Follow Mandela’s example and start working together

I write to implore for an end of the incredible divide of politics and ideologies that dominate our world, nation and Erie County.

I am thrilled to have lived to see the praise of Nelson Mandela who, with his incredible powers of forgiveness and reconciliation, freed a people and a nation from the bondage of apartheid. Now his example creates ever new possibilities.

His death came on the heels of an exhortation by Pope Francis, who appealed to human beings to move away from division and toward unity of being.

But when I look around nationally and locally, the deep and growing abyss that separates races and politics troubles me.

Congress embarks on reforming the social safety net, which appears to punish the poor for being poor, while at the same time it enriches the wealthy.

In Albany, lawmakers chafe at the possibility of a reform movement that will expose their own illegal and questionable activity.

Here, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz fostered a strategy to forestall payments to pension funds, which several municipalities and counties across the state, both Democrat- and Republican-controlled, have adopted. But the GOP minority in the County Legislature made the issue political and tries to make normal bookkeeping procedures a partisan rather than fiscal effort.

I don’t think any of these practitioners of divisiveness realize they build a chasm that could be beyond bridging.

Art “Happy” Klein