Is It Too Late For Us?!?

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Thu May 24 01:11:08 MDT 2007




HERE'S HOPING LES SCHWAB WAS WRONG




By Bill Sizemore

May 23, 2007

NewsWithViews.com

Trying to get a one-on-one meeting with Les 
Schwab, the tire king, was like trying to 
schedule a meeting with the President. It was not 
an easy meeting to get. Les didn't schedule a lot 
of meetings with political types and was never 
known as a major donor to political candidates. 
So when the man agreed to meet with me, I didn't 
hesitate to drive the three hours it took to get 
from Portland to the Central Oregon high desert where Les Schwab lived.

When I was ushered into his Prineville, Oregon 
office, I remember feeling privileged to actually 
meet the guy that I had seen on television so 
many times, a man who had built a chain of tire 
stores that ran circles (no pun intended) around 
some of the biggest names in tires. In fact, it 
is no exaggeration to say that Les Schwab 
completely dominated the tire market in the 
Pacific Northwest. He knew how to sell tires and treat customers right.

Les Schwab's Prineville office was hardly 
memorable. He seemed to have that Sam Walton 
flair for not needing to impress anyone with the 
fact that he had made it. After chatting for a 
few minutes, Les suggested that we hop in his 
"rig" and take a tour of some of his local 
facilities, beginning with the biggest tire warehouse imaginable.

Between tour stops, Les and I talked politics. He 
was for the most part a staunch conservative and 
we agreed on most issues. We had a pleasant 
visit, which lasted for a couple of hours, but in 
the end it was not a financially profitable trip.

Eventually, Les wrote me a check for $500, which 
for a man of his stature and ability, was a mere 
pittance. But unlike some rich guys, who will 
write you a thousand dollar check and act like 
they are Donald Trump, Les told me right up front 
why he wasn't giving more. Here is what he said, 
as best I remember his words: "Bill, you're a 
young man and I admire you for having the energy 
to keep up the fight, but I think it's too late 
to save this country. We are going to have to 
bottom out and start over before we can set things right again."

Based on the context of my conversation with Les 
leading up to that statement, Les meant that in 
his opinion it was too late to save this country 
because the socialist mindset, the entitlement 
mentality, was far too entrenched in the American people to reverse the trend.

I remember walking away from our visit liking the 
man, but feeling a bit depressed.

Time will tell whether Les Schwab was right to 
have such a gloomy outlook on politics. I have 
seen nothing in the decade that has passed since 
our meeting to prove him wrong. But this I know 
for sure: If those of us, who believe in liberty 
and free enterprise and private property rights, 
give up, then indeed the battle is lost. The 
prophesy becomes self-fulfilling. We lose by 
default. We lose because the other side called a 
war, and our side never showed up.

Maybe Les Schwab was wiser than I, or maybe he 
was just getting tired, again no pun intended. 
After all, Mr. Schwab was well up in years by the 
time I met him. But if I have my choice between 
sitting back and watching my country fall apart 
or fighting the mindset that is eating it up like 
a cancer, I would rather go down swinging.

If we continue down the road toward tried and 
failed socialism, a road we are definitely on, we 
will indeed bottom out. Les was right about that. 
But it will be ugly. Our children and 
grandchildren will suffer times of great shortage 
of the basic needs of life and even times of 
abject poverty. What comes out of that darkness 
is by no means certain. It might be a rebirth of 
American liberty. But it is just as likely that 
what comes next will be some form of totalitarianism.

So, I hope Les Schwab was wrong about it being 
too late. And in my opinion, I owe it to my kids to make sure he was.

© 2007 Bill Sizemore - All Rights Reserved

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