President Obama recently said that high achievement comes with the help of others. Mitt Romney attacked this as a put-down of high achievers.
Few become multi-millionaires but most of us have achievements we’re proud of. Mine include raising two daughters, a marriage of 46 years, dancing with Martha Graham, and flying a B-17 in WW II.
After the Army Air Corps taught me to fly, I got my crew, a B-17, flew it to Foggia, Italy, and seven bombing missions before Victory in Europe Day made B-17 pilots obsolete. But I got a wonderful job as a reporter for The Foggia Occupator because my pilot rating let me fly reporters in one of the B-17s sitting idly on airstrips in southern Italy. When the paper needed a reporter in Rome, it was easy to round up a co-pilot and engineer because everyone liked the idea of a day trip to Rome.
I took off knowing that the plane was fueled, engines tuned, every part in perfect working order, which requires a crew chief., mechanics, and spare parts. They also need air fields, control towers, communications systems, and meteorologists. I was proud of being pilot, and although I sometimes took for granted all it took to keep me flying, I knew it was no solo trip.
Mitt Romney declares himself a self-made multi-millionaire. Doesn’t he count the help he got from his father, CEO of American Motors and governor of Michigan, his Harvard education, the privileges he took for granted, as I took for granted the crew chiefs, people in control towers, and weather services? Does he dismiss the educational system that supplied capable colleagues, the roads, bridges, farms, police, and our finely tuned capitalist system that guided and supported his every move? Does he take all that help for granted, or worse, is he unaware he’s had help? Would he become president thinking he can do that staggeringly complex job without help? If such a man makes it into the Oval Office, buckle your seat belt, the country is in for a rough ride.