Update: The good news: Team Romney aggressively courting small business in swing states this week. The funny news: Obama is so worried about his own self-destruct revelatory statement he is now spending a mint to deny he said what he said.
Somehow Obama and his Hopium brigades do not understand that whether Obama was referring to small business or infrastructure in his statement the end product is the same. Silvia Woods, as we write below, had little “infrastructure” other than crime ridden streets when she opened up her restaurant.
Stomping his foot and holding his breath, Obama is “losing his patience” at Mitt Romney accurately quoting him. So angry is Obama he and his henchmen plan to “go nuclear” on Romney. But with the New American Crossroads ad: “Replay”, Team Romney has beaten Obama to the punch.
Silvia Woods died last week. She was called by many who visited her Harlem restaurant “the queen of soul food.”
In 1962 Harlem was not the increasingly gentrified somewhat chic neighborhood it is today. In Harlem 1962 Malcolm X walked the streets of 7th Avenue and 125th streets. There was no Harlem Boys Choir yet. There was no Dance Theater Of Harlem yet. That was all in the future.
Race riots were also in the short term future. By 1964 the riots were all the rage. Harlem was in trouble:
“Statistics from 1940 show about 100 murders per year in Harlem, “but rape is very rare.” By 1950, essentially all of the whites had left Harlem and by 1960, much of the black middle class had departed. At the same time, control of organized crime shifted from Jewish and Italian syndicates to local black, Puerto Rican, and Cuban groups that were somewhat less formally organized. At the time of the 1964 riots, the drug addiction rate in Harlem was ten times higher than the New York City average, and twelve times higher than the United States as a whole. Of the 30,000 drug addicts then estimated to live in New York City, 15,000 to 20,000 lived in Harlem. Property crime was pervasive, and the murder rate was six times higher than New York’s average. Half of the children in Harlem grew up with one parent, or none, and lack of supervision contributed to juvenile delinquency; between 1953 and 1962, the crime rate among young people increased throughout New York City, but was consistently 50% higher in Harlem than in New York City as a whole.”
In 1962, in Harlem, Silvia Woods opened her restaurant. Silvia Woods’ restaurant was hampered by a city government that did not work, an infrastructure that did not function much of the time, streets clogged with crime. But through it all, Silvia Woods kept her restaurant:
“She built something out of nothing,” said one person. “She kept her family together.”
On August 1, Silvia Woods’ restaurant, built with the help of her husband, will celebrate it’s 50th anniversary but Silvia Woods will not physically be there. Many businesses have died in the past 50 years but not the restaurant built by the South Carolina native in Harlem, in 1962, on Lenox Avenue. The “something out of nothing” she built in the “mean streets” of Harlem 1962 won’t be forgotten.
Some will insult Silvia Woods and denigrate her achievement, her survival. The Barack Obama’s of the world will give credit where credit is not due. Barack Obama will grab the glory for others and trash the memory of those who worked hard to build something lasting, something worthwhile remembering:
“When President Barack Obama hauled off and slapped American small-business owners in the mouth the other day, I wanted to dream of my father.
But I didn’t have to close my eyes to see my dad. I could do it with my eyes open.
All I had to do was think of the driveway of our home, and my dad’s car gone before dawn, that old white Chrysler with a push-button transmission. It always started, but there was a hole in the floor and his feet got wet in the rain. So he patched it with concrete mix and kept on driving it to the little supermarket he ran with my Uncle George.
He’d return home long after dark, physically and mentally exhausted, take a plate of food, talk with us for a few minutes, then flop in that big chair in front of the TV. Even before his cigarette was out, he’d begin to snore.
The next day he’d wake up and do it again. Day after day, decade after decade. Weekdays and weekends, no vacations, no time to see our games, no money for extras, not even forMcDonald’s. My dad and Uncle George, and my mom and my late Aunt Mary, killing themselves in their small supermarket on the South Side of Chicago.
There was no federal bailout money for us. No Republican corporate welfare. No Democratic handouts. No bipartisan lobbyists working the angles. No Tony Rezkos. No offshore accounts. No Obama bucks.
Just two immigrant brothers and their families risking everything, balancing on the economic high wire, building a business in America. They sacrificed, paid their bills, counted pennies to pay rent and purchase health care and food and not much else. And for their troubles they were muscled by the politicos, by the city inspectors and the chiselers and the weasels, all those smiling extortionists who held the government hammer over all of our heads.“
Like Silvia Woods, John Kass’ immigrant dad built something built to last. It wasn’t Barack Obama who built the south side Chicago supermarket. It wasn’t the government either. It was hard work:
“You didn’t get there on your own,” Obama said. “I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”
If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that? Somebody else made that happen?
Somebody else, Mr. President? Who, exactly? Government?
One of my earliest memories as a boy at the store was that of the government men coming from City Hall. One was tall and beefy. The other was wiry. They wanted steaks.
We didn’t eat red steaks at home or yellow bananas. We took home the brown bananas and the brown steaks because we couldn’t sell them. But the government men liked the big, red steaks, the fat rib-eyes two to a shrink-wrapped package. You could put 20 or so in a shopping bag.
“Thanks, Greek,” they’d say.
That was government.”
What built the restaurant of Silvia Woods and the supermarket John Kass senior toiled at for generations was hard work, sacrifice, sweat, worry, fear, and a dream for a better future for family:
“We didn’t go to movies or out to restaurants. Everything went into the business. Uncle George and dad never bought what they could not afford. The store employed people, and the workers fed their families and educated their children and put them through college. They were good people, all of them. We worked together and worked hard, but none worked harder than the bosses.
It’s the same story with so many other businesses in America, immigrants and native-born. The entrepreneurs risk everything, their homes, their children’s college funds, their hearts, all for a chance at the dream: independence, and a small business of their own.
Most often, they fail and fall to the ground without a government parachute. But some get up and start again.”
“Get up and start again.” That’s an America that some remember.
Barack Obama wants us to forget that America. In the latest Friendly reminder from Obama: This is a choice election, not a referendum on my performance; Update: New Obama ad responds to “you didn’t build that” criticism Obama seeks once again to bury that memory of America.
But that America, like Silvia Woods’ little restaurant that could, won’t go away even though Silvia Woods died last week. John Kass’ dad died long ago as well. But those dreams, their American dream, is still alive.
America after Barack Obama will get up and start again. The dream of America is still alive. No one man can kill it. Not even one from Chicago.