Politics are consuming us these days, and everyone has drawn their lines in the sand. From our senators and congressmen all the way down to the individual and there is no middle ground. Or so I thought! Recently, I had a day that gave me some perspective on what Americans are really about.
I had a hearing before the Nassau County board of Zoning Appeals in Hempstead. Garden variety stuff. Variances for mother/daughter houses, a permit to operate a bar in an industrial area and the like. On this day, I represented a 30-year military man. He was a Hispanic immigrant. He needed a simple variance so that he could operate his business.
The board members were all there to serve and improve the community. They respectfully listened to everyone’s case. The community respectfully presented their cases to the board. People of every race and ethnicity. Homeowners, business owners and concerned citizens there to improve their houses, businesses, and communities. These were all hard working people who have made an investment in this country.
My client and I got our turn and presented our case. After we were done but before going off the record, my client said he needed to say something. I leaned over to him and whispered, “Are you sure you want to do this?” He said that he did and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stop him. He told the board that he served two tours of duty in Afghanistan and one in Iraq and that he never had to go through such a stressful situation as the one he had to endure in order to try to operate his home-based business, all because of an arrogant code enforcement officer who ruthlessly and baselessly fined him and had a permit revoked.
After my client was done, all of the people sitting in the audience – mothers, daughters, black, white, Hispanic, middle eastern, immigrants – all of whom own homes and/or businesses applauded for this man – because he has served us all and fought for our freedoms. The board too thanked him for his service.
I don’t know whether any of them were democrats or republicans. It didn’t matter. Politics did not consume the moment. People of the community – all sorts – were appreciative of this man for defending our country and our freedoms and gave him a big round of applause.
He got his variance. He can now move forward in building and operating his business.
That is what America is all about.