporters will find a proper balance between the need for improving relations with Russia and the need to be on guard against a neighbor with a brutal history. This is truly a challenge.

I was pleased to read about the Polish Mission’s project being undertaken in conjunction with the MotorCities National Heritage Area. The MotorCities organization is an affiliate of the National Park Service dedicated to preserving and promoting the automotive and labor heritage of Michigan. I think of this endeavor with mixed feelings, because the heritage in question touches me personally as one who grew up amid the car culture of Detroit and I have always been a “car guy,” but I am also much disappointed in the way that our foreign policy has squandered the productivity of the American worker and “exported” so many jobs along with the independence that can go with a strong manufacturing base. On August 21, 2010 the annual Woodward Dream Cruise will be celebrated again. This event, more than any other, showcases the automotive history of Detroit and the American love of the automobile. We can take heart from recent positive developments at our local car companies, who make progress toward creative re-structuring, but we must remain concerned as the global market continues to change.

No one would disagree that Michigan must diversify its economy, and a recent upsurge in film industry activity in Michigan is reflected in the Traverse City Film Festival which continues to grow in stature through its affiliation with the University of Michigan. Poland has a world renowned film industry, and it would be highly appropriate if Michigan’s Polonia takes advantage of the local growth of this industry.

I have to express my appreciation for the very thoughtful letter by Andy Ladak to Mitch Albom on the subject of a potentially misleading comment made by Albom in a recent program. Mr. Ladak understood that Albom meant no implication against Poland when Albom commented that Jews were exterminated there, but Ladak also realized that Albom’s innocent comment could reinforce or foster certain misconceptions among those less knowledgeable of the history of the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazis in Poland.

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