Two weeks ago the Polish American Congress issued a statement on behalf of the Organization. The Statement, which was agreed upon and approved by the PAC’s Executive Committee, was then published on its website as well as in many Polish American newspapers, including the Polish Daily News of Chicago.
It is important to note that it was not the personal statement by Frank Spula, the President of the Polish American Congress. The Statement reflected the position of the Executive Committee of the Polish American Congress after careful review of the presented issues by its Executive Officers.
During the last two weeks, I have been reading the various comments concerning the issues which were addressed in the Statement, including the insults against my own person, questioning my integrity, my motive, and my reasoning. The question that I keep on asking is: Why?
Everyone living in a democratic society has a right to express an opinion concerning issues that are close to him or her and about which they feel passionate. Being the President of the Polish American Congress I should listen to all of the members, review all of the information with different sources, comply with the Executive Body and make sure that integrity of the Organization is protected.
I have been receiving compliments and criticism on the PAC statement and I do respect people’s opinions as long as they are presented in a civil and respectful manner.
What I do question and concerns me even more are the following:
Who are these individuals so strongly promoting this controversy?
What are their motives?
What group do they represent?
Are they part of any organization?
Have they been involved in the Polish American community?
What are their accomplishments?
Are they legal citizens of this country?
Do they have a vested interest in promoting conflicts within the community?
Where are the funds coming from?
Who is to gain from it?
Why do they want to further splinter the community?
Is the motive to destroy existing and reputable organizations?
Why is there so much negative energy and hatred displayed?
These are just some of the thoughts and concerns that I have had and am beginning to believe that there are people using others and their passions to attain their personal, questionable agenda. It clearly appears that the scheduled protest in front of the offices of the Polish National Alliance is a further step into dividing the community.
What disturbs me even more is that so many of the most vocal attackers do not even know the difference between organizations. Consistently, the Polish National Alliance and Polish American Congress are being confused.
The Polish National Alliance is a fraternal benefit non-for-profit organization, which is strictly prohibited from getting involved in political issues in order to maintain its status.
On the other hand, the Polish American Congress is an organization that was founded almost seventy years ago to assist Poland in obtaining its freedom, and to promote the Polish American community on a political level.
Today Poland is a free and democratic country, part of NATO and the European Union. The PAC was involved in all these major undertakings over the years.
Being that Poland is free, the Council of National Directors agreed that it would not involve itself in the politics of Poland but instead will focus on the betterment of the Polish American community and U.S.-Poland relations The recently modified and approved by the Council mission statement of the Organization well reflects that line of thought.
Furthermore, and I cannot stress that enough – today, the Polish American Congress is a non-partisan organization working with all parties here in the United States as well as other countries. We do not take political sides and do not promote agendas of individual parties. We need work with administrations, both in the U.S. and in Poland, regardless of which political option they represent.
Nowhere in the PAC Statement does it say that the Polish American Congress neither is against any investigation on the Smolensk tragic plane crash nor doesn’t support freedom of speech. It stated, however, that with Poland being a democratic country with free elections, the Polish American Congress would not interfere in the due process of law in Poland nor engage in educating the governmental officials on how to perform their jobs.
People can have different opinions about the current government in Poland, but we have to remember: every single person from the government and parliament in Poland has been elected by the majority of casted votes. If the voters are not satisfied with the outcome of the election – they need to wait until the next election and elect the candidate of their choice. That’s what democracy is all about!
Sadly, the events of the recent weeks clearly show that some individuals would want to use organizations, such as the Polish American Congress, and their leadership to dictate their personal opinions and demands.
My concern is even greater for the future, by creating all this discord, how is the Polish American Congress or any other reputable organization to address any issues in Poland or the United States? I can assure you there are many! If you need to make an appointment with an elected official and you have no good relations, who will meet with you and listen to your problems?
By dictating or insulting government officials, who is the Polish American Congress to work with or get responses when needed? As an example, the issue of double taxation is a problem, which many face; my question is to whom you address the matter if you insult the government?
On a local scale, I am also concerned about projects within our community, by elected officials observing what is going on, how can we get low-income senior housing approved? How can we get Visa Waiver legislation passed?
We need to focus on matters within our communities, whether it is electing candidates of our choice, making sure that our schools are up to high standards, making sure our heroes are recognized and remembered. Cherishing our Polish heritage we need to strengthen our position in the country we choose to live in.
We need to make sure we project a strong and positive image of a modern, civilized Polish Nation and a vibrant and unified Polish American Community. Only by doing this we will be able to gain respect and influence.
Frank J. Spula