The other day, I stopped at the public library to look for a book recommended by Michele Bachmann (R-MN-06) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) … I had previously read Mr. Cantor’s earlier recommendation Claire Berlinski’s “There Is No Alternative”: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters … if you want to understand How the Republicans won so many contests last November, read the book. The book I wanted was Arthur Brooks’ The Battle: How the Fight between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America’s Future when I noticed the negative tones of the some other titles Jim DeMint’s Saving Freedom: We Can Stop America’s Slide into Socialism … Mitt Romney’s No Apologies … Rick Perry’s Fed UP: The Fight to Save America From Washington … these are from Republican leaders that want to shape public policy … when I see Keith Olbermann’s Pitchforks and Torches or Glenn Beck’s Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure, I consider that these are “entertainers” using catchy titles to create sales …but why are the Republicans writing to evoke negativity ? Is this doing the opposite of Obama’s The Audacity of Hope?
Well, soon the book shelves … well at least at the public libraries in Minnesota … will soon have another Republican politician’s book. Minnesota’s Governor Tim Pawlenty book Courage to Stand : An American Story has a release date of 1/11/11. His website offers an excerpt :
Think I was about twelve when my Dad picked up a side job to earn a few bucks one weekend — a side job that required my help.
It was a hot, sweltering summer day, the kind of day when outside work is the last thing anyone wants to do. But my dad clearly needed me, and I always wanted to lend a hand if I could. I didn’t ask a lot of questions, and he didn’t give me very much information about the task at hand – until we got down to this parking lot beside a warehouse.
The “side job” included yanking meat hooks from large wooden bins that were stashed in a couple of truck trailers on the lot. Tangled meat hooks that once held whole sides of beef were tossed in those bins, in trucks without Thermo Kings to cool down their trailers. Hundreds of thick, heavy meat hooks, covered with discarded raw remnants of sinew and fat, all rotting in the blistering heat. It was up to my dad and me to pull out every one of those hooks and hang them up – presumably to be power-washed and used again.
Have you ever opened up an expired or rotting pack of hamburger from the bottom of your refrigerator and given it a big whiff? Yeah. Multiply that times a thousand, and you’ll get the idea. You could smell that rotting meat as soon as we opened the doors of those trailers. Then, when we hopped up there, we could hear the buzzing. My dad reached in and grabbed the first hook, and I held my breath and leaned in through a swarm of flies to grab mine – and I lost it. I tossed my cookies next to one of the bins, only adding to the mess and the stench.
My dad didn’t say much to me. I looked up at him, hoping for an out. He isn’t really gonna make me keep doing this, is he? My dad’s face was steady. He wasn’t having an easy go of it either. But he looked at me and said quietly, “We have to do this.”
It was all he needed to say.
We have to do this. We may not want to. We may not like it. It may be messy. But there are times in life when we “have to.” We keep moving forward, regardless of the challenge. Our family needed money, and my dad needed my help. So I wiped my mouth on my short-sleeved shirt, pulled my gloves on a little tighter, and stuck my hands back into the hooks. Over the course of a few hours, we got the job done.
We have to do this. It’s impossible to count how many times I’ve applied that lesson in my life, especially in the political arena, where the tangled mess often seems insurmountable. When a job needs doing, get it done. Plow through; never give up. Keep moving forward. When it’s right, when it’s necessary, just do it.
My parents taught me many lessons in those early years, many of which slipped quietly into my subconscious. I’m forever grateful to both of them for all they did for me, for all of us kids. They were the constants in my life.
Well, I have to confess that a story of Vomiting trumps negative titles.
Why Mr. Pawlenty decided to tell this story is a mystery … and why this would be in the “early release” preview time is more perplexing. I would have thought that he would have talked about losing his Mother at the age of 15 … but a story about vomiting ?
Yet, my thoughts go to child labor laws. The incident would have happened in 1973 … It is a safety issue … I have to wonder what the company would think if they knew that a 12 year old was there. The potential liability if “young” Timmy got hurt … they would not have been pleased.
I wonder how many times Governor Pawlenty related this story to his own daughters … can’t you hear it … “in my day, I had helped my Dad clean meat hooks … didn’t matter how much I vomited, we had to do it …”
Yet, this is not the ramblings of grandparent trying to encourage a grandchild to confront adversity … this is a political statement.
Mr. Pawlenty is telling us that he is not the son of a governor that had a privileged childhood (see Mitt Romney) … and although he may not be proficient at aerial wolf hunting, he knows how to clean meat hooks.
Gosh, it looks like Governor Pawlenty has a real page turner here … I think I will pass … and I hope I never see Mr. Pawlenty holding a cookie again … I don’t need to be reminded of his story.