It's seven days before the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
Usually during the week-long build-up to the anniversary of my husband's death, I stay away from television and newspapers. Too depressing. Too much of a reminder. Just too much in my face.
So with trepidation, I picked up my morning newspaper and started rifling through it.
Same old, same old. Economy in a deathspin. Obama a disappointment. Middle East in precarious transition. Wounded veterans being neglected. Education wallowing. Environment a mess.
And then I came across the full-page advertisement of Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company on page A15 of the NYTimes. And I read it.
Now, I don't know if Starbucks is perfect. If Howard Schultz is perfect. Or if the group upwardspiral2011.org is perfect. But I do know one thing: Schultz' idea is perfect.
Like many of us, Schultz is frustrated and fed up. He is done with partisan politics and useless leaders. He loves our country, still believes in the American Dream, and knows that we are better than this. And he is right.
What sets Schultz apart from the rest of us is two-fold: first, he runs Starbucks a multinational company that is responsible for employing many Americans in every state across the country. In other words, he knows what he is talking about when he talks about jobs and our faltered economy.
Secondly and perhaps most importantly given the current personalities appallingly exhibited by almost all of those in Washington today, Howard Schultz follows up his sensible, well-informed, and reality-based talk with genuine concrete, concerted action. How absolutely rare, refreshing, and revolutionary. And to think, this comes from a CEO?!? Aren't they the bad guys who got us into this mess to start with?
Schultz is not asking us to buy his coffee. Nor is he asking us to donate money to any cause. He merely asks us to pick up our telephones on Tuesday night to become a part of a new movement -- an upward spiral. A call to arms that starts with all of us who feel like we've been left behind, don't matter, can't make a difference, and/or can't have our voices heard.
Prior to the call, he asks everyone to visit www.upwardspiral2011.org to take a pledge with two principles: first, to withhold all political contributions to all elected officials until a "transparent, comprehensive, bipartisan dept and deficit package is reached that honestly and fairly sets America on a path to long-term financial health and security."
And second, "to do all we can to break the cycle of economic uncertainty that grips our country by committing to accelerate investment in jobs and hiring."
Sounds pretty simple and straight-forward to me. More than anything, it's a start and I'm grateful to Schultz for picking up the baton.
And as someone who's tried in the past to make a difference in Washington, I can say first-hand that the best, quickest, most potent way to get Washington to listen is to cut off their money and get 'em where it hurts.
I know I will be on the call on Tuesday, how about you?
(I haven't regularly drank Starbucks coffee in years and I've regrettably never met Howard Schultz. My agenda is simple: I have a 12-year-old daughter who has already grown up without a father, I'd like to ensure that she can still have an American Dream.)