By Joe Leonardi Contributing Columnist
May 3, 2014
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Recently, those of us who reside in Northeast Pennsylvania lost a giant of a man, former State Representative, former Congressman, and former State Senator Raphael “Ray” Musto.
Ray Musto had been considered a colossal political figure. He led a life dedicated to both his family and public service. His political life came to a conclusion a few years ago, and now, sadly, his physical life has ended. There has been, and more than likely will continue to be, much talk concerning Ray Musto the politician.
Can we quantify the life of a person? Yes, we can. In some cases it may be difficult, in others, not so much. The life and times of Ray Musto can be told very easily, by one simple theme — Ray Musto made a positive impact on people’s lives, all people.
Northeast Pennsylvania is a much better place because Ray Musto was born, raised and stayed here. The positive impact of this man goes beyond his public life, for which the achievements are many. Ray Musto was simply a good man. He cared about people. He didn’t go out and tell people he cared, he went out and showed people he cared.
Through legislation and personal actions, Ray Musto exhibited that one didn’t have to be ruthless to be successful, that one didn’t have to trumpet every achievement for them to be acknowledged, one didn’t have to be loud to be heard, and one didn’t have to be mean-spirited to be effective.
Ray Musto displayed to us all that results could be attained by being a good person, that good works would stand on their own, and that a good deed accomplished was all the reward one required.
Like us all, Ray Musto was not without flaws. Of course, we are all flawed, and to expect anything more from others is at best silly, and at worst — inhumane. We should, if we are of reasonable intelligence, accept and understand that the life of a person will be filled with successes and failures, with positives and negatives, and with flaws, but never with perfection. Those who expect perfection from others, will always end up with disappointment as their result. However, should we not consider the life of a person as a whole? And, should we not give considerably more weight to the positives of a person’s life, over the negatives?
Scores of people passed through the funeral home and church to pay their respects to Ray Musto. They were there to show reverence for what Ray did not only for them as individuals and as a community, but for all those whom he touched.
The critic in President Roosevelt’s quote is often a coward, and there have been many cowardly critics screaming about Ray Musto. Yet, if Ray Musto was still here and in full command of his faculties, he would not express anger or frustration, he would simply laugh and write it off as the price of a public life.
We can’t discuss Ray Musto without at least mentioning the cloud with which many have tried to blanket his good works. The cloud is there. But will it remain? As time passes, and people recall and remember the good that defined the man, the cloud will not simply lift, no — the rays of Ray’s good works will obliterate the cloud cover, and the positive man that he was, will then blanket his legacy in eternal sunshine.