Monday, November 19, 2012
The first time I visited my family in Ireland, my cousin took me to a harsh and rugged piece of land that didn't seem capable of supporting human life . It was the home of my Grandfather, or at least the area where he was born and raised, and it was the most beautiful vista I had ever laid eyes on.
It was both inhospitable and magnificent. I have been a lot of places and seen a lot of gorgeous vistas, but none compared to that one. My cousin then ask me, "Billy, did you ever imagine that you would be standing right here where it all started for us"? He said "this is the land where all McLaughlins came from. This is where our blood line goes back to a time even before last names were used". I was so moved that I didn't realize I was speaking, and was surprised when I heard the word "No" come out of my mouth.
I guess this snapped me out of what ever shock I was in, because I began to tell him I never expected to be anywhere. I never thought in a million years I would have what I have, a home, a family, anything. I always thought I would grow up and live on the same street, in the same city I was born in. I never expected to have a wonderful wife, three amazing children, and a bevy of beautiful grandchildren.
Our home is no Palace by any means but it is my Castle, and that's enough for me. But that's what can happen in America. At least the America I grew up in. A boy with very little education, no connections, and even less money can make a place for himself. This is probably the main thing that separates us from the rest of the world. It can not be done without work and for that we need jobs. Good jobs, with good benefits and the chance for advancement.
This is something we are sorely lacking now a days. This is why my Grandfather came to America. When I was in Ireland, I walked along an old path that lead from the sea to the main town. The English paid my Grandfather to take stones from the pebble beach and spread them out on that path, paving the road all the way to town. Every day he would shovel stones into a 4 foot by 4 foot donkey cart and shovel it back out onto the path. And when he was done it needed replenishing, and he would start all over. If he missed a day, he would be replaced, and lose that job.
I look at Companies in America today and I see the same mentality my Grandfather wished to escape. My Grandfather grew up in a world where his religion, culture and language were illegal, and work was a privilege, so you'd better be grateful for what you got.
Congratulations Corporate America, you have guided us directly onto the path that caused the collapse of the British Empire.