Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Sad Tale of Greg Mortenson

I read Nick Kristoff's column in The New York Times last night via Twitter and agree with a lot of what he said in defense of Mr. Mortenson.  I feel sorry for him and loathe what he is accused of doing at the same time.  I don't agree, however,  that he should be given the benefit of the doubt or that we should "reserve judgment" as does Mr. Kristoff.  When people take on the responsibility and the privilege of managing huge sums of money for the benefit of a world-wide charity, then they need to be prepared to account for and answer to the public whose money it is they is spending.

I first read about Mortenson's good works in a book called, "Half the Sky," written  by Kristoff and his wife, Sheryl WuDunn and was duly impressed. I think I am as disappointed with these accusations as everyone else who was aware of the schools being built in behalf of Afghan and Pakistani girls, whose education has,  for centuries, been left to happenstance, serendipity or the kindness of strangers.  Nevertheless, his book, "Three cups of Tea," Mr. Mortenson's memoir, is being scrutinized for factual errors, hyping and just plain ol' lying.  We must give him the credit that he deserves, certainly, but at the same time, we must demand the answers that will either absolve or condemn him.  Let us hope for the former.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Should Donald Trump Run for President

When the Eagle Flies with the Condor: A Novel of the SixtiesWhen the Eagle Flies with the Condor: A Novel of the Sixties

No, he should not.

Donald Trump is the epitome of what is wrong with the country.  Not the fact that he is a successful entrepreneur and has learned how to make billions from the real estate market -- that's good.  I mean that in spite of his success, he shows a lack of responsibility and yes, gratitude to the country that allowed him to rise to the top. His rant about Obama and his U. S. citizenship shows either an abominable lack of knowledge of the issues or no concern for the real problems facing our nation.  He is a salesman and a showman, true, but his vile attacks, his dearth of respect and decorum and the needless dredging up of the "birther" question demonstrates his extraordinary ability to deflect attention from the serious conversation we need to have.

With the money and fame he's acquired over the years, his responsibility should be to BUILD, not DESTROY. He should be giving back to the nation that allows him to make such outlandish accusations. Instead, he is destroying faith and support in the presidency that we so desperately need right now by demeaning everything Obama says. Donald Trump, and others who are able to buy an election, are likely to be in the race for their own advancement and egos.  Why do we have to put up with the kind of rhetoric that only the wealthy can afford to dish out?  Where are our real patriots?

In Congress? I don't think so. Instead, we find that our congress people are largely there by acquiescing to the lobbyists year after year, lobbyist who pay them money to vote according to their agendas. Since they don't want to lose their seats, they go along with it and as a result of their conspiracy with the corporations, they remain year after year perpetuating the myth that they are representing the people. By throwing roadblocks on the pathway to unity and a cohesive method of governing, Congress continually restricts progress by creating stalemate, indecision and ineffectiveness of the system to which they have sworn an oath to uphold. We need fewer candidates like this, not more.

I consider Trump to be a clown, but more than that, I think he represents a dangerous trend--one of tearing down instead of building up. Go back to your tv show, Mr. Trump since that is where all showmen of your ilk belong. Stay out of the conversation of adults. You are exactly what we DON'T want in our candidates -- a lot of vacant, vindictive slander, loud meaningless bluster, but like poor Charlie Sheen, ultimately full of bull pucky.