Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has a full-page letter in today’s New York Times, and while I usually write off such corporate missives as so much empty propaganda, I actually really respected his message. It’s available on the Starbucks website:

An Open Letter: How Can America Win This Election?

Friday, June 29, 2012
Posted by Howard S., Starbucks chairman, president and chief executive officer

On Independence Day, our country celebrates the promise of America.

It’s a day to remember that the principles that bind us together vastly outweigh what keeps us apart. The freedom to dream and the opportunity to create a better life – not just for ourselves, but for each other – has always defined our great nation.

I am a product of that American Dream. As a kid who grew up in public housing, went on to get an education at a state university and build a business, I am grateful for what this country has made possible for me. In turn, at Starbucks, we have always tried our best to honor our responsibility to the communities we serve.

And on this Fourth of July, our communities need all of us.

Across the country, millions of Americans are out of work. Many more are working tirelessly yet still unable to adequately care for their families. Our veterans are not being welcomed home with the level of support they deserve. Meanwhile, in our nation’s capital, our elected leaders are continuing to put ideology over real solutions. I love America, but we all know there is something wrong. The deficits this country must reconcile are much more than financial, and our inability to solve our own problems is sapping our national spirit. We are better than this. America’s history has showed that we have accomplished extraordinary things when we act collectively, with courage, creativity, and generosity of spirit—especially during trying times.

As we celebrate all that is great about our country, let’s come together and amplify our voices.

Let’s tell our government leaders to put partisanship aside and to speak truthfully about the challenges we face. Let’s ask our business leaders to create more job opportunities for the American economy. And as citizens, let’s all get more involved. Please, don’t be a bystander. Understand that we have a shared responsibility in solving our nation’s problems. We can’t wait for Washington.

At Starbucks, we are trying to live up to our responsibility by increasing our local community service and helping to finance small-business job creation with Create Jobs for USA. Our company is far from perfect, and we know we can do more for America. But we need your help. We need your voice.

Join the national conversation with #INDIVISIBLE. Starting today, I invite you to share your view of America, and how we can all put citizenship over partisanship. On Instagram, post a photo of the America we all need to see. On Twitter, provide a link to an innovative idea. Blog about who’s making a difference in your community; or on YouTube, share how you made your American Dream come true. No matter where you post, if you use the tag #INDIVISIBLE, Starbucks will do its part to collect and amplify your voices.

To spark the conversation in our stores, your local Starbucks will proudly serve everyone a free tall hot brewed coffee on the Fourth of July.

Together, we can set a new tone in America. We hope you agree that doing so is a powerful way to celebrate our nation’s birthday.

In 2012, America needs to win the election more than either party does. It is time now to join together as Americans. It is time, whatever our differences, for us to strive and succeed as one nation – indivisible.

I read this after having just read that the Tea Party is working on a “July 4 comeback” (I wasn’t aware they’d gone away). Remembering the fear, lies and vitriol these groups peddled across the nation in 2010, I think I’ll take Schultz’s July 4 vision of unity over these angry divisive shouters a million times over.

We are better than this. And we deserve better than this. And honestly, I wonder if we’ll ever be able to return to normalcy in this country. I mean, seriously: this whole healthcare reform thing is a perfect example of how truly fucked up we are. How can we come together when the country is completely torn apart by Democrats adopting a Republican healthcare policy? How did that even happen? Is it the conservatives’ goal to make the nation completely ungovernable by anyone but a Republican? How is that democracy?

17 Comments

Filed under 2012 presidential election, politics

17 responses to “Thine Alabaster Cities Gleam

  1. Mark Rogers

    SB,

    I enjoyed Mr. Schultz’s article very much too. He is right on so many levels.

    Wisely he does not choose to assign all or even most of the blame to one political party or ideological side. Rather he targets the system.

    There are parts of the President’s health care plan that I {and other Republicans and conservatives} think have merit. The expansion of Medicaid, for example. Or the use of the government’s buying power to reduce drug costs.

    My question to you is are there any Republican or conservative argument on the subject of health care that would be acceptable to you? Any areas of compromise? I could see supporting Medicaid expansion in return for a major expansion of medical savings accounts and more use of co-pays to reduce unnecessary procedures or having medical malpractice suits vetted by panels of health care experts.

    Without a willingness to admit that the other side has some legitimate ideas and represents legitimate interests, there cannot be a return to the system Mr. Schultz and others of us desire.

    • There are parts of the President’s health care plan that I {and other Republicans and conservatives} think have merit. The expansion of Medicaid, for example.

      Interesting to hear you say that, since that is the one part of the plan that SCOTUS didn’t support and which GOP governors are saying they won’t do.

      My question to you is are there any Republican or conservative argument on the subject of health care that would be acceptable to you? Any areas of compromise?

      Let’s see, since we Democrats came on board with the individual mandate, the health exchanges and the other parts of the ACA which were Republican in origin, that should answer your question.

      See, you’re doing that thing I mentioned in the Nick Gillespie post. Saying “my side” is the side that refuses to compromise, which is 100% counterfactual. The entire Affordable Care Act is basically Bob Dole’s plan from the ’90s. For fuck’s sake, in 1993 Newt freaking Gingrich said,

      REP. GINGRICH: I am for people, individuals–exactly like automobile insurance–individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we insure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.

      So don’t tell me I don’t have a willingness to compromise when the entire healthcare reform was one HUGE compromise. Really. This revisionist history is unbelievable from your side. You should be ashamed.

      You can’t rewrite the argument. You can’t say that the left is at fault. I know you’re trying really really hard to do that, and I’ve written about how activists such as yourself are forced to do it because Mitt Romney is your candidate. But that doesn’t mean I have to buy it.

      • Mark Rogers

        But the Democrats only came over to those positions when it became clear that ‘single payer’ would not sell, particularly to unions.

        However I do agree that Republicans need to go back to their original positions in support of the things they once supported. It is inconsistent no to and I oppose such glaring inconsistencies.

        I never bought in on the mandate because I favor mandatory MSAs.

      • But the Democrats only came over to those positions when it became clear that ‘single payer’ would not sell, particularly to unions.

        And … ??? So the fuck what? I’m sorry, did you want us to be born to the policy? Get it from mother’s milk? You aren’t making any sense.

        This is how compromise happens. Your side wouldn’t do what our side wanted, so our side moved an inch in your direction. If your side were operating in good faith then you’d move an inch in our direction. But no. Your side does not operate in good faith. Your side screeches lies like “death panels” and “government takeover of healthcare” and “end of America as we know it!” when we do what YOUR side wanted to do from the beginning. It’s completely unfathomable. You’re horrible people for this, and I repeat: you should be ashamed.

        Stop pretending, Mark. I know who you are. I see you for you who are. Stop trying to be anything other than the partisan player.

        For your edification, here is a chart comparing the 2009 senate version of the Affordable Care Act to the 1993 Republican healthcare proposal. They are almost entirely identical. So don’t come in here and with your smug assertion that Democrats are the ones who refuse to compromise. That is a lie.

      • Mark Rogers

        One reason I am inclined to give Republicans a pass on what I admit are good arguments that you make, is that the last tine Republicans agreed to a grand compromise on a major national policy issue was the deal between George H. W, Bush and Congressional Democrats on a package of tax increases and spending cuts. You remember when Bush took the bold and statesman-like step of going back on ‘read my lips, no new taxes.’ Well we got the new taxes for sure. But the Democratic leadership never followed through with the spending cuts. And then the Democrats used the Bush tax increase to demonize him for the economic slowdown that was in part due to higher taxes.

        And then the Democrats gave Clinton all the credit for his tax increase without ever mentioning that Bush laid the groundwork with his tax increase or mentioning that they had lied and lied to the Republicans about cutting spending.

        So fell free to criticize Republicans for going back on their earlier stands on health care but don’t give try to make the Democrats seem like innocents. That betrayal of their agreement with Bush is like Munich in 1938 to republicans and aptly so,.

        Also, given your consistently vituperative comments about all Republicans, my question is why should any Republican believe that you would be more willing to keep your word on a compromise than the Democratic leaders did with Bush?

        At least some of us do try to go through a whole conversation without calling one of us a liar or some profanity-laced accusation of communing with the Devil.

      • At least some of us do try to go through a whole conversation without calling one of us a liar or some profanity-laced accusation of communing with the Devil.

        Well you get brownie points for that but seriously Mark, you troll liberal blogs and follow liberals around the internet pretending to be some kind of moderate reasonable person when we all know you’re a Republican Party activist, so who’s the liar here? And did I say you communed with the Devil? Don’t think I did. But whatever.

        “One reason you’re inclined to give Republicans a pass”?? Just one? That’s all you do, Mark. You follow us around posting over at Pith and Facebook and everywhere else constantly giving Republicans a pass. That’s your schtick. It doesn’t work. How much do you get paid for giving Republicans a pass, anyway? What’s the point of this? My shitty little blog with 80 followers or whatever? Just curious. Is it to frustrate me and get me to say something mean? I never pretended to be a nice, wonderful, perfect person. I can be a horrible person too. Hey at least I own my shit.

        At least I legitimately criticize Democrats. I’ve slammed more mud at Democrats out of sincerity than you ever have given to Republicans. Because you’re a phony. So, waste your time over here all you want but no one buys your bullshit.

        That betrayal of their agreement with Bush is like Munich in 1938 to republicans and aptly so,.

        OH MY GOD. You are cracking me up. Where does it end, Mark? Democrats betrayed Bush Sr.? Oh owie. So sorrrreeee. Munich? Seriously? Grow the fuck up.

        I’m not interested in settling petty scores. I’m talking about an ACTUAL policy here. Fact: There is little difference between today’s Affordable Care Act and the healthcare policy Republicans pushed when Clinton was in the White House. FACT: Some of the very same Republicans who pushed that policy then are fighting it tooth and nail now. Grassley. Lugar. Hatch. Gingrich. ROMNEY. Suddenly violently, vehemently opposed to a policy they once wholly embraced.

        This GOP hypocrisy about peoples’ access to HEALTHCARE is not hurt fee-fee’s about promises broken. That you pretend you can’t see the difference speaks volumes about you, dear.

    • What are you even talking about? The bill *was* your side’s idea! Democrats admitted that your side had legitimate ideas by adopting them into the bill.

      And by the way, tort reform is not the reason that healthcare cost have skyrocketed. That’s a Republican talking point that has no basis in fact and, oddly (not really), is only discussed during election years.

  2. Mark comes in here and spreads the kumbaya. Again.

  3. Meredith

    I think you’ve set him straight, SB. He has no argument. He’ll go away now.

  4. “This is how compromise happens. Your side wouldn’t do what our side wanted, so our side moved an inch in your direction. If your side were operating in good faith then you’d move an inch in our direction.”

    The Overton Window has been moved so far to the right that fascism looks communistic to the GOP.

    Markdown Rogers:

    If you would like people to stop calling you a liar, then stop lying.

  5. deep

    I love your arguments with the trolls Beale. You’re really good at not falling for their diversions and just sticking it to them.

  6. Mark Rogers, SB is calling you a liar because you are, in fact, a liar.

    I know, *gasp* UNCIVIL!!
    *gaspitygaspgasp* PARTISAN!!!

  7. SB, thanks for this piece by Starbucks’ CEO because we here in rural America might never have seen a truth expressed so absolutely inspiringly.
    And all the name-calling after your critique just shows how discourse has dissolved into disgusting rhetoric that doesn’t solve anything. My answers to your final questions see to be that “the way it happened” flows from the ultra right-wing war promoters, followers of Nixon and Reagan…those who are the “war machine” who cared only about the billions they made on wars and conflicts…Eisenhower tried to tell ’em….but the few compassionate ‘conservatives’ are ignored or silenced today. Greed, avarice, and thirst for ultimate power, has erased ALL consideration for individuals, or families, and hatred by race, religion, gender is now common practice. (I am referring to the greedy WHITE men who rule U.S. commerce, Wall Street, Big Banks and BIG Industry.) We arrive at this date in time trying to fight against a run-away train with a tractor…or Goliath with a David. There IS strength in numbers, BUT we have to GET OUT THERE and inspire the millions to stand up for themselves. Mr. Schultz is correct….

    • Thanks, Mary.

      We live in troubled times. Phonies and Pharisees who are so blinded by a thirst for power that they can’t see beyond their own talking point frustrate me to no end.

  8. themadkansan

    *awards SB one Troll-Bashers Brigade Silver Commendation*

    8D

  9. Bernard

    Good to see you take the Liar/Mark to task for lying. that is something very few Americans do to the Liars who love to BS and confuse, divert and deny and all that “both sides do it” argument of lies/BS.

    as long as those kind get away with such “games”, there isn’t any hope of getting beyond square 1, and trolls like Mark and other Republican BSers know it.

    since they can’t change the facts, they usually throw a lot of BS and ad hominem attacks in to waste time.

    Keep up the Truth or Consequences behavior.