Saturday, September 1, 2012

American “Entitlement” or “Self-Made” in America:

We Americans—Right, Left, or Center—harbor a sense of entitlement: we feel entitled to a share of the sum total of what “we, the people” have built together over the past 216 years. But the Right’s sense of entitlement is unusual:

The Right would have us believe that what makes America great is something
that just lies here. As if our condition of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” were something that we just find here, lying on the ground, free for us to pick up and use, to enrich ourselves independent of anything that anyone else contributes around us.

Of course, this is foolishness: the idea that any of us manage to create our great wealth entirely by the sweat of our own brow is absurd.

America’s greatness derives from
what we have cobbled together here, and from how we maintain it. Our greatness also derives from the extent that we continue making  access to the resources of America available to all, so that any among us may realize the American Dream.

The following reaction to the Republican candidates’ speeches at last week’s political convention was posted to a “Comments” page of 
The Washington Post. Absent our ability to contact the author for permission, it is posted in its entirety.


Another Warmly Human Person and Self-Made Businessman:
by Bill Weston (8/31/2012 5:22 PM CDT)

My mother and father loved me too. Unfortunately, they couldn’t raise me with the absence of insecurity Romney enjoyed because I was a Depression baby.

At first my father, a “catcher” on a steel rolling mill, kept us going by often working 16 hours straight, but he was injured when a runaway strip of hot steel cooked a stripe on his back (there was no Republican-despised OSHA in the early Thirties).

Then the mill was shut down, and he worked at odd jobs; my mother took in laundry. A furniture merchant brought the sheriff to repossess our furniture, as if we were conservative gun-lovers, but all that happened was that my mother cried.

We didn’t lose our house because Roosevelt’s WPA gave my father steady work at $48 a month. Then World War II opened the steel mill with jobs.

But catching up with debt is slow, and conservative-despised Social Security couldn’t pay for me as it did for Paul Ryan until he was 18 years old.

So when I was twelve, I began working every other evening 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. at a drug store as a dish washer, furnace stoker, prescription drug deliverer, soda jerk, sweeper and mopper. I shed no Boehner tears about that, and until I retired at 63, I was never unemployed.

At sixteen, I had to leave high school to work at a bank, where I rose from check sorter to bookkeeper to the city’s youngest teller. After three years, I quit to make $60 a month more as a laborer in the steel mill. I hated every workday, so I was not sorry the Korean War drew me into the Air Force for four years. I learned a lot, especially on Guam’s bomber base, where I served as a Staff Sergeant and Special Assistant to a Group Commander. 

Then I entered the University of Illinois with $110 a month from the GI Bill, $36 a month for Air Force Reserve service and pay for working 20 hours a week.

In 2 ½ years, I was graduated as the top student in my class. With my journalism degree I got a position as a copywriter for large accounts at a large agency. After five years, I was writing both print ads and high-budget television commercials, which I also produced.

After 18 years, I had won 500 international awards and held the unusual position of Sr. VP, Account Director & Creative Director for several large accounts. Even so, I continued writing and producing television commercials, corporate films and multi-media presentations.

To do more of that I started my own communications company, which I headed as President and Chief Creative Officer. Then I was lured to one of America’s top five ad agencies by the position of VP/Associate Creative Director for Marlboro cigarettes. And until my retirement, I held that position for several other large accounts such as McDonald’s. 

What I didn’t do was consider my rise from the working class, the way Romney and Ryan do as they strive to deceive the middle class, a top qualification to be president or vice president. 

Should they? Should you?

 The above essay is taken in full from the “comments” pages of Conservative Washington Post columnist, Kathleen Parker’s essay, “Romney and Ryan, Running Against Themselves,” following last week’s Republican convention in Florida.

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