July 13, 2008


So, former Senator, and erstwhile economic Czar to John McCain, Phil Gramm is “in dutch” for saying this about Americans:

“We have sort of, become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining…”

John “I feel your pain” McCain, the presumptuous (sic) Republican presidential nominee, scared he won’t live long enough to covet the White House, immediately goes dutch-candy-tail, and attempts to distance himself by asserting; “Phil doesn’t speak for me.” Well…why not?

John and other critics are missing something here. Phil was close, but blew it when he said; “sort of, become.” Huh? America was founded by whiners, and for centuries now, whining has made it the “in” place to live, and let me explain. I mean, what do you think the Pilgrims were up to back in the 1600’s? Whining, of course. Whining for religious freedom from the Church of England. Feeling strongly about it, they whined their way out of England and wound up re-locating to the Netherlands, until “issues” caused them to re-whine a long, full ten years later, and then take their act to America.

History shows us, and the Pilgrims wrote to all, that life was tough in the Netherlands. They spent dry their savings withdrawn from the Bank of England, couldn’t find “suitable” employment, had “trouble” learning the Dutch language, and knew there was a big problem when all the young Pilgrims decided to bolt back to England for a better gig, leaving the old broke Pilgrims to fend for themselves.

The Pilgrims even whined about moving to America with all it’s uncertainties. (They almost moved to Guiana, but their English investors and business partners sold them on America instead). Stories had come back from America about failed colonies. There were fears that the native people would be violent, that there would be no source of food or water, that exposure to unknown diseases was possible, and that travel by sea was always hazardous. Anyhow, after some particularly unscrupulous business deals, lies, and high-seas hanky-panky, the Pilgrims made it to America in 1620, albeit, in the wrong place.

Fast-forward to the 1780s after the American Revolutionary War, necessitated because whining was not working fast enough to get a divorce from the English Monarchy. You would think winning the war would be enough to make all Americans happy, but nope. In effort to “incorporate” the new America, there was vehement whining between the “Federalists,” such as Alexander Hamilton who favored a strong federal government, and the “Anti-Federalists,” such as Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry who favored a weaker federal government. Go figure.

Patrick Henry, famously saying; “Give me liberty or give me death,” really meant, “I have a right to whine, hear me roar.” (Think “Freedom of Screech, er, Speech” here). and so was born the Bill of Rights and protections of the First Amendment of the Constitution, ratified in 1791.

Clearly, “the right to whine” is our most important, greasing the skids for 26 other, not to be over-shadowed Amendments, or rights. Nobody will dispute that America would not be great without the First Amendment, although caution, and sometimes discretion, is advised in exercising it judiciously. In example, speaking last Sunday, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said he wanted to “cut his [Barack Obama’s] nuts out” and he accused the fellow Chicagoan of “talking down to black folks” on numerous issues and social concerns, including responsible fatherhood. Ouch! Talk about things that could make you whine!

Now, I don’t think anybody believes that Jesse will follow-through with his threat to Barack’s “family jewels,” but, it should be remembered that statements far more “civil,” have landed quite a few, including Jesse, in places much worse than than being “in dutch,” like the Pilgrims.

Everybody recalls where they were in the 1970’s when Peter Finch famously whined from an open window of his Manhattan co-op in the movie “Network;” “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore,” and likewise in the 1980’s with the equally riveting lesson of Michael Douglas in “Wall Street,” eloquently reminding a room full of whiners that “Greed is good.”

Look, whining gets things done in America. It’s practice is never “manly” or pretty, but where’s the beauty in pain and suffering? There is not a single homeless person that hasn’t seen a better day some place else, and our pot-holed streets are getting crowded with 1 out of 500 families now (and growing) in some stage of foreclosure. If this is you, take comfort in knowing the good news is that getting run-over by a Prius is far less painful than by a Hummer. (And the Pilgrims thought they had it tough because they wouldn’t learn to speak Dutch).

I’m strongly in favor of whining, the “oil” which keeps America rolling. If it weren’t for “squeaking wheels,” Norm Larsen wouldn’t have realized his “American Dream” with the invention of WD-40 in the 1950’s, the same goo that actually enabled flight of our ICBM defense system and journeys to the moon. Whining got us Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” in the 1930’s, and Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” of the 1960’s.

The real problem with America today is not whining, it’s that we’re not whining constructively enough. A case to consider, but let me first preface by saying I am no fan of either John McCain or Barack Obama. It doesn’t matter whether you call “it” (<<see Bill Clinton for definition of “it”) a recession, we’ve got some very serious money problems, causing all flavors of other problems, and no Norm Larsen, no “WD-40” to turn to.

Pretend for a moment that you are a troubled business owner interviewing applicants for that accounting position, and some “John” waddles in and tells you; “I don’t really understand economics.” …Oh… Or, here comes “Barry,” the hot-shot candidate you’re considering for your HR problems, who lies to you about his people skills by saying, “I can no more disown him (Rev. Dr. Wright) than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.” …My…

“Change” is already here for a bunch of folks, and it’s not all good. Live with it, or do something about it with a collective and concerted whine for the better. The Beastie Boys tried to convey this message over twenty years ago through song; “(You Gotta) Fight (Whine) sic for Your Right (to Party!)” …and drive the car of your choice, lose yourself in a McMansion, eat corn, and get a paycheck every once in a while…



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