It is not length of life, but depth of life. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today is a historic day in the history of our young country. On this day the temperature reached the low 70s in San Francisco and as I drove to work I saw thousands of people gathering at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens in front of the MLK Memorial Fountain to watch the live broadcast of the inauguration. As we elect our 44th president, I look on with interest as an unbiased bystander. I told someone recently that I never contribute to political campaigns and often shy away from political conversations in favor of human interest stories.
I’m often touched by the idea of six degrees of separation. To have that with a President is a unique one for sure. I’m not someone who has photos with Presidents or will ever pay to have one. Today on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle was a story of James Kessler, a student at the high school associated with the school that I went to and the one my children attend. Back in November. James is battling a rare and deadly sarcoma and back in November had a chance to meet then-Senator Obama (see article)
James is being treated at the UCSF Children’s Cancer clinic, an organization that is supported by my co-owned Ben & Jerry’s franchise located in the Haight-Ashbury District.
One of my other ties is that of Julius Genachowski, the nominated head of the FCC. Julius served on the Board of the parent company I work for, IAC, and always has been a gracious person with a sharp memory. I was recently impressed when we ran into each other in an elevator at our Corporate HQ and I forgot his name briefly and he said, “Hi Erik, how are things going?”
Finally, the closest connection I have with our new President derives from my days as an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago (Booth School of Business). One of the more conservative Business Schools in the country (George Schultz once served as Dean), it sits across Chicago’s famed Midway from the Law School, one of the more liberal law schools in the country. Back in 1993, I decided to take an “easy elective” in Business Law for no grade. On one or two occasions I sat across from a young law teacher in the lounge named Barack Obama (I thought he was a student). I recall casually talking about sports (remember I hate talking politics) but I never knew this guy would 16 years later become our President.
What does this mean? Nothing really. Or maybe it does lead me to believe that I finally have some kind of kinship with our government that I hav faith in it. Both Barack and Julius are young parents like myself. They have lived lives that I feel are somewhat similar to that of my own (albeit more successful). Perhaps they understand my plight. The plight of a young father wanting to take care of his children and unsure of their future safety and financial well-being.
I had a wonderful weekend with my children attending a professional basketball game, attending their own basketball games, playing golf with my son and the birthday parties of some young cousins. It was a great family weekend made even better when my daughter gave me a hug to say she had a fun weekend. It was a great weekend to forget about the economy, our health issues and our state of world affairs as I had planned to do.