Saturday, August 26, 2017

American Pride

Photo Credit: NBCNews

Growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that’s what I felt. The local auto industry was the envy of the world, our country’s president and first lady were young, bright and photogenic, and America was racing to become the first nation to put a man on the moon.

Then JFK was assassinated and the mood began to erode. 

Although I was in grade school when the president was shot, I knew that something had gone terribly wrong and I promised myself to one day better understand what had happened and why. 

My questioning only intensified when, two years later, my father also died suddenly. My loss caused me to grapple and search for meaning in life when, at the same time, my classmates were simply searching for answers to their homework questions.  

The next years would see America’s collective psyche nosedive as the Vietnam conflict grew in scale, and both Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., were gunned down ... it was as if any leader who stood up for humanity also stood no chance of succeeding. 

When I was a teen, President Nixon took our nation off of the gold standard. My grandfather, Sam Hamburger, a wealthy and successful businessman, often spoke at length about the Federal Reserve Bank—a monetary arrangement that our nation’s founders warned us against, and a system that my grandfather cautioned would eventually devalue the dollar and bankrupt our country. 

Separately, I learned that during World War II my grandfather secretly imported shipments of Japanese steel on the black market on behalf of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)—the precursor to the CIA. The industrial engines of our country were running at full tilt but the war effort required even more, so Sam Hamburger became a go-between. 

Hearing my grandfather’s stories only made me question further—in particular, how our country could do business with the enemy in a time of war—and laid the framework for the political and philosophical ideologies that would shape my adult life. 

After college, I worked for two of the premier real estate developers in the U.S. and, by my late twenties, I was in business for myself as a spec home builder. I achieved success designing and constructing luxury homes, especially after my first three projects were featured in Architectural Record, Newsweek, and The New York Times.. 

Yet success didn’t nourish me the way I thought it would. Instead, I continued to question, grapple and search for a deeper level of contentment and purpose. 

My quest led me back to school. 

I enrolled in the Spiritual Psychology program at the University of Santa Monica and pursued my Master’s degree. I began to comprehend how all wellness starts from within. I learned self-acceptance. I became more appreciative, and made a habit of practicing gratitude. And I began to assist others with their own individual challenges.

I have always followed both world and national events with a keen eye, deciphering the deeper meaning of what is taking place and how it affects us all.

Now—and especially with the current regime in Washington D.C.—is why I am making my stand.

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