Have I told you about my Uncle Paul? He’s the last Bloom of my father’s generation, the last link we have to the generation with whose values and collective guidance I was raised. It really does take a village to raise a child, and mine consisted not only of Blooms but of an extended Jewish community, many of whose members had immigrated from the same ghetto in Lithuania, but that’s another story.
Paul’s in his mid-90′s now, but he’s got the active and capable mind of a much younger man and the wisdom of his years. A very successful businessman, a serial entrepreneur as well as a major philanthropist (and not just within the Jewish community), my Uncle Paul is that rare person of age who has a real zest for living in spite of having suffered more losses (including his girlfriend then wife since she was 15, my Aunt Charlotte, in 2007, and his daughter, my wonderful cousin Ronni, in 1984) than most of us could ever handle. Growing up, I learned many operas over dinners at his home, learned a lot about business as he, my Dad, and my Uncle Herman discussed the family business at my Grandmother’s kitchen table, and I am continuing to learn from him about living life to the fullest, aging gracefully, and counting my blessings before my burdens.
When my sister sent me a FAX of a letter to the editor Paul had written that was published this Valentine’s Day in the Springfield Union-Press, I just had to share it with you. Regardless of your personal politics, what’s important here is that my Uncle Paul, comfortable though he may be, as well-to-do that his son and their sons are, he is concerned about you and yours. At 95, he’s seen our country at its best and is concerned that, unless we make some fundamental changes in the politics of the right, our best days will have been behind us. I’ll get back to the business of HRM and IT shortly, but here’s my Uncle Paul Bloom, in his own words:
“Don’t blame Democrats for the mess we’re in. I have been a staunch Republican for over six decades, but when you back at people like Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, and others who want the Democrats to fail, you are not the American patriots I once backed.
I listened to the State of the Union speech, and then to the Republican response. I was sickened to hear the negativity of the response. Not one word was said that would uplift the spirits of the populace. Not one idea was presented to show true patriotism. Only complaints about President Barack Obama and the Democrats.
Are the Republicans saying that whatever Obama and the Democrats say is not worthwhile? Then what do the Republicans offer to get us out of a crisis that has been built up by them in the last eight years?
Bill Clinton left the White House with a trillion dollar surplus. The Bush administration gave it back to the rich. I got some too, but I’d rather have left it in an asset to use if needed.
Then the Bush Administration started in Afghanistan (I approved) but saw no reason to go into Iraq, when so many said they had no nuclear ambition (later found to be true) and we lost thousands of men and women. And billions and billions of dollars that put us in the hole we now face. Also, by going into Iraq, it must have made the oil companies very happy at first, but it also gave Iran the freedom to push it’s own nuclear policies without having to worry about an unfriendly Iraq next to it.
Now the party blames the Democrats for the deficits, the wars we are in, for talking about raising taxes, which Bush cut back at a time when we needed every tax dollar we could get.
When in power, the Republicans deregulated many industries, which helped lead us into this depression. They let those industries go wild, try all sorts of fiscal policies, that went sour. Let’s not lie and blame the Democrats for all the wrong things we did during Bush’s eight years.
Now you are asking me and others for money to campaign against the Democrats. Whom are you kidding? You’ve got more backing than ever before by the industries who do not want to be regulated, and the millionaires and billionaires who want to keep the tax rate at $250,000.00 or less, and let all income over that be free of taxes.
Oh, yes. Just a few days ago the U.S. Supreme Court made one of the most stupid decisions ever made. They voted that a corporation can donate money to those seeking election. When is, or was, a corporation to be considered a citizen? It’s stockholders can vote as they wish, but this decision takes it out of their hands, and places it in the control of an artificial non-person.
Remember, our country is in desperate circumstances. If you can’t, or don’t want to help it out of this mess, don’t knock those who try. We all should try to help, otherwise we are not patriotic Americans.
Therefore, I am no longer a Republican, but an Independent, and I will vote for and back the people who are trying to save our United States, instead of breaking it up.
–PAUL BLOOM –Longmeadow
There is no personal future I could wish for myself — or for you — than to be as sharp and engaged in life as my Uncle Paul is if we’re blessed with his years. By no means perfect, he’s learned from his own mistakes and those of others, getting better and wiser, as one should, as he’s grown older. But what makes Paul a standout, and what I think of as my father’s more valuable than gold legacy to me, is the ability and determination to live fully and make a positive contribution every day that we’re alive. Time enough to veg out afterwards.