By Rep. Anita Kulik
On Christmas Day in 1864, at the height of the Civil War, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem titled “Christmas Bells.” While driving in my car on a recent morning, I heard the Sinatra version of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” a song based on the famous poem.
We have all been through so much these past two years—well, almost two years, although it sure seems longer. The saddest part of the whole situation is that there has been a heightened sense of hatred that seems to have been pervading our society.
Maybe I should say “had been,” because it seems to be subsiding. I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is a naturalized citizen. She was telling me how she came to the United States to escape the problems of her home country, and how she has been astounded at what she has seen happening here. I reassured her that this is not a true representation of our nation.
Our nation recently commemorated the 80th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. Our nation rallied against hatred then and fought together for the right.
I was a young child during the height of the Vietnam War crisis, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement and the Watergate Scandal. We made ourselves better, because young and old alike spoke out for peace, because people spoke out for what was right, because people realized hate and fear were not the answer, nor did anyone want to live with hate and fear.
We do learn from our history. We repeat the bad stuff far too often, but we always circle back.
As we end 2021, I look back on all the good times of the past year. We got back to the things we missed in 2020 and I have found a greater appreciation for all the wonderful chaos!
Having constituents back visiting us at our district office, going to community events all around the district, seeing people back at church services – all of these things have been joyful.
The Capitol has been buzzing with visitors and it is especially sweet to see the school children back for visits.
I am blessed to represent the communities that make up the 45th Legislative District and thank everyone from Scott, Carnegie, Rosslyn Farms, Pennsbury, Robinson, Kennedy, Stowe, Coraopolis, Neville, Ben Avon, Emsworth, Kilbuck and Ben Avon Heights for working to make their communities so vibrant and so beautiful. Too often people tend to focus on the negatives, but each of these communities are wonderful, with so much to offer.
My staff and I have enjoyed working with everyone and look forward to a wonderful new year ahead!
To now circle back to Longfellow and these excerpts from his famous poem written in response to perhaps the most trying times this nation has experienced. It is a cry for peace and a message of hope that resonates yet today:
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more
loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth,
good-will to men!”
I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year! God bless us all in the new year with good health, happiness, joy and peace!