Friday, June 4, 2010
Stimulus? Yep. That has worked out well. Pouring hundreds of billions of dollars of private wealth down government rat holes.
No jobs. Higher taxes and fees. Pixie Dust production is in high gear. I actually weep, since unicorns must be sacrificed in order to produce Pixie Dust. When you listen to the words in this video, do yourself a favour, and make a list of the verbs you hear.
attempt. lives. falls. meets. occupy. does. doesn't. use. polluting. exciting. represents. bring. collaborate. solve. is. brings. forward. see. meet. think. create. done. embedded. thought. adapt. design. account. is. function. challenge. lays. opening. be. thinking. create. using. wasting. gives. gives. demonstrate...
And on and on and on. If you don't have time to watch the video, here's the quick take-away; "Blah, blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah."
It doesn't matter what it costs, what matters is that people feel good about doing something that no one else would want to do. This passes, in Oregon, as sound policy. (Video stolen from "mean ol' meany.)
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Thursday after the election we held an Oregon Republican Party unity lunch where I had the pleasure of introducing the next Governor of Oregon, Chris Dudley. I was pleased to tell the group Chris has my complete support. We need to come together to help elect Chris and ensure that our state is put on a sustainable path toward economic health. I urge you to join me and support him.
This may very well be the most important election of our lives. Our state is among the leaders in hunger, homelessness and unemployment. Our schools are rated near the bottom of every national ranking. Republican candidates have solutions; but to be elected Republicans, Democrats and Independents will have to come together. Unemployment has no political affiliation. Homelessness is not a partisan issue. Hunger hurts regardless of party registration.
The Oregonian ran an editorial that said “Allen Alley walked 400 miles across the state, dipped deep into his own savings to compete for the Republican nomination for governor and ran perhaps the most energetic, thoughtful campaign of any candidate for any Oregon office this year.”
The Oregonian got it wrong. Our campaign was special not because it was about me; it was special because it was about us. I can have ideas and can help get government out of the way, but true economic revival comes from all of us gaining the confidence to get back out and take a risk. Hire a friend. Make an investment. Buy a tool, truck or machine. It is about you, not me or the government.
I had the best campaign team and the finest group of volunteers any candidate could ever hope for. I am truly blessed to have had so much support from so many volunteers. If you were one of them, thank you for everything you did. I hope you felt that you were part of something special. I certainly did.
My message to you is don’t stop. Stay involved. We have outstanding candidates. Pick one and continue to show them the passion and support you have shown me. Oregon needs you and your ideas.
So what is next for me? I will be working to elect Republican candidates this fall. I will focus on doing in the private sector what I had hoped to do in the Governor’s Office: create Oregon jobs and launch careers. I am looking forward to continuing my involvement with several companies and maybe starting some new ones. In addition, I intend to share my ideas for how I think we can make Oregon a better place. So, while I will focus on building businesses, I will continue my civic duty to engage fellow Oregonians in a dialogue about the future of our great state.
My final message is to dream big. Think not about where we are but where we can be. Embrace our wonderful state and our assets. Don’t just think outside the box, shatter it. Lead. Remember that our lives will be spent turning dreams into memories and, in the end, we will audit our lives based on the memories we make. We’ve already made some great ones in 2010. Go make some more.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Strong words. Learning to love your father isn't an easy path. Your dad is a lout. Opinionated. Belligerent. Holding strongly held beliefs. Mom was easy. Whenever you had a boo-boo, mom would hold you in her arms and press herself against you. Dads were different.
Dads typically were big. Dads were powerful. Dads could make lawnmowers sing, made ladders go up, chopped down trees. Moms typically didn't do these things.
Dads made more money than moms. Dads had friends who drank beer, golfed and basically were assholes. Dad liked his friends. Mom hated most of his friends. Moms felt that they were improving the lives of your dad. Their friends were dragging them down.
Dads coached your basketball team. Dads coached your baseball team. Dads coached your soccer team. There were moms who tried to do these things, but you knew that most teams that were coached by women couldn't compete with Dad's team. The kiss of death for most youth teams was the presence of a woman coach. Dads would yell at you--exhort you--to improve. Moms would negotiate with you. Dads had limits. Moms were limitless.
Growing up hating your Dad was easy. Loving your Dad was not.
There are three movies that I would ask you to watch, if you want to learn how to process you and your Dad. These are Field of Dreams, Hoosiers, and Mr. Holland's Opus.
Men are lousy at showing their feelings.
Fear. Love. Empathy.
What do you want me to be? A woman?
We learn at an early age every device for undermining those with whom we are closest. We examine every weakness, looking for an advantage. Whether it's sport or whatever else exists, we look to win. Family especially. The competition between siblings has been noted elsewhere, before.
What imprimatur settles the question?
I don't think it is Robert Duvall in the Great Santini. The Great Santini isn't about the competition for a father's love. It's about finding the love in the father. It is a different genre. Who didn't love Santini's smashing a basketball into his son's head?
Being a son is different than being a daughter. Being hated by your father is different than being loved by your father. Whether you are hated or loved by your father is a bit of indifference. You still strive to be loved by your father. It is different in type and kind from loving your mother--in the main--and loving your father. Or, your sister(s) and brother(s). I'm not going to explore the "Mommy Dearest" type of feminine role. It's too late for Mother's Day. Loving a man is different than the love you give a woman. And you learn that love from loving your Dad.
The three movies I've listed earlier are the types of motive themes that I wish I could have actualized with my own father. In Field of Dreams you watch one of the better supporting actors in James Earl Jones. Both men, Ray Kinsella and Terry Mann have issues with their Dads. It is one of the few movies that I left in tears. The whole idea that a son can successfully build a dream that gains the respect of ones father is a moving myth. By 1989, my father was a moving vegetable. When he died, five years later, his passing was a relief, rather than a chore.
Hoosiers has a different cast, a different take on fatherhood. Everett has to deal with Shooter. Shooter has to deal with his life. And his perception of life. And his history with life. Dealing with men is mercurial. Dealing with women is softer, kinda like. Almost Venusian. For men, having a dad like Shooter isn't mythic. We have all seen our Dads on their "Shooter" days. The days you want to forget. The days you can't forget.
The reason why I have chosen Mr. Holland's Opus as my third Dads' film is simple. Mr. Holland was my Dad. He was my Great Santini. One of the top tenors in the country sixty years ago. Sang with Bob Crosby and the Bobcats. Defended Oklahoma against the Japanese. Worked on his Master's thesis for most of his adult life. Didn't really care, actually. He taught voice, and was one of the best vocalists in Portland's history. Directed the Timberliners. He was active in SPEBSQA. Directed Portland's Sweet Adelines. Was one of the most brilliant musicians I've known. His friends included guys like Eubie Blake. Jester Hairston. Carman Dragon.
My Dad was also a failure. While I worked to connect with him, I found myself drawing away from him. Just as I am a failure to my sons. Just like Santini, Kinsella, Mann and Shooter. If you have a son, you will have failed your sons. And the purpose of this post is to let you know that you haven't failed your sons. You can't fail your sons. You teach them how the game is played, and you show them how to win or lose at the game. And the final goalpost isn't set in cash.
I've lost more money than most people have made. I don't have a problem with that. Getting squared away with yourself isn't a game. It's learning about the right ways and wrongs ways of getting to where you're going. And here I am.
Two great sons. My Father's Day. Complete.
My life hasn't been as interesting as was Kinsella's. Probably, in their lifetimes, closer to Shooter's. Only one son has known me as a playing musician. And we sat side by side for a concert. One of my proudest moments.
Both sons had to deal with me as "father-coach." And I learned a lot from both my sons as a result. I learned about my skills as a teacher, as a father, as a man. I wasn't always right, but I learned. The fruit of this is in the unsolicited calls I receive from both my sons. From my oldest son, our talks about electronics and his play in his latest endeavour on the pitch. From my youngest, calls about his latest performance. His last was shredding Pachelbel. The Cannon. At least he knows the classics.
I don't know how my sons will remember me. I do know of how I reflect upon my father. His strengths. His weaknesses. His failures. His triumphs. How proud I was to be his son. How ashamed I was, too. How I and my sisters loved him. How we learned about his weaknesses, and yet found ourselves victims of his weaknesses, too.
For God so loved the world.
When you watch these movies, remember these words, please. No Dad wishes to be the object of scorn. Not hatred. Anger, not apathy. Be engaged with those whom you love, those who you wish loved you. Don't be surprised when you find out that your Dad didn't meet your expectations. Don't be surprised when you don't meet the expectations of your sons.
Just be aware of the loss you will feel when you find you hadn't adopted your Dad's beliefs earlier. Men aren't like women. We have things we believe in that we may not be able to express. But, we know are right. When words are important, we rely upon those who have found themselves in our predicament, unable to express our emotions; because they aren't emotions. They are truly and wholly felt beliefs. The early trancedents weren't different than you or I. They were simply the first who attempted to traduce the difference between the wholly rational and the simply felt, or emotional. Loving isn't either a simply feminine or masculine emotion. Love is the dangerous thing we must learn to wield or welcome. It isn't rational. It is real. And love for your Dad isn't rational. But, it is real.
Here's an arrangement of Carmen Dragon's America the Beautiful that my dad had a hand in. Enjoy.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Encapsulated by Sir John Harrington, sixteen hundred years later.
"Treason doth never prosper: what ’s the reason?
"Why, if it prosper, none dare call it treason."
None dare call it treason.
I spent time this weekend with my college roomie. He and his new lady friend. I felt like I was a wind-up toy. The "guy" who is labeled "conservative," who disagrees with the Progressive agenda. I felt put upon...he knew that I didn't want to be on display. He is one of my oldest and dearest friends, but he wanted to produce some reality to whatever he has told his newest. You know, OregonGuy, he's such a conservative guy! How fatuous.
But I learned a couple of things, after all is said and done.
The Left truly has no opinion. Seemingly, any strongly held and exuberantly expressed idea can capture a conversation. It was easier than I thought. After being baited for an hour or so, I calmly and cleanly cut my buddy's rhetoric off with a clear denunciation of his line of prattle, and he was stunned. He kept trying to make eye contact with his lady, but she was basically nodding her head.
I've led a life presuming that smart was additive and stupid was multiplicative. There may be a new paradigm. Confrontation is divisive.
I am an enemy of the State.
Join me, won't you?