When my family arrived to Harlem in the summer of 1975, it was a gritty place, vibrant with life, sounds, aromas, and excitement. It was also like the wild-wild west! It was a very dangerous place that boasted corners that saw as many killings as patches of Vietnam during the war. It was a place where you needed a friendly face and a source of safety. One such person was Brother John. He ran a non-profit organization that sought to help neighborhood kids with school and life in general.
He had a special approach that was sincere and honest.
When guys would fight on the block he'd take them around the back of the center and put on boxing gloves. A couple of rounds, a sit down, and all the beef was over and nobody got harmed. He was a community organizer, and he made a difference for so many young people. He was important to my life. He was a great man and a God-send for the neighborhood. Yet, he didn't have the kind of skill set that this country needs right now to turn it around.
I firmly believe the nation needs a person that understands how to save a great enterprise and turn it around. President Obama says Romney only knows how to maximize "profits" but I think the former governor understands how to maximize "potential." You see no matter what the president says about the economy doing better the nation isn't living up to its potential. Maybe there are times when the nation needs a community organizer, but that time isn't now. There are times we need to heal different wounds. That wound right now is mostly economic.
I never heard anyone talk about the president's work as a community organizer. I would like to hear more stories about the lives he touched. I'm sure he did a good job, but I find it curious that more people haven't told their stories. I will tell my Brother John stories forever. The nation needs an army of Brother Johns right now, but the White House needs a person that can rekindle our greatness. So, I find the attacks on Romney's time at Bain Capital so disingenuous. According to an article in the Journal, it wasn't about hit and run with Bain—they spent an average of eight years with the 77 companies they helped and brought back more than 75% from the brink. In the process I think they created a bunch of jobs, even in Chicago (see table).
R.I.P. Brother John was killed one summer day ... breaking up a fight.Too Weak to be a Warrior or Bum
Alexander the Great: What can I do for you?
Diogenes the Cynic: Move over a little you are blocking my light
Alexander the Great: But verily, if I were not Alexander, I would like to be Diogenes
This Greek drama is lasting longer than the run of Alexander the Great and having a greater impact on the world. I find it amazing that a nation that's 0.40% of the planet's GDP could actually wield this much power. Of course I get the notion of maintaining their serfdom, which is not unlike the idea of periodically increasing welfare and food stamp benefits along with minimum wage to keep people in a hopeless state of cheap labor and high consumerism. But, at what point does Germany just say it's not worth it? I don't have that answer, nobody has that answer, but Greece is determined to find out.
No matter how this plays out, somewhere Diogenes the Cynic and Alexander must be smiling as they wonder how this modern society has avoided both of their philosophies. Diogenes saw virtue in poverty and even begged for a living while spending his nights in a tub near the market place. He shunned earthly delights while embracing austerity. As a child he even defaced the currency which brought him much serious punishment. In addition to his famous showdown with Alexander the Great he is known for his stunts that included walking around in the daytime with a lamp while stating he was: "looking for an honest man."
Alexander was proclaimed king in 336 BC upon the assassination of his father, Philip, by the Captain of his bodyguards. We know the story of the conqueror of the world and understand his desire to live up to his name. Right now the people of Greece are only looking to further assassinate their legacy. Unlike Diogenes they are looking to have their earthly delights while shunning austerity. So, even as Angela Merkel asks what she can do within reason to help, Greece is asking her to move over a little—so they can keep catching those rays.
Diogenes lived in an uncovered tub for all to see. He once broke his only spoon upon seeing a young child bend over to drink water by cupping his hands. He was brash and became a legend. His country continues to be brash, but sadly it's becoming a travesty—the biggest ruin of them all. One Honest Woman against an Army of Dishonest Men
I'm looking for an honest man in global politics. Right now Angela Merkel is the only honest person in the mix but can she withstand the barrage from those that hate austerity? Of course austerity as practiced in Europe is a joke and a sham. Higher taxes on the most productive members of society coupled with slim government spending cuts aren't austere. It's intellectually dishonest. So, too, are those pushing for more spending and borrowing as a solution.
These folks understand debt is slavery and the further the masses sink into this relationship the more they'll need it in the future. The problem is getting those so accustomed to freebies and easy living to wake up and smell the coffee.