I was shocked and disgusted at the uttering by Mayor Matty Mattioli of what can only be characterized as a derogatory ethnic slur during his introduction of Father Andrew Rudnicki at the Memorial Day observance by stating that “unfortunately, his father was born in Poland.” What purpose was served by such comment other than a feeble attempt by the mayor to solicit laughs based on a hackneyed stereotype of “the dumb Pollack” at the father’s expense.
It was apparent that Father Rudnicki was thrown off by the insult by the ad-libbed, revised opening of his invocation confessing that yes, his father was born in Poland, but he was preparing that day to travel on a mission to the Czech Republic.
I find it not only appalling, but also ironic that the mayor would stoop to making such a comment at a ceremony intended to honor those of all colors, creeds and races who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives to defend the American ideals of liberty, freedom, justice and equal opportunity. As both a second-generation American of Polish descent and a second generation U.S. veteran, I know that at the instant of hearing his comment, I didn’t only feel like I had been thrown under the bus, but also a stinging sense of humiliation of what it must have felt like in the past to be told to go sit in the back of it. Mr. Mayor, wake up and get with the 21st century.
Ed Palmowski, Royal Palm Beach