I always enjoyed James Brown singing Living in America. The republicans played that song during their convention and now I can’t get it out of my head.

As Americans in an election year, we may argue over many things, but we share a love of inspiring life stories. We love the real life heroes who started with little other than believing the American dream and through hard work and persistence in the face of adversity became a living example for the rest of us to emulate.

I have spent my entire life reading stories about Americans living the American dream. In my early days it was mostly baseball players. I remember reading biographies of Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson,  Roy Campanella. Then it was American Presidents. Later I began reading lawyer biographies. I found these many stories inspiring.

Last week I flipped channels between the Republican Convention and the US Open. As always, I was not watching for the political theater. Instead, I watched to hear the personal stories. I enjoyed hearing Marco Rubio describe how his dad stood behind the bar in the back of many banquet rooms so that his son could stand behind the podium in the front of the room. My favorite personal stories were these:

  • Condoleezza Rice
  • Susana Martinez
  • Mia Love

All three started life with not much more than loving parents who worked hard and somehow conveyed to them that they could achieve the American Dream. I am in awe of what they have accomplished. I have been listening to Condoleeza Rice’s book: No Higher Honor, about her time in Washington. But, I am more interested in learning how she got to Washington. So, I have switched to listening to her book above, which she describes as “a memoir of my extraordinary, ordinary family and me.” If I did a review of the book, I might title my review: “From Birmingham to Washington, Stanford and Augusta.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rK8zE5qpkO0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjbtxupVo6I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lfop5TeDnZo

This week I will flip channels again between the US Open and the Democratic convention. Once again I will not be particularly interested in the political rhetoric. I will be most interested in the living in America and living the American dream stories.