Saving Grace

Saving Grace

By Warren S. Hecht

There are some weeks when there are so many choices of what to write about that I have to omit discussing important issues. What happens is that the rejected topic is pushed to the “back burner.” Then it is awakened by some event. This week’s article fits into this category.

This past Sunday we had the annual packing and pickup for Passover food at the Queens Jewish Community Council. Congresswoman Grace Meng was present with her two sons. Someone made a comment that they were upset that she did not attend the inauguration of Donald Trump as president. It reminded me that I wanted to discuss this issue.

Anyone who reads my column knows that I am not a fan of the president. However, he is the president. He won the election and thus I thought it was not right to skip the inauguration. As Michelle Obama said, “When they go low you go high.” This was the chance to go high by attending the inauguration. If Hillary Clinton showed up, everyone else should have shown up. Moreover, the boycott helped the president by giving him the opportunity to deflect his mistakes or claims of improper conduct.

What was more upsetting than the nonappearance
by the Democrats were the comments made about the congresswoman
by members of our community

What was more upsetting than the nonappearance by the Democrats were the comments made about the congresswoman by members of our community. The attacks were vicious.

This approach is unfortunate. We do not have to agree with everything an elected official does. We don’t agree with everything our spouse, children, parents, or friends say or do. Yet we do not attack them and forget about the good things that they have done.

We are very fortunate to have Grace Meng as our representative. She was the first Democratic member of the House of Representatives to come out publicly against then-President Obama to vote against the Iran deal.

Grace has been a strong supporter of Israel and the Jewish community. She regularly appears at Queens Jewish Community Council events. She started coming when she was in the State Assembly and has continued since she has been serving in Congress. She comes with her children and sometimes with her husband to help give out packages during various food distributions throughout the year.

I have never heard her raise her voice. In this age of contentiousness in government, it is a breath of fresh air to listen to someone who is willing to work with others and who discusses issues on the merits without the necessity of personal attacks.

I was listening to John McCain, a war hero who is a throwback to the days of bi-partisanship, discuss how he was close with Mo Udall, a Democrat and senator from Arizona, whom he considered a mentor. They did not agree on much politically; however, they were friends. Mo Udall helped his younger colleague learn the ropes. John McCain said despite what is going on now, he is hopeful because there are young rising stars.

We have one of the young rising stars: Grace Meng. She has moved up in the ranks of Congress and in the Democratic National Committee. We are fortunate that she represents our district.

We do not have to agree with everything she does. However, to those who are still upset about her absence at the inauguration, it is time to move on. If you look at what she has done in totality you will realize how insignificant her nonappearance was.

Warren S. Hecht is a local attorney. He can be reached at