This past week, the U.S. Senate lost its longest serving member with the passing away of Senator Robert C. Byrd. During his time in service to his great state of West Virginia, he was elected to more leadership roles than any other senator in history. He also had a 97% attendance record for roll call votes, one of the best on record (good ol’ McCain still holds the title for the worst attendance over the past decade, but hey, managing “I don’t have implants” Palin is quite the time-consuming task). If you really dig down to the magic of Senator Byrd, among his many accomplishments was his stance on education.
Once too poor to even afford to go to college, he finally received his diploma from Marshall University when he was 77 years old; how about that for persistence and dedication! This is a man who worked full- time in Congress while taking law classes at American University for ten years before he became a Juris Doctor in 1963. As a woman who loves education, this guy just gets me revved up!
With Byrd’s passing, it got me thinking, are the days of classic American values such as honesty, hard work and sacrifice behind us? Surely one can look at the current crisis of the BP oil spill in the Gulf and find interesting parallels. Unlike Byrd, BP isn’t too keen on “slow and steady wins the race”. Rather, they prefer drilling like a man paying a lady friend by the hour to just get the oil and pump it into American’s gas guzzling cars. I guess when you make $93 million a day after taxes, safety takes a back seat! Unlike Byrd, who paid his blessings forward to the community by providing the valedictorian of each West Virginia public and private high school with the Scholastic Recognition Award to help pay for college, Tony Hayward is sorta feeling a bit abused and just “wants his life back”. Guess what Tony- I bet all those birds and the eco-system your company slaughtered with the oil gushing into the beautiful Gulf probably feels your pain right about now.
If the Bryd and the birds passing is any indication of what America is in for, I might rather be this poor fella below, at least getting over the orange boom isn’t an insurmountable task. Getting BP to demonstrate a Byrd-like attitude? Slightly more difficult.