Three quotes have gone through my mind several times since I discovered the uproar that my column of Jan. 4, entitled 2011 Liner Awards, created. First, and somewhat self-serving, is this one from the great talk show host of another time, Barry Farber: “I, sir, am not implying that which you are inferring.”
The other self-serving quote comes from the character Anthony Stabile in the movie Goodfellas: “Tommy no, you got it all wrong.”
And last, and certainly not least, the old cliché, “Timing is everything.” The latter can be attributed to multitudes.
The offending item was intended to poke fun at the Republican Party of Westchester for some poor vetting of candidates over the past few years. I firmly stand by my opinion of these choices and the humor they evoke. But I sincerely regret that my satirical allusion to the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” used to poke fun at the selection of a man who has been accused of writing anti-Semitic material to run for Congress two years ago, has in anyway created the charge that the GOP in Westchester—or any of its members—is anti-Semitic.
The joke, if you will, is that they did not find out about the candidate’s alleged writings until he was on the ballot. I was making fun of their competence.
It needs to be said that the party quickly rejected the candidate and took an unequivocal stand on the matter, even as the reported writings themselves, like all such things, would and should fairly be placed in the proper context. Indeed, to be fair to the author, such a review may well have cleared him from the interpretations then being made. Nonetheless, to eliminate all doubt as to where they stood, they acted swiftly and decisively. The game of politics being what it is, though, it can fairly be said they screwed up royally.
Now, coincidentally, as I was making what I thought was a clever lampoon, a recent City Council candidate, Steven Mayo, perhaps through his own poor choice of words following a tough loss at the polls, made a comment focusing on the large number of Jewish voters in the north end that was viewed by some as anti-Semitic. Steven is Jewish himself and, from all I know about him, proudly so.
So here is the problem I have contributed to and wish to nip in the bud now: My mediocre allusion, coming as it did at the same time as Mayo’s post-election venting, seems to have opened an issue among some that is no issue at all; that the Republican Party here in Westchester may have an anti-Semitic vein in its body.
This is wrong, unfair and an injustice to them. And, I am sorry that I have inadvertently raised this question. In this day and age, even the hint of anti-Semitism can be hard to dispel; so much so that I considered leaving well enough alone and not writing this piece so as not to fan the flames further.
Coming from corporate America, I carry the regret that sincerity is a handicap that costs a person money, promotions and many a good night’s sleep, yet I still believe in it. It is my hope that expressing my feelings in this way will help to set the record straight.