Who Owns Success?

Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear of something else not getting done in Washington. Congress puts off debating taxes and the Federal budget until after the election. Politics has completely replaced governance. Personal and Party interests have replaced the Public interest. There has to be a better way. And there is, if we have the courage to overcome our discomfort.

In the spring of 1961, after the Russians put a man in space and the disastrous U.S. invasion of the Bay of Pigs, President John Kennedy answered a question at a press conference with the now famous statement: “There’s an old saying that victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan.” Kennedy was trying to avoid saying too much in public about these and other U.S. foreign policy failures during his first 100 days in office. Interestingly, the public reaction after these failures was to rally around the popular President, because they liked and trusted him.

Now, 50 years later, can you imagine President Obama, or any Congressman or Senator, saying: “Success has 1,000 parents and failure is an orphan” (allowing for inflation and political correctness), and then saying: “We should all share our successes”?

Why don’t we put the interests of our nation ahead of our personal or political interests or affiliations? Why don’t we build others up and cheer their good ideas (for surely “they” have some good ideas)? Why don’t we share success? What are we afraid of? What is so broken that we have forgotten that we are all in this together? When are we going to get out of our own way?

We can start with our own labels. What would the world look like if we all put our labels aside? Would we see each other differently? Would our leaders see people instead of labels? Would they resolve issues, instead of avoiding them? Imagine the possibilities…

Please Help My 5-Year Old Friend, Taylor Love

Please help my 5-year old friend, Taylor Love, and all kids like her who have a form of cancer called Neuroblastoma. Pepsi is hosting a contest called Pepsi Refresh. A Foundation, called Arms Wide Open, founded to fund nontoxic therapies for children with Neuroblastoma (like Taylor), is battling it out between 2nd and 3rd place in this contest. The two groups with the largest number of votes in the Pepsi Refresh Contest each win $250,000, so your vote is crucial.

In a nutshell, if The Arms Wide Open Foundation wins, the grant money from Pepsi would be directed toward a promising new nontoxic Neuroblastoma therapy at Sloan Kettering, called Turbo 3F8. This is a technologically improved treatment that binds better to white blood cells – that is, it is better at killing Neuroblastoma cells. If the dose can be lowered (using the Turbo 3f8), then the toxicity would also be lowered. So, it is hypothesized that the antibody will work better with fewer side effects. If the research were fully funded now (needs about $1.5M), then Turbo 3F8 could be in the clinic by the end of 2011. The next step would be to engage a manufacturer, but without the funding ($572K for the first installment) a contract cannot be signed.

Please vote to help Arms Wide Open secure a win. The contest ends Thursday, September 30. You can vote once a day from your phone and computer. From your cell phone, Text 73774 and enter the code 102653. From your computer go to: www.refresheverything.com/armswideopenchildhoodcancerfoundation. Thank you.

America Isn’t Easy

America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

Movie Speech from “The American President” (1995)