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Rocky Anderson: "Not a Snowball's Chance in Hell!"

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The other evening we had dinner with some good friends, when I mentioned that I was volunteering for Rocky Anderson in the Justice Party Campaign. The fellow who sat across from us replied without hesitation, "He hasn't got a snowball's chance in hell!" Not with malice, simply as a statement of fact.

I came back with something to the effect that stranger things have happened. I observed that there is no "lesser of two evils" in the upcoming election, with both parties controlled by corporate money, and Obama's policies as bad or worse than Bush's. I noted that practically every single problem I read in the news would not exist if we elected a leader like Rocky Anderson, and then got behind him at different levels of government, including local levels.

I pointed out that Rocky is raising issues that desperately need discussion. That it is better to shoot for the stars and hit the moon than not to aim high at all; to light a match than to curse the dark. That in addition to having nothing to lose, I can live with myself much better now than when I focus on the negativity that surrounds us. I noted that I have a grandson who I would like more than anything to have a brighter future than the one I see at present. And mainly, that I simply refuse to indulge in negative self-fulfilling prophecies, which by definition are a waste of time.

I too was not trying to argue, merely stating why I choose to focus on what can be done, rather than what isn't being done. I tried to emphasize that, ironically, the largest obstacle holding back the election of a president with a proven and amazing political record--along with the brains and courage to put words to action at the national level--is one's acceptance of the idea that "it can't be done!"

Indeed, I said, if everyone who claims, "It can't be done," started saying, "It must and can be done, and I'll do what I can to help," there is a virtual certainty that we'd have a president who most Americans would be proud of. Not to mention that the country would be headed in a direction favorable to the future of us all.

 "Not a snowball's chance in hell!" "It can't be done!" Part of me loves those words, because I take them as a challenge, but also because it has made fools of so many humans throughout history.  People doubted America would be founded (or even discovered); we doubted the Berlin Wall would ever come down; that the Cold War would end, before the world did; that World Wars would ever end; that slavery would ever end, that women would ever vote, that the Civil Right's Act would ever pass; that changes we've seen around the planet in the past year would ever happen.

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But need I go on? Naysayers abound when innovators set out to accomplish things. The Wright brothers studied birds and accomplished "the impossible." Henry Ford brought horsepower to life. Clarence Birdseye developed quick-freeze machinery to make quality frozen food, and later went broke when no one believed him. But he stuck to his guns, conquered consumer skepticism, and went on to set the industry standard. Kennedy lit the torch that got humans to the moon.

[The following is excerpted with minor revisions from The Entrepreneur, October 16, 2008.] "Television network executives weren't sure the viewing public would accept a sit-com with a Cuban leading man married to a feisty, American redhead. So Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball produced the "I Love Lucy" pilot with their own money. At every turn, Lucy and Desi were a step ahead of the studios, revolutionizing television along the way.

Fred Smith wrote a term paper based on an idea for reliable overnight delivery. His professor gave him a C because the idea wasn't feasible. Years later, many potential  investors  agreed with the professor, refusing to send capital Smith's way. The funds he did raise in 1971 and '72 were gone by '74, along with his investors. One catchy slogan and several million dollars of hard-won capital later, Federal Express was on its way to long-term success.   .

Steve Jobs wanted to give everyone a computer at a time when nobody realized computers were necessary to have. He founded Apple to create home computers, experienced some early success, faltered in the consumer market with the expensive Macintosh, was ousted from the company he founded, dabbled in computer animated movies-Pixar ring a bell?-and was eventually asked to return to his first love, where he turned around Apple at a time when it was in trouble."

You may be down on capitalism and frozen food, even Apple and Lucille Ball, but the point I wish to make is that when we make up our minds and stick to our beliefs, things start happening that we never thought possible. Tomes have been written on this topic, but here is a poem that I think cuts to the heart of the matter:

Couldn't   Be   Done

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by Edgar Al be rt Guest

Somebody said   that   it couldn't   be   done,
    But, he with a chuckle replied
That   "may be   it couldn't," but he would   be   one
    Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
    On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That   couldn't   be   done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do   that ;
    At least no one has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
    And the first thing we knew he'd   be gun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
    Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That   couldn't   be   done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot   be   done,
    There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
    The dangers   that   wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,
    Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
      That   "couldn't   be   done," and you'll do it.

And a video that I believe does justice to the poem:

  http://www.yesmagazine.org/for-teachers/curriculum/words-that-inspire-it-couldnt-be-done

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In my run for U.S. Senate against Utah's Orrin Hatch, I posted many progressive ideas and principles that I internalized over the years. I'm leaving that site up indefinitely, since it describes what I believe most members of our species truly (more...)
 

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