Whenever people discuss the public figures that have inspired them the most, the list always includes statesmen, explorers, inventors, and famous soldiers. When this question is directed to me, I always tell them a rather strange story. I think it is somewhat inspiring, and maybe it will help you through your day.
The company where I was employed had an unusually productive year. We earned the largest corporate profit that any company had earned in the history of the world. It was due to our diversified holdings, innovative management, and a lot of hard work by dedicated employees. We anxiously awaited the arrival of the president of the company to deliver a ‘state of the company’ speech. Most of us had already planned the myriad ways in which we would spend our bonus and salary increase. You can imagine our surprise when we heard the president’s prepared message. He told us that the company’s success was due to the dedication and hard work of his employees, but he was the boss and he had other plans for the increased income and profits. He added that a large portion of it would go into his pockets and into the pockets of his minions. There are a lot of knaves that earn our respect, and this was no different. I shook hands with him at the end of the meeting and told him that he was one of the most honest people I had ever known.
Contrast this with what we hear from Washington from whatever administration that happens to be in power. We have just been informed that the cost of living did not rise over the last twelve months and we will not receive an increase in our Social Security benefits next year. I am a very thrifty shopper and I keep old receipts in order to track my spending habits and the rising cost of everything I buy. A lot of items in stores have gone up as much as twenty-five percent in the last twelve months. A few items have doubled in price. The only thing I am aware of that has gone down in cost is meat, and I don’t eat a lot of that. Utilities are up, gasoline and heating fuel are up, cars cost more, services have risen to astronomical levels, while our savings have shrunk dramatically during one of the most dramatic downturns since the great depression. I am looking for one honest politician who will look me in the eye and say, “I know things are bad, but they are bad because I wanted my cronies to have a bigger slice of the pie. While I was looking out for my buddies, I was also feathering my own nest. I think I have placed myself in a position where I will be reelected, and that is what politics is all about. I know that knife in the back hurts, but life is supposed to be painful, and you are sorely in need of a stiff upper lip.”
I’m not holding my breath until I hear someone in Washington say that, but on the off chance they do, that person is going to get my vote.