Small World: Let us now praise famous men (and women)

Henry Precht

Henry Precht

By Henry Precht

BN Columnist

It is the customary practice of newspaper columnists that they attack the reputations of individuals and groups; tear down, never build up; ignore virtues, chase after vices. Thus, there is an irresistible urge to go after Donald T---p. I resist even the mere mention of his name in order not to further inflate his persona.

Instead, let us turn our attention to those above and alongside us who merit honor and respect. Let us praise…

For starters, President Obama. He is the candidate that many of us attached our liberal hopes to — and during his first term and afterward found ourselves bitterly disappointed. No Drama Obama shied away from a fight — except, importantly, over health care. Too often, when troubles and tough guys blocked his away, he stood aside. Now, however, he takes on the hoary Cuba problem and the thornier Iran conundrum and confronts his opponents with the intelligence and guts we hoped for seven years ago. Right on! Next, we can hope, on to simple and fair tax reform!

Then there’s John Kerry, who deserves our praise for his heroic efforts in the Middle East. He deserved our votes in 2004 and would have made this country a better place if not defeated by shameless opinion manipulators. (What a lot of distress this brainy and wise man would have saved us if he, not Bush, had prevailed.) Kerry in 2016! (Remember you read it here first.)

Slipping overseas, I nominate Angela Merkel, Germany’s boss lady, who while sensibly tough on Greece also seeks ways to bridge the gap between Russia and Ukraine. It’s no easy task to run one of the world’s most successful countries while fighting off the demands of lesser nations.

While praising nations, we should include Singapore, which this year marks 50 years of good governance (if not a liberal’s ideal) and prosperity for a small island nations with scant resources and a population sharply divided between races. A lesson or two there we might study and apply.

Thinking smaller, let us take a walk down Main Street in Bridgton, where we find the Public Library, once a source of contention, now humming along efficiently in improved quarters. Across the street is the about-to-bloom new site of the Rufus Porter Museum, which will add a point of great interest to downtown. Across Main Street is Gallery 302, which is already a big plus for the town, offering beauty and fun. For everything in this paragraph, the town owes a huge debt to the hardworking and creative Cosseys, Beth and Jim.

Then there’s Beth’s Kitchen Café, which sets a standard for the region in fine dining and a new, festive paint job.

For your dining pleasure at home, there’s the Farmers’ Market, which attracts a Saturday crowd with the freshest veggies, berries and homemade goods sold by the friendliest producers.

As I think over the many kindnesses and demonstrated talents of folks who have benefited all of us in this town, they plainly exceed the limit of The News. But space must be awarded to Stan Cohen, who has helped many ailing townspeople and institutions to better health.

Speaking of health, I could not end this list without mentioning the staff of the Bridgton Hospital. The region is fortunate indeed to have such skilled and attentive caregivers. We had recent occasion to be the guests of Doctor Coury and his staff in the Emergency Room. We can compare their care to similar experiences in larger, more prominent hospitals. They were tops!

Praise and thanks to them and to all of the above and those working away quietly for the benefit of all.

Henry Precht is a retired Foreign Service Officer.

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