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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Hard work, power, and responsibility

One President, nearing his 80th birthday, literally works himself into the hospital with travel, meetings, negotiations, and day-to-day mangement of the affairs of his country. In response, ghouls dance on his non-existent grave.

Another President, just past his 60th birthday, talks about the "hard work" he and his subordinates are doing, but, from all appearances, the closest he comes to actual hard work is breaking the shell of a crab, or riding uphill on his mountain bike (or perhaps "clearing brush," if he's actually telling the truth about doing that).

All the headlines about the first President, Fidel Castro, refer to his temporarily "giving up power." But while power (and its corollary -- the enrichment of himself and his cronies) is without question part of the other President's (Bush) driving force, as far as one can tell from external observation, it's never been about "power" for Fidel Castro, but "responsibility." Forbes' inane assertions notwithstanding, Fidel Castro for all intents and purposes has no personal financial fortune whatsoever; it wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't even have a bank account. When Fidel at age 80 works that hard, it isn't because he's maintaining "power," it's because he still feels an intense responsibility to improve the non-financial fortunes -- health, education, and culture -- of the Cuban people, as well as to serve as an inspiration to those in other countries, like Venezuela and Bolivia, who are also striving to turn their resources away from serving the greed of the powerful, to the needs of the people as a whole.

And I have no doubt he had a very hard time giving that up, even temporarily. Not power. Responsibility.

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