Monday, March 02, 2009

A time for optimism?

It's no secret that I have long loved the writing and thinking of Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads, in Austin. I read his Monday Morning Memo virtually first thing every Monday. I've never met him, but he strikes me as my kind of guy: likes beagles, thinks highly of Jesus and the Bible in an irreligious sort of way, and loves to stimulate good thinking. If he plays golf, he might just be perfect...

Anway, his memo this morning is about the economy. Except that like most of his writing, it's not really about the economy, it's about more than that. It's about us. I've copied some of it here, but check out the whole thing at

WobbleThe Beagle Sings with Buble
My staff can hardly get any work done. It seems the whole world is calling to ask what I think will happen with our economy.The President of the United States made a primetime speech last week. The press is an interesting animal. The Chicago Tribune predicted the president’s speech would "live among the annals of man," while its competitor, the Chicago Times, editorialized that "the cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, and dishwatery utterances of the president." Those papers were talking about Abraham Lincoln. The speech was the Gettysburg Address.Before I go any further, let me acknowledge that I’m aware of how dangerous it is to speak of politics or religion. No matter what I say on either subject, I’m going to get a firestorm of emails correcting me.Even so…All indications are that President Obama’s speech lifted the mood of the nation. When the mood of the nation is optimistic, our economy sings like Michael BublĂ© and money flows like water in the street.
More than one friend has told me that Obama’s plan will end in disaster. I choose to believe otherwise. I choose to believe. I choose.A jet is low over New York City. Both engines have failed. Any idiot can see that everyone on the plane is going to die. The pilot can fly into a building and kill all the people inside, or he can line up on a street and kill unsuspecting motorists instead. These are his only options. Well, I’m on that jet and I say this pilot is going to land on the Hudson River and the plane is going to float long enough for everyone to get out safely and then we’re all going to hop onto some big passenger ferries that will be exactly where we need them to be.Don’t laugh. It could happen. By the way, you’re on this jet, too.I bought a book at the airport the other day. Barack Obama wrote Dreams From My Father fifteen years ago. As a writer, I was deeply impressed. If a man can be judged by what he writes when he is young, we have an extremely intelligent president. A history book of ancient Israel tells of a starving city surrounded by an enemy army. “Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, "Why stay here until we die? If we say, 'We'll go into the city'-the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let's go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die."That story ends happily. Not just for the lepers, but for everyone in the city. Well, not quite everyone. There was one man who insisted that God himself couldn’t save the city. Interestingly, everyone made it safely onto the ferryboats except for that guy. He was the moron screaming hysterically ‘We’re all going to die!’ while the pilot was trying to land the plane on the Hudson.It’s really an interesting story. You ought to read it.Roy H. Williams

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