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Saturday, August 13, 2005

My column, The Unreachable Star, in draft form

My column for this week in draft form


The Unreachable Star


And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach ... the unreachable star


-Man of LaMancha (Elvis Presley)


I was disturbed by a speech that White House Deputy  Tim Goeglein,  gave to a recent Young Republicans convention.


Goeglein, assistant to political guru  Karl Rove, said  he developed a method for distinguishing Republicans from Democrats. 


Goeglein said, “Republicans do not want their children to be artists or writers”. 


 “Our party, in the way it is constituted, we think of medicine, we think of law, we think of business,” said Goeglein.“


“We don't think, gee, I hope my son grows up to be a great playwright or painter or poet.”


Geoelein’s attitude  explains why federal funding for the arts has dropped and why  the White House has launched a major  assault on public broadcasting.  


Geoelein  is clueless about where the world  has been and where it is going.


From the ancient  Greeks and Romans and the Renaissance era, all advances in law, medicine and business occur  at  the same time as great advances  in the arts.  


Creativity begat creativity.  The stimulation of thought advances the human race at every level.


As technology and outsourcing eliminate  jobs that can be done by  routine systems, Americans will need to use their creativity to make a living.


The White House  ought to be pushing people to be more creative, not less. 


Goeglein’s  has been cooped up in Washington too long.    If he gets out and meets real people, he will find a whole bunch of Republicans and Democrats  shelling out  dollars for their children to take  art, music and creative writing lessons.


Those parents understand the need to  nurture an artistic and creative mind.


Parents of all political persuasions  want  their child be the next Shakespeare or Monet.


It would beat being Karl Rove’s coat holder.


I was blessed that my parents never discouraged me from any “impossible dream” I had.    I wanted to be an astronaut until I realized I was too tall then I wanted to be a pro basketball player until I realized I was too short.   


At the time, there were seven American astronauts and about 150  professional basketball players. 


I did not make it to outer space or the NBA but developed the ability to dream big dreams.  I have never lost it. 


The Man of LaMancha was a huge Broadway success.  The theme song, “The Impossible Dream” is one of the best known songs of all time. 


I can’t think of the song “The Impossible Dream” without thinking of Elvis Presley.   A lot of people sang the song but Elvis lived it.


Elvis rose  from a poor background to become one of the greatest entertainers in history.   


Elvis  had the confidence to take on the music establishment and play what  he wanted to play.  He broke down barriers by staying true to his vision.  


Elvis developed his  confidence  early in childhood and never lost it.


He was a star, not someone’s flunky.


If my children go into politics, I want them to dream about being President, not to dream about being a lackey to an assistant to the President.   


I want them to reach for the highest star they can reach for.


You may like or dislike Ronald Reagan but   he encouraged Americans to dream big dreams.  Reagan’s life journey  from  poverty to movie star to President made him  believe that anything is possible.


 I don’t understand how  Goeglein, can call himself a   “Reagan Republican” when he tells us to stifle dreams and push children into a trade.  


Goeglein doesn’t understand what Ronald Reagan was all about. Reagan knew how to  dream and Goeglein obviously does not.


I pray that people  encourage their children to be playwrights and painters and poets.   I don’t  care what political party they come from, but we  need people who can create, think and express their feelings.


We must  keep  striving to reach that unreachable star.


Don McNay is President of McNay Settlement Group where we want people to achieve their dreams. He is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.  You can write to him at or read other things he has written at