Saturday, August 6, 2011

Don’t Lose Hope!

       Vladimir Illich Ulyanov  Photo by MBM
Quite a while before now I lived in Moscow, Russia. I was there when the godless communists were in charge of every layer of society. Everybody worked, everybody had medical care, everybody had housing, and everybody spent endless amounts of time slogging through their days in pursuit of basic staples in the state run shops. Everybody carried a “just in case” bag should a particular product pop up in a store for sale.  Men usually carried mostly empty briefcases and women carried string bags, “just in case.”
Everybody was extremely cautious about expressing opinions, as the legacy of informers and punishment had touched most people directly or indirectly.
Everywhere, and I mean everywhere, Lenin looked down off building facades, from park and square pedestals and up from the money in your hand.
“Lenin lived, Lenin lives and Lenin will live,” called out to remind the citizens that their sacrifice for the motherland was well worth the few challenges.
I didn’t think the Russian people would ever demand a better life!
I travelled through the wall in Berlin confidant that the East Germans would never give up that slice of power.
I read about Nelson Mandela feeling secure in my oft-voiced opinion that he would die in prison.
I never thought Idi Amin Dada would be chased from his murderous ways in Uganda.
I never thought peace would come to Northern Ireland.
Well, I was wrong about all those closely held beliefs.
When I walk along the parade in Freemont, a Seattle neighborhood, looking at a statue of Lenin I can only shake my head in wonderment, as his step down in history was an impossible consideration when I walked various streets across the Soviet Empire.
I hear a lot of talk today that we are in an impossible situation here in America. Yes, we have challenges but we also have opportunities few referenced above ever had-We have the ability to speak up!
We have the ability to organize.
We have the ability to call on elected officials reminding them of who they work for-
We have the right to run for office or support any candidate.
Most importantly we have the ability to educate ourselves rather than being feed government speak! 
Times change.
Don’t look back wishing you had done something-


  1. Michael - great to hear from you. I can't agree more, now is the time we all need to stand up and make our views heard, because the folks in Washington seem to be very "hard of hearing".

    What would MM's 3-point plan be, if you could institute one?

  2. Thank you for your comment and very difficult question. I guess it depends on the focus of the question to which three magic responses I might reach for-
    Obviously we have economic challenges, made more complex, by the inability of some in government to come together in a mature way to solve the problem.
    We cannot continue without taxes/revenues. We can’t continue with juvenile responses to our challenges. We can’t continue to have politics be the game of the day, endlessly churning on eating our oxygen and our money. We cannot continue to push military solutions in countries that are desperate and on day-to-day survival mode for obscure rationales.
    At the end of the day I think education is the key. Educated people tend to avoid some of the pitfalls we have seen though a lot of the “decision makers” went to some pretty prestigious schools. Its about real education-not tests and grades.
    How’s this for a list of three after we really tackle education-
    No income tax (VAT instead)with standard exclusions.
    No campaign spending other than public financing (free tv/internet only). Six month limit on campaigning.
    No undeclared wars
    Depending on the time of day, quality and quantity of Guatemalan coffee, I might shuffle the above for some other favorites.
    We deserve better!!