Archive for the ‘Republicans’ Category

You didn’t build your business.

I did.

My friends, siblings, neighbors and co-workers did.

My parents and grandparents built your business.

You may have provided the vision that sparked it. More likely you inherited the business, or at least the money to start it, from your parents. But let’s assume you took the initiative to start it and that you provided the initial seed money one way or another and the capital needed to keep the doors open when times were tough and the customers weren’t coming through the door. You may even have worked ungodly hours over the years to ensure the business’s success.

But you didn’t build it.

Not by yourself.

I’d bet my life’s history that I was there beside you, working just as hard, and much of the time working much harder than you were working to build your business.

I worked hours of overtime without pay. Maybe you didn’t notice I was there finishing that report you needed tomorrow as you were heading out for an evening of celebrating your company’s successful year.   I gave up time with my children – those moments watching them grow up – moments that I can never recover. I invested in your company on the promise that we were building something together. I gave up days off and vacations. I gave up pay increases. I gave up my health, my youth and my safety on the promise of a shared future that never happened.

My story is not singular. Millions of people can share the same story.

My mother worked over 30 years for the same employer. Because she was “salaried” she never earned minimum wage and her employer could require her to work more than 40 hours a week. When she started working for them, it was a simple mom and pop shop but with her help – and the help of several other employees – mom and pop built that store into two. She had to beg for raises even though she was one of (usually “the”) top sales performers. Over the years, through the hard work and dedication of many, including me, those two stores grew to three then four, then more. My mother was passed over for promotion to manager or assistant manager each time, even though she was the most qualified for the position. Still, she functioned as a manager and never complained. The owners knew they could rely upon her to make certain that their business would thrive any time they were absent, including when they were on vacation, a luxury she never had.

National Child Labor Committee Photographs taken by Lewis Hine, ca. 1912 - ca. 1912

Group of girl workers at the gate of the American Tobacco Co. Young girls obviously under 14 years of age, who work about 10 hours every day except Saturday. Wilmington, Del., 05/1910

My mother dreamt of owning her own business, a restaurant. That never happened. It’s difficult to save for your dreams when you’re raising a family of seven children and your family’s combined income is, well, low. One day, as she was getting ready for work she had a stroke that left her paralyzed on her left side. Her career was over, and the company that she helped build was nowhere to be found. She had no health insurance and no pension. Thank G-d there was a “social safety net,” the same one the Republicans who think they build things want to destroy.

We, the people who worked for you, put in the hard labor that allowed you to amass the wealth that you’re now hoarding and refusing to reinvest because you don’t like us and you don’t like the President. You talk to us about moving up the rungs of the ladder but after we helped you build yours you ripped the ladder out from under us. There is no ladder.

Were we angry that you were getting wealthy? We knew that someday we would be rewarded for our loyalty, even if it was only with a gold watch. We expected, at the very least, job security. We didn’t have to envy you because we had hope.

Then you started sending our jobs overseas; “off-shoring”, which was good for your bottom line but that left those of us who helped you build your company with fewer jobs. You started paying us less and working us longer hours. Those of us who had pensions and healthcare were stripped of them.

Those jobs we helped you create, those industries we built are gone. The jobs we thought we’d work at until we retired are gone. There are no new jobs because it is not profitable for you to create them. You used us until you no longer needed us and now, you want to call us lazy. You say “If you want it and you work hard” you too can have it. You too can become wealthy. You too can build it.

That is a gross simplification. That is simply gross.

The truth is we built it together.

And we deserve better from you.


Y’all are making me angry.

I’m just not sure which y’all I want to write about. There are several of y’all that are irritating me.

Contrary to the opinion of the day, y’all does not automatically denote Black folks, even when Black folks are in the room.

“Y’all” is a contraction, a shortened form of “you all.” It is used by many, Black, White and I assume all the colors of the rainbow, to address people, singularly and in groups. One of my best friends in college, a White boy from Houston, was one of the first people I ever noticed regularly referring to everyone as y’all. When I moved to Kansas years later some of my Black friends referred to y’all, some did not. And when I moved to Texas, even more years later, everybody was talking about y’all all of the time.

But I digress.

The y’all I’m talking about here is the y’all that is stirring up the most trouble – the media.

Y’all have the nerve to hold yourselves out as above the fray when you continually do nothing but cause it.

Enough is enough.

What passes for reporting today is way past a joke. Whether you’re talking about CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fox, Forbes, MSNBC or any other media outlet there is no news outlet that is consistently giving the American public straight up honest news reporting.

This flap about Vice President telling an audience that the Republicans were trying to return “y’all” to chains is a prime example of what’s wrong with what passes for reporting (and I might add with the what we are willing to accept as a country).

The “news” is being manipulated, primarily, I believe, by conservatives, but I am willing to entertain the idea that it is also by the left to a lesser degree. The media, all of it, in all of its forms, are focusing way too much of its attention on these ridiculous, inane stories instead of the truly important issues facing the country.

Those who report “the news” today remind me of that t-shirt: “They say I have ADHD, they just don’t understand….Oh look, a chicken!

Conservative politicians are particularly adept at taking advantage of the media’s inability to distinguish and then focus on what is important.

Joe Biden’s comments are clearly an example of how far the media has fallen. He was clearly speaking about Mitt Romney’s economic policies:

“Look at what they [Republicans] value, and look at their budget. And look what they’re proposing. [Romney] said in the first 100 days, he’s going to let the big banks write their own rules — unchain Wall Street,” Biden said at a rally in Danville, Va. “They’re going to put y’all back in chains.”

The comment drew a smattering of laughs and some noises from the 1,000 or so in the racially mixed crowd of supporters that appeared to be roughly half African-American.

As far as I can tell, no one attending that meeting took offense at Biden’s statement at the time; No one said anything following the meeting and there were no Black folks standing up in anger, saying Joe had offended them. Importantly, there were no reporters pointing out that Biden had offended anyone until after later in the day when Mitt Romney and his camp used the occasion to accuse the President of being angry and hateful and divisive. Then all of a sudden, this is the story of the week, and Joe Biden in another one of his gaffes has insulted all Black people everywhere.

“Mr. President, take your campaign of division and anger and hate back to Chicago,” Romney said.
Mitt Romney? Really? If there is an issue concerning campaigns hurling insults toward Black people I can assure you Mitt Romney isn’t the person I would call upon to point it out to the media. I’m not saying Romney doesn’t know anything about insulting Black people. Quite the contrary. His party has done plenty since President Obama was elected, and increasingly as this election cycle has progressed. That’s precisely why a thinking journalist might be a tad bit suspicious when he starts taking umbrage at statements made by someone else.

Quite frankly, Romney played everybody, including some prominent Black people:

 gwen ifill @pbsgwen

I kinda get saying “chains” instead of “shackles.” But what was “y’all” about?

Was Gwen, former Gov. Doug Wilder or anyone else objecting when Biden used “y’all in April to what I assume was a White audience in Exeter, New Hampshire?(There are only 50 some Blacks in Exeter).

 “Gov. Romney calls the president out of touch,” he said. “Hey, how many of y’all have a Swiss bank account? How many of you have somewhere between $20 and $100 million in your (retirement account)?”

Romney has successfully deflected everyone from many major issues, among them: 1) the continuing call for him to show us his taxes; 2) his horrible vice presidential pick, 3)  a Republican judge’s partisan decision to let stand an obviously partisan voter suppression law in Pennsylvania and 4) Vice President Biden’s very valid criticism of the economic hell that would be unleashed were Romney to be elected President based on the words previously used by Romney’s running mate.

Meanwhile no one is dealing with what Biden was actually saying. Later, when he was told the GOP said his remarks were offensive he did not apologize. He said he was trying to match Paul Ryan’s use of the word “unshackle” and unchain is the word that came to mind. Ryan has talked about “unshackling” the economy (and no one was offended at his imagery of the Black President putting everyone in shackles). The concepts are the same.

The media’s response was largely, oh, yeah, sure. We don’t believe you. You’re gaffe-prone Joe Biden. It was a gaffe. So America loses a chance to have a discussion about whether Romney’s policies are better than Obama’s, a discussion both sides should and I think would welcome. And the Republican Party continues to trot out that phrase as if it balances the “subliminal” racism employed by the Romney campaign.

There was a time when there existed journalists; women and men who recognized and pursued news stories. We didn’t rely solely on press conferences or press releases or source leaks for our stories. We valued enterprise, finding and pitching unique story ideas for the front page or the lead television news story; in short, competing, rather than reporting the same sad, sorry circus act. We wanted news stories to be unique.

I know this because I used to be one of them. I know how hard it was to get a story on the front page and how special I felt when I did. Today, all you have to do is quote some nonsense fed to you by some politician, no matter how untrue, no matter how idiotic: “President Obama wants gas prices to go up to $10 a gallon.”

Republicans keep repeating that and reporters keep reporting it and it’s obviously nonsensical. There is no scenario where it makes sense that the President could believe he could be reelected by driving gasoline prices up, yet the media allows these conspiracy theorists to repeat this lie on a regular basis.

Whether we are left or right leaning or we don’t lean at all, it is time for those of us who fear for the fate of our nation to demand better from those who purport to deliver the news.

We shouldn’t have to work so hard to find the facts. I fact check everything, whether it comes from the Obama camp or the Romney camp. I don’t trust the networks and I don’t trust Politifacts. If we’re lucky we get the Obama camp says this and the Romney camp says that, but most of the time we just get one side of “the news.” Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney spent a week saying President Obama “stole” $716 billion from Medicare and the very best “defense” we get from the media is a meek and belated “the Ryan budget does the very same thing.” The two proposals work with the same number but they do two very different things with that line item. The media has done a disservice to anyone who wants to make a rational decision on the candidates by how they are covering this issue. Anyway, the lie has already time to take seed.

This does no one a service. Sometimes what the Romney camp says is pure, shall we say, lies. So, why report it? You don’t have to report everything that comes out of Romney’s mouth just because he said it. If you feel you must report everything, then you owe it to your viewers/listeners/readers to clearly and concisely specify what is important and what is not and what is true and what is not. It is not your job to “balance” the news – this side says this and that side says that.

There are extremely important things going on and we need to know about them and understand them. No one believes the idea that the media is objective. It is not now and it never was. We understand this. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t trust the media for factual information. You can be partisan; you can have a bias and still present the facts. Just tell us what your bias is. The media – the mainstream print, television (that includes Fox) and online – can and must play a critical role in providing the presentation of the news that will allow us as citizens to understand what is happening to our country. That requires those presenting the news to engage in some analysis, reasoning and critical thinking of their own before presentation rather than merely participating in regurgitation.

The Internet presents so many more alternatives. If we can’t trust you to do any more than repeat the same information as Cousin Bobby’s blog then we really don’t need you. You really can do better. You have the resources. If he mainstream media does not do more to adapt, we’re just going to have to keep trading insults back and forth (“stupid Republithug”, “idiotic Obamacrat”) with Cousin Bobby. We don’t need you.

Democrats have a chance to redeem themselves for their massive failure to show up in Wisconsin and once again they’re blowing it.

I’ve been thinking that Democrats are losing the war against Republicans because Progressives are just too damn smart for their own good but lately I’ve been rethinking that. I’ve decided, the problem is, to borrow a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “Morons. I’ve got morons on my team.”

If you could do something to remove the one person in elected office that could be held responsible for driving our entire country into the ground over the last three years wouldn’t you do everything in your power to get rid of him? Well, as it turns out that one person is vulnerable and the national Democratic Party is once again MIA.

No. 1 Obstructionist

Rep. Eric Cantor/Some rights reserved by DonkeyHotey

Eric Cantor. That smarmy, self-righteous, self-serving, lying excuse for a Congressman is up for re-election in the 7th District in Virginia. I suspect many of us didn’t know that until last week when Rachel Maddow interviewed Democratic Strategist Dave “Mudcat” Saunders on her show. We also didn’t know Cantor could lose.

Saunders, who worked on the successful campaigns of former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and Sen. Jim Webb, and the 2008 John Edwards Presidential campaign, told Maddow that Cantor is the epitome of “standing in the way”. He believes Virginians and Americans don’t want people standing in the way and recent polls would seem to indicate he is right.

In a Harrison Hickman poll published by Think Progress June 26, fifty nine percent of Virginia voters in Cantor’s district say they would vote for a candidate that would work with President Obama at least some of the time. (We all know that Cantor’s cooperation with President Obama was non-existent.) Voters in the district also say they would support a pro-choice candidate by a rate of 68 to 23. (Eric Cantor has a100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee.) Forty-three percent of his constituents say they would be willing to replace Cantor, compared to 41 percent who say they would vote to keep him. And we all know what disdain we all feel for the current Congress.

There is no doubt that Cantor is, as Saunders says, one of the most unpatriotic beings walking the streets of this country. He has demonstrated that time and again.

“He’s a bought and paid for crook. … We’re in the midst of a coin-operated government and he’s the leader,” Saunders told Maddow.

This is also no doubt, as Saunders says, a national opportunity. Cantor can be beaten and he has the perfect candidate to beat him, Wayne Powell. Powell is a retired Army Colonel, a small business owner and a community lawyer, who believes in social justice for gays and straight women, and economic fairness for all people.

Saunders has committed on his website to among other things:

  • eliminating incentives for corporations to outsource jobs overseas;
  • to opposing the Cantor-Ryan Budget that destroys Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for the benefit of private health insurance companies and financial interests;
  • to tirelessly fight for women’s rights so that women are free to make their own health care decisions and have access to affordable, accessible medical care such as contraception, without government interference;
  • and to end Washington’s collusion with the oil companies, and end billions of dollars in handouts for companies that are already making record profits, while creating jobs and protecting our natural resources by investing in new forms of energy.

Here’s where the “morons” part comes in.

Most Americans can’t vote in the 7th District in Virginia, so who is in the best position to affect the outcome of this election that indisputably affects us all? The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (The DCCC). The DCCC is in the unique position of being able to reach across the country and into any state to support any Democratic candidate running for office this fall.

Why isn’t this organization concentrating on this effort? Morons. If it supports no other candidate in the whole country, this is one race the DCCC should support. We know Eric Cantor. We know he is the face of evil. We know he must go. We know the DCCC is falling down on the job. Those who support the DCCC must insist that it become actively involved in supporting Powell now. We cannot have another situation like Wisconsin where the incumbent wins likely because there was so much outside money spent on his behalf and so little support for his Democratic challenger until it was too late to make a difference.

Recently I got this email:

BREAKING: Boehner donates $4.1 million to save his Speakership

We just got word that Speaker Boehner is in all-out panic mode. He donated over $4 million to our Republican counterparts to try to save his teetering majority.

President Obama needs a Democratic majority — and we can make it happen.

Donate $3 or more right now to win a Democratic majority for President Obama >>
Thank you,

Kelly Ward
DCCC Political Director


We need to tell Steve Israel, the DCCC Chairman, that we demand specific actions showing that the DCCC is getting behind Powell now or we will stop sending him our contributions.

I agree with Saunders about Cantor. I want to do to him what he has done to the country:

“We don’t just want to beat him we want to ruin him.”


Independent thinking isn’t encouraged in the military. Marines don’t all have those same haircuts because they want them. They don’t run through those obstacle courses, dress alike or even go to live in Iraq or Afghanistan for years just because they want to do so. You don’t question your superiors in the military because you can’t. Lives depend on unquestioned authority. Once you take the oath, you don’t get to pick and choose what you will and won’t do.

As a Marine, I’m sure that if U.S. Marine Sgt. Gary Stein gave an enlisted man or woman an order he would not expect him or her to ask why? He would expect immediate compliance.  He should expect no less of himself.

Gary Stein chose the Tea Party over the Marines, his President and his Country and so he has no right to whine when his Country demands he turn in his uniform.

A Marine Corps administrative board has recommended that U.S. Marine Sgt. Stein be given an other-than-honorable discharge because it says he violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Department of Defense policy on political speech when he posted anti-Obama comments.

Sgt. Stein claims he was exercising his First Amendment rights on his Armed Forces Tea Party Facebook page when he posted pictures of the President superimposed on posters of the movies “Jackass” and the “Impossibles” (which he re-titled the “Horribles”) and also posted that he would not obey an order from President Barack Obama.

In creating and administering a public Facebook page and in posting comments which his superiors say “were prejudicial to good order and discipline, and (which) could have influenced junior Marines” on a Facebook page used by Marine meteorologists Stein chose to walk a not-so-fine line. He made a deliberate choice to continue to walk that line when the Marines suggested his Tea Party page might reflect poorly on the Marines. Stein took down the page, and made the decision on his own to repost the page after adding a disclaimer saying that it was not a product of the United States Armed Services and modifying his stance on the President to read that he would not obey an “unlawful” order.

Department of Defense Directives 1344.10 limits permissible political activity while one is in active service. That is as it was when Sgt. Stein enlisted and that is how it continues to this day. The Directive states that a member of the Armed Forces on active duty “may express a personal opinion on political candidates and issues, but not as a representative of the Armed Forces.”

Stein maintained in a lawsuit filed in Federal Court that he was exercising his First Amendment rights and was not in violation of military policies when he criticized President Barack Obama on his Facebook page. He argued that even if he had violated the policy then the policy was itself unlawful as it violated his right of free speech. He sought to stop the administrative separation hearing that ultimately recommended his dismissal. The Court on April 13 refused to intercede in the military proceedings.
All protestations aside, Stein pretty much gave up his First Amendment rights when he joined the Marines, at least as far as criticizing his Commander in Chief goes and he knew it. The military has had a policy since the Civil War limiting the free speech of service members, including criticism of the Commander in Chief.

The argument that he wasn’t identifying himself as a Marine on his page doesn’t fly. The argument that he was on his own time or not on duty doesn’t work either. Marines, soldiers, sailors, are kind of like police officers, fire fighters or parents; they are never off duty, even when they take off their uniforms.

Then there’s that pesky oath he took when he enlisted. The one that goes like this:

      “I, __________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

 See, on day one he promised to “obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me” both of which he flouted in suggesting he would decide what was an unlawful order. The Marine Corps cannot risk keeping a Marine who may decide to lay down his arms if he decides he disagrees with the cause.

Stein cited a 1999 District Court case, Rigdon v. Perry, as support for his argument that he maintained free speech rights but that argument fails for a couple of reasons. First, it is a Memorandum Decision and therefore cannot be relied upon as precedent and second, that case dealt with military chaplains and the right to free speech in the context of religious freedom.

In that case the Court said:

The “speech” that the plaintiffs intend to employ to inform their congregants of their religious obligations has nothing to do with their role in the military. They are neither being disrespectful to the Armed Forces nor in any way urging their congregants to defy military orders. The chaplains in this case seek to preach only what they would tell their non-military congregants. There is no need for heavy-handed censorship, and any attempt to impinge on the plaintiffs’ constitutional and legal rights is not acceptable.”

This case applies to military chaplains, which Stein is not, and their religious messages even when those messages have political overtones.

It is important to note that the Court said:

“Again, there is no evidence that military readiness or efficiency would be jeopardized(emphasis added) by permitting chaplains to preach in accordance with their religious beliefs.”

You see, when you talk about a chaplain preaching you’re not talking about someone giving a life and death order. The Court noted that military chaplains don’t affect the military part of the military. In Stein’s part of the military, military readiness or efficiency is the very reason for its existence.

So Sgt. Stein was warned and he deliberately chose to pursue his political activity. The administrative board did not buy his argument that the rules were not clear regarding criticism of the Commander in Chief specifically by “social media.” The board’s recommendations of an other-than-honorable discharge go to a general who will either accept or deny them within the next three weeks. If the general disagrees with the board, the case could go to the secretary of the Navy.

 Sgt. Stein was clever enough to make fun of the President. He needs to be man enough to face the consequences.
– Photo


Actor Robert DeNiro comes along and makes a stupid joke about the Republican Presidential candidates’ wives and Newt Gingrich wants the President to personally apologize.

With all due respects to the Hatfields and the McCoys, the hillbilly families who carried on a famous 30-year long feud, this fight between progressives and conservatives about which side is the more misogynistic is a bit like who stole whose pig first.

I spent hours on the Internet researching Bill Maher trying to determine whether he was a bigger misogynist than Rush Limbaugh is because that’s how I am. I like to be fair and I don’t accept anyone else’s word on anything.

So when Sarah Palin goes on and on about how progressives didn’t say anything when Bill Maher attacked her and how President Obama ought to give Maher’s campaign contribution back because of it I decided I needed to check it out for myself.

Then I realized something. I don’t care.

Yes, Bill Maher is a misogynist. I know that. He knows that. Everyone knows that. I also know he’s not really a liberal.

That’s not the point.

We can argue from here to eternity about comparisons between the two but the fact of the matter is that conservative women, and I’m addressing women on purpose, are never going to accept any argument that says there is no comparison. I’ll make it again, Limbaugh is a political leader and Maher is (a not that funny) comedian, but it really doesn’t matter. This is not what we should be fighting about.

What really matters is that 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot to death because he was a Black kid walking down the street at the wrong time and the alleged murderer may never be charged because Florida has a “stand your ground law”, which allows people to claim self-defense if they “feel threatened.” The state also has a law that allows people to carry concealed weapons despite continued evidence that handguns serve no useful purpose.

What matters is 130,000 low-income women will lose cancer screenings, contraceptives and basic health care because of Gov. Rick Perry’s (R) decision to implement a new law that excludes Planned Parenthood from Texas’s Medicaid Health Program.

What matters is that the US Supreme Court will be considering whether to strike down the Affordable Care Act, which provides for free mammograms, colonoscopies, vaccinations and health care screenings. An act that will prevent insurance companies from charging women more for health care coverage, from excluding clients for pre-existing conditions and from establishing lifetime maximums on how much they will pay when a patient becomes ill.

What matters is that that Voter ID laws are being used to disenfranchise minorities, students, the elderly and the poor.

What matters is that the Violence against Women Act, which has never been a contentious issue before, passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee without a single Republican vote because of new provisions having to do with Native American jurisdiction and protections that extend to immigrant women and same sex couples.

What matters is that he Supreme Court may strike down affirmative action, which has most benefited white women since it was enacted, because a white woman who scored a mere 1100 on her SAT believes she was unfairly discriminated against by a Texas university because she is a white woman.

If you can sit back and watch these things happen without saying a word in opposition while arguing about who called whom an offensive name then I pity you and I fear for our country. There ought to be some things that are so awful that dealing with them crosses party lines. If you want to argue about misogyny, there are plenty of new and proposed policies across these 50 states that are prime examples.

Can’t we just agree that they’re both crude and should be chastised and move on to the more important issues? The more important issue between the two of them is whether either can affect policy. That is up to the marketplace to decide and the marketplace is deciding.

We will never reach consensus on the important issues if we are forever arguing about who insulted whom first and whether the other party reacted appropriately. No offense to men, but I’m particularly appealing to women as we tend to think of them as the more reasonable class, even as I recognize that men should be offended by boorish behavior, too.

After conservative women deal with all of the real issues that are offensive to women, I’ll start worrying about the insults. The rest are just words.

It’s a nasty world for kids right now.

One in four children are living in poverty. The Republican presidential candidates have taken positions that are pretty much, if you are poor you deserve it. One Republican presidential candidate wants to fire parents, abolish child labor laws and make the children do their jobs. He claims that poor children have no work ethic because the only role models they have who work are those who are doing something that is illegal.

Republican lawmakers are doing everything they can to make it impossible for children to thrive, because they’re making it impossible for their parents to survive. The current attitude is every man for himself; let your neighbor fend for himself.

In 11 Presidential debates, the Republican candidates have put forth the idea that people would rather “redistribute” money from America’s wealthiest people than work, and they act as if these extremely wealthy people became so wealthy by hard work. They act as if these people who are trying to find jobs, or those who are among the working poor could become wealthy if they just worked as hard as the wealthy do.

If only it were that easy.

There are a myriad of reasons that people, that children, become successful or wealthy adults. Some are born to it. Others have been lucky enough to attain it through their hard work, but not everyone who works hard will attain great wealth.

In his book, A Hand to Guide Me: Inspiring Personal Stories, Denzel Washington suggests that the reason the 74 people who share their stories became so successful is because they had some person, some adult, who reached out to guide them in the right direction when they were young.

Among the story contributors are former President Bill Clinton, Choreographer Debbie Allen, Baseball Great Hank Aaron, Boxing Great Muhammad Ali, Actor Jame Farr (MASH) and Retired Juvenile Court Judge and Syndicated Television Personality Glenda Hatchett. There are plenty of businessmen and athletes, and others, all with inspirational stories to share in three or four page blocks, which makes them easy to digest.

An example of the types of stories shared comes from Ron Sargent, Chairman and CEO, Staples, who as a 12-year-old child was asked by a teacher whether he was thinking about going to college. That question inspired him to go to business school. Retired Television Journalist Bernard Shaw was inspired by Edward R. Murrow, whom he never met, but watched on television broadcasts on the news. Walter Cronkite, whom he did meet, became his idol,  mentor, and his friend.

One of my favorites came from legendary basketball coach John Wooden, “No, there is nothing stronger than gentleness after all.” I was also inspired by Muhammad Ali, who was inspired by Nelson Mandela. Ali, seeing that Mandela “radiated love and warmth” when he could have been “resentful or cynical” after being unfairly locked up for much of his life, strengthened Ali’s resolve “for standing up for what is right.”

You might wonder why I’m reviewing a six-year-old book. One, because I just got around to reading it and two, because I believe we could use some inspiration right now. I think we can use some people to look up to, people who encourage you rather than call you poor, lazy and unmotivated.

Besides, these are gems in this book and gems never get old.

I am left wondering who the mentors were for the child versions of the current Republican leadership and those who would be president. Given their utter display of heartlessness, it is hard to believe that any of them had any of the types of role models explored in Washington’s book. Maybe they should read it. It’s probably too late for them but maybe they could learn something about helping someone else.

Buy the book. Or for the price of postage, you can have my copy.

A Hand To Guide Me: Inspiring Personal Stories by Denzel Washington
Legends and Leaders Celebrate The People Who Shaped Their Lives
272 pages
Meredith Books
Des Moines, Iowa
Copyright (c) 2006 by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America