Category Archives: values

Starfish and Ideals

As this launch of Here I Raise My Ebenezer was coming close, it struck me that the old story of the Starfish Thrower would serve as an excellent metaphor for what this site is about. I can’t tell you how many years ago (probably decades) it was that I first heard this story but it immediately and deeply touched my heart. It still does, anytime I think of it. If you’re not familiar with the Starfish Thrower Story, here is a brief version:

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied,

“Well, I made a difference to that one!”

Often, when I’m confronted with the daily news, I have that same sense expressed by the man on the beach when he said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” Today, we hear of so many things going so much in the wrong direction in our world that when we wish there was something we could do about it, it seems overwhelming. But, the little girl in the story responded in the right way, the way we should be responding to the issues facing us, when she just diligently went back to the work that could be done immediately before her, saying, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The About page of this site says, “The aim of this site is to serve as a platform for presenting views that support America’s founding ideals, rooted in Judeo-Christian values, relative to issues impacting our community today.” Hopefully, you’ll find it obvious why I said that the story of the Starfish Thrower serves as an excellent metaphor here. We don’t expect that Here I Raise My Ebenezer will cause an immediate 180 degree turn in the devolution of our society but issue-by-issue, as the little girl in the story did starfish-by-starfish, we hope to bring healing to ills weakening our community’s foundation.

The role of our Writers is to speak up on these issues, to inform and to encourage constructive action. As Editor, on behalf of our Writers, I want to thank you for joining them here, to gain from their writing and to learn what you can do to end up being able to say, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”


Filed under community, Culture, ideals, Making a Difference, society, values

The Biggest Casualty, So Far, Of A Nation Divided Against Itself – General Motors

Lunatic Foreign Terrorists Brought Down The WTCTwinTowers


– GM’s Collapse Is A Fully-Domestic Self-Inflicted Wound

My first visit to New York City’s World Trade Center was in 1979. The company I worked for, at that time, had a branch office on the ground floor of one of the buildings in the WTC complex so I was there on business. A few years later, in the mid-80s, I was there on business again. The company I was working for then held a fiscal-year-end celebration dinner at Windows on the World (aka Windows), the renowned restaurant that occupied the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower. And, while on vacation in the early-90s, I got to visit Top of the World, the observation deck at 1,377 feet, atop the South Tower. What a blessing it was to have those experiences! And what magnificent structures they were! Literally and figuratively, they were a high point, symbolizing the great strength of American Capitalism. With their magnificence, it was well beyond my imagination that on a beautiful September day in 2001 a small band of maniacs, who hated everything the Twin Towers stood for, would bring them down, along with nearly 3,000 lives. Those who were responsible for that were identified, though. Many have been brought to justice and we continue to pursue justice for all who were responsible.

When I was born, General Motors was the world’s largest automaker. At that point, it had held that distinction for 17 years and it would continue to do so for the next 60 years. What New York City’s World Trade Center symbolized about the great strength of American Capitalism, Detroit City’s General Motors was, in fact. As I completed my formal education in the 50s and 60s, the optimum target for anyone with a business career in mind was a job with GM. And, as I carried out my business life, starting in the 70s and continuing into the new millennium, GM continued to serve as the standard metaphor of the ideal employer/business-partner. Considering that, in the heyday of my working life, General Motors reached its zenith, employing 349,000 workers in 150 assembly plants; you can understand that it was well beyond my imagination that on the first day in June, nearly 101 years after its founding, the once seemingly all powerful industrial giant known as General Motors would announce its bankruptcy. Unlike the disintegration of the WTC Twin Towers, the colossal collapse of GM wasn’t the result of foreign terrorists; it was the result of domestic ineptitude on the part of our Captains of Industry, our Wizards of Wall Street, our Labor Leaders and Politicians of all stripes. While Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is having his nasal passages regularly hydrated, Osama Bin Laden is living like a mountain goat and their compatriots are ducking real bullets; the dim-wits responsible for GM’s fall are shooting blanks at each other with their pointed fingers.

What’s needed here is for all of us, including the above-mentioned dim-wits, to draw together and do what President George Bush said he was going to do in the midst of the WTC ruble. Whether or not you were/are a GWB fan, his words from that time serve as a great example for the appropriate response to today’s disaster. The paraphrase I’d use is … “We hear you! And the rest of the world will hear all of us soon!” It was that attitude, not an attitude of Reds just opposing everything Blues are in favor of and vice-versa, that made America and American Capitalism so great in the first place. Some call it synergy … the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. My favorite label for it is the one that goes back to the founding of our country … Yankee Ingenuity.That’s the attitude that made it possible for us to accomplish things like winning a two-front world war. At the center of that successful effort was American Industry and an industrial giant named General Motors. If we truly want to regain the greatness our nation has known, we must rediscover that attitude and fully embrace it. That will require all of us and the leaders we choose, to stop the finger pointing and actually consistently extend our hands “across the aisle” instead of just paying lip service to that need.

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Filed under character, economy, values