MLK, Entrepreneurship, and Super PAC’s

This morning I had an opportunity to attend the MLK breakfast at the Oregon Convention Center. Warner Pacific sponsored a table and due to the keynote speaker’s topic the school thought it would be good if I attended. I am very thankful that I was able to attend. Mike Green, who writes for the Huffington Post and is CEO of blackinnovation.org, did an excellent job discussing the similarities between the 60’s and the 21st century. As a solution to the lack of progress, he focused on a couple of activities that seemed very intriguing, at least from my perspective: Black Innovation and Competitive Initiative and the America21 project. The bottom-line to his speech was the need for entrepreneurship. I totally agree with his conclusion.

As a professor I want to help my students become successful. My ultimate goal is helping them find the desire to learn. This, I hope, will become a lifelong goal for all of them. However, in light of this morning’s talk and what I read in Kawasaki’s book on entrepreneurship, I’d like to point out several of Guy’s rules for success. I think they are in line with what I heard this morning.

An entrepreneur is someone who makes meaning. This person is not concerned just with providing a job, but with making a difference. An entrepreneur is someone who has created a product or service that takes us to the next level. Also, the entrepreneur has a mantra, and works on a shoe string because they know how to get things done. The entrepreneur is one who does not ask people to do something they would not do. Success seems to have a character element to it.

We are in a very difficult time in our nation, and character seems to be at a premium. To continue to move forward we need more positive leadership than ever before. This means winning hearts instead of breaking spirits. In 1954 Eric Hoffer made an incredible statement. “Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man’s spirit than when we win his heart.” This is problematic. Breaking someone’s heart breaks the relationship, while winning the heart is relational and redemptive.

Mitt Romney made a comment today that concerns me. A super PAC that supports him created a very negative add attacking Newt Gingrich. Gingrich asked Romney to take it off the air. Romney responded by saying he would end up in the big house if he talked to the super pac. There are laws that require these big political action committees to be separate from the politicians. The problem with that is the politician has no control over what is being said.

Ted Koppel was on NPR this morning and discussed how this election season just may end up being the most negative in history. Part of this is due to the super PAC having these millions of dollars, and due to limited requirements for truth telling by the Federal Election Commission, I had never heard of the FEC before, PAC’s can say whatever they like, truthful or not. The FCC has strong requirements around truth telling concerning products advertised, but the FEC does not have the same requirements for politicians. Seems really stupid.

Here we have it. We are celebrating a day representing a time and person that changed society for the better. There is also a recognition that free enterprise can help better people’s lives. My morning started so positive. But there is this whole segment of our society that leads this nation, but seem to operate to a different set of rules. They can lie, cheat, and steal, but aren’t held accountable. The older I get the more true the lyrics from the Who become. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” I hope we wake up and tell our politicians and the multi-billion dollar PAC’s that we are going to take it any more. Today is a wonderful day where we remember what positive leadership di for our country, but I hope the negative leadership we are currently experiencing does not undermine our future good.

And that is my thought for the day!

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