I was born and raised in Southern Illinois by two wonderful parents, Carl M. and Barbara J. Stafford, who had survived the depression and WWII. They were making their way and I was along for the ride. Dad became a professional engineer and Mom a dental hygienist. We moved around some, as Dad’s jobs improved, and I got a good look at Southern Illinois, Western Kentucky, and various and sundry other cities and locales. What I saw, all during this time, was an area with few good jobs and a lot of hard working people. It made me want to get an education, not be a miner or small farmer. Sports took me into the world outside Southern Illinois and I have never regretted the journey.
There were stops along the way in little towns like Alto Pass and Boaz but when Dad moved us to Metropolis, Illinos I thought I was in the city. Then it was off to college, off to war, and the guy who came back was a little different than the boy who left. In the years that followed there were plenty of opportunities for success but somehow it was an elusive object, one that proved difficult to capture. I was amazed at what people would do for money. There were plenty of Michael Milken’s to go around. People idolized fame, fortune and those who had it, eventually putting on high role models like the Kardashians, Pickens and Romneys. I could see where the country was headed I just didn’t quite understand why. It eventually came to me and for the first time in my life I felt like I was doing something I really liked. That must be how it is for the lucky ones, those who have it all figured out from the git go. Two days ago I read about Don Pinkel whose mission in life was to cure ALL and he did one hell of a job at St. Jude’s. He saved children who before he came along had no hope of survival.
That is where I’m headed, trying to point my country towards survival. I know all too well that the picture I see is not visible to most of the people on this planet. That’s ok. I am going lay down a roadmap that future generations can follow, if they are still here, if nature has not intervened. A map that will change the Process of our governance and give us all a chance to survive we are not now currently giving ourselves. When our population is educated enough, strong minded enough, to move past Social Congruence and the co joined power of religious and political tribes, into a world where decisions are made for the common good with no thought of patronage, I will have done my job, and done it well. I can say with clarity that these tremendous social issues of my time will not be solved by social tribes whose territorial investment is paramount. There will be a Cyrus Kohler and The Front, or we will not be.