A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Good Week, Bad Week

First of all, I'm going to blame it all on my ADD.

"Mabel, what are you doing? Stop scratching on my office divider. How nice of you to lick my toes."

I have no business writing now, because I am late on every assignment and legitimately fear that I'm about to fail out of grad school since I am late on every assignment, and since there is so little tolerance in teaching for late assignments, but I have to. How weird did it feel yesterday to be invited into an honor society yesterday because my GPA is in the stratosphere, when I was feeling the entire time I was writing the check that all the wheels were falling off the bus? Definitely, it feels like I'm losing it. Last night I used my Apnea Machine and got more than 4 hours of sleep for the first time all week, and slept through the greatest World Series of recent memory. Now I'm rested. Now I'm dangerous. (If you want to know why I love to read about sports, click on the link to Dave Sheinan's article in the Washington Post.)

Last weekend, I attended my 30th High School Reunion. I can blame that on my ADD too! Have you ever had that feeling of attraction that is so strong that you are attracted to it like a moth to a flame? That's ADD. I knew that the head of the Special Education Department of my university would be observing my lesson on character traits. I knew that I had two math lessons on ratios and lessons needed to be turned in two days ahead of schedule. I knew that John Beck would be starting his first game. But I still went! That's ADD.

Do you know how it feels to be recognized for a brilliant performance, and held up to an undergraduate class as an example of a "best practice lesson" and get stoned by your mentor on your mid-term evaluation because of a weakness with organization? That's ADD, and that's the story of my life.

Now, I'm going to shift topics.

I wanted to share with the audiance an email that I found in my box this morning, which contained the text of a handwritten letter that was written to President Obama this week. Given my 15+ years of working in an model employee-owned company, the letter offers a glimpse of why I never blindly follow anyone's lead ... if we all did that, nothing would ever change and we would all be led down the primrose path ... like lemings!

Now, before I get back to the hell that is my life right now, I will share with you the inspiring words of Barbara Olson. Be warned, it might make you cry!

2291 W. Horizon Ridge Pkwy, #1101
Henderson, NV 89052

Oct. 22, 2011

Dear Mr. President:

I want to write you, not about my situation, but about my “almost-situation.” Because, if my husband had not been attacked on the job and died as a result, I can’t imagine how in God’s name I could have lived this long or how I could sustain myself.

My husband, Leonard, had a world-class singing Bass voice that he once used to sing in his minister father’s Swedish Baptist church. With it, he won full vocal scholarships at one of the finest music schools in the Eastern United States. He was highly intelligent, brilliantly talented and fortune provided him with a fine, tall appearance. This would seem to have assured him a great musical career and a fine future.

But life is more complicated than that. As luck would have it, all these wonderful gifts and attributes were undermined by some — also very human — drawbacks.

Leonard was manic-depressive — not the worst form of this condition, but bad enough to, perhaps more subtly affect his life. When he turned 18, he was drafted and was a foot soldier, seeing combat in the European Theatre — in France and Germany — during the last six months of World War II. He returned, seemingly unharmed, but suffering from what was then known as “shell shock.” This condition is now called “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); it is a life sentence.

There was yet another problem — completely hidden and stemming from, not only his good character and sensitivity, but also from his gentle father’s good character and Faith. Pastor Olson truly believed that it is easier for a “camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into Heaven.” He therefore accepted Pastoral duties in small, poor churches, rejecting all offers of bigger churches with higher pay. This meant his family, which included four children, living simply, with no frills.

Leonard, the oldest of four, absorbed this somewhat knee-jerk negative response to money — though not consciously. The result of all his problems resulted in a life of poverty. No great talent, no greatness of country could rescue him. He truly had three strikes against him. He was driving for a San Francisco limousine company when he was attacked on the street. His blood pressure then rose so high that he suffered a Hemorrhagic Stroke and died less than 24 hours later. He was 68 years old.

Needless to say, I was left with nothing but memories of a good man, a wonderful man — with, as his father would have put it, “feet of clay.”

I was in shock and recovering from major surgery. Our daughter had to take over the funeral arrangements. Len’s boss voluntarily made out an application for me for Worker’s Compensation. (I then discovered how vicious Insurance Companies can be — but that is another story. I won the case anyway.)

All of this took place some 17 years ago.

By being frugal and, with the help of a clever friend, I have been able to stretch the money, though it’s almost gone now. My primary income is Social Security. It is a very low income and, at 81 years of age, I am in the position of hoping to die before the money runs out and I cannot take care of myself.

Mr. President, mine is a “happy” ending compared to so many millions of others. And I must tell you that human labor — jobs — is not enough. In 1973, we discovered Louis Kelso — from an article about him in Time Magazine. His powerful ideas and unique changes in our economic system can make it possible for every man, woman and child to own wealth-producing capital. This is in addition to their jobs. Implementation requires changes in monetary (tax, banking, etc.) laws. But once in place, we would not need to rely on transfer-taxes-money to help people’s living expenses. People are poor only because they own little or no capital. This subtle but powerful concept can change our world — perhaps even end poverty, attacking it at its root cause rather than merely attempting to relieve its symptoms. I hope, Mr. President, that you find out more about this miraculous “Eureka” concept and how to use it in the support of liberty and justice for all. You can do so by contacting the Center for Economic and Social Justice (CESJ).  Their headquarters is in Arlington, VA — just a “stone’s throw” from the White House. Their number is (703) 243-5155. Speak to Dr. Norman Kurland, president. They are on the web at: www.cesj.org. It can not only save your presidency — one of the most important in our nation’s history — but it may save our country, and perhaps the world.

I thank you for your kind attention.


Barbara P. Olson
(702) 616-2685