Written : Mar. 20, 2013, previously unposted
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Jay Van Andel and Rich DeVos, the co-founders of Amway.
Many years ago I tried my hand at selling Amway products. While others may excel at selling, it’s not for me. Nevertheless, I heard the greatest speech of my life while listening to an Amway tape. I purchased it from the company at the suggestion of our sponsor, the one who took my wife and me under his wing. One of the two founders of the Amway Corporation, Rich DeVos, spoke in front of a group of about 1,800 young people at the 23rd annual Junior Achievers conference. The recording was made, by my calculations, sometime in 1966. Some of the words may seem outdated but the message is “right on.”
Rich DeVos, back then, Selling America
Fellow Achievers, and Fellow Americans, Canadian Friends from the north, it’s an honor to be with you tonight to share a few thoughts about the great system that makes both of these countries the most prosperous on earth. Before, however, I build you up too much, because you see you are the top in Junior Achievement. You’re here because what you’ve done – you’re proven achievers and performers – I would like to give you a little quiz. It goes like this: What I want to know is - Before you go out to rebuild the world, have you learned how to clean up your bedroom? (mild laughter)
Now, is that a bad question? I don’t know. (applause) You know, we live in an age where the Junior Achievement organization and those of you who are gathered here stand contrary - to what many people in this country believe. And as I wander and as you wander you find people who don’t believe that people should be rewarded in direct proportion to the effort they put forth. They think that all people should be treated equally like in the socialistic or the Communistic governments. And what that means is that everybody should be equal. What they really mean to say is that everybody should be equally poor – because that’s about where they stand.
Rich DeVos, speaking more recently.
But something happens in the minds of people – those who are not here – those who are roaming the streets tonight – saying that America and the free enterprise system as shared in this country and Canada is not available to them. They claim the American Dream passed them by. But something happened in their attitudes that they were never exposed to find out how great this system really is.
And, so it is exciting to be here but I have a couple of one liners – we call ‘em, from people who have applied for welfare. And you've got to understand something of their attitude. And, so, here’s a gal and she writes to the welfare department… she’s writing for her neighbor. And she says Mrs. Jones has not had any clothes for a year and has been visited regularly by the clergy. (mild laughter)
Rich DeVos, Selling America
Now, the next lady writes: She says, “I cannot get sick pay. I have six children. Can you tell why?” (more laughter)
And, the next lady says, “This is my eighth child. What are you going to do about it?” (more laughter)
Now, here’s a state of mind which says, “What are you going to do about my problem? What are you going to do to help me?” Implying here that there’s nothing she can do to help herself.
And another lady says, “Unless I get my husband’s money pretty soon, I will be forced to lead an immortal life.” (some laughter) And apparently that’s her only out.
Another one says, “You have changed my little boy to a girl. Will this make a difference?” (I hope so, I really do.)
Now, this is an attitude, isn’t it? On the part of people blaming somebody else for their plight. I appreciate the efforts of government to solve people’s poverty problems, but I cannot tolerate their constant complaint that it’s somebody else’s problem that put ‘em there. I believe enough in our system that I maintain anybody who wants to, and is willing to put forth the effort, can solve their own poverty problem.
(applause) I think being poor is something many people do... (more applause which makes him pause)
It sort of has to do with being poor by choice. But you see, that doesn’t solve the problem, does it? Because somebody somewhere has got to reach that person or those persons, millions of them. Because they don’t know, they don’t realize that it can change their life if they’ll but look at the opportunity in a new perspective.
This is the end of Part I
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Keywords: Conservatism, Conservative blog, Mark A. Cohen, From the Left to the Right, Rich DeVos, Jay Van Andel, Amway, Selling America, Rich DeVos’ Junior Achievement Speech
Keywords: "Conservatism", "Conservative blog", "Mark A. Cohen", "From The Left to the Right", “Rich DeVos”, “Jay Van Andel”, “Amway”, “Selling America”, “Rich DeVos’ Junior Achievement Speech”
Mark A. Cohen is currently seeking representation for his memoir, From The Left to the Right.
Mark A. Cohen is a member of and helps run the Parker Writers Group (Check out their Facebook page here)
Or, see the Parker Writers Group Web page here
Mark A. Cohen’s web site, http://www.mark-cohen.com, is now under construction.
Mark A. Cohen is a member of the Castle Rock Writers (Check out their Facebook page here) Their web page, www.castlerockwriters.com, will also take you to the Facebook page until the web page is completed.
Mark A. Cohen currently sits on the committee which hosted the previous Castle Rock Writers Conference on October 13, 2012. He is currently their Vice-Treasurer. The group, whose motto is Rock Solid Writing, is seeking their 501c3.
Please save the date: Castle Rock Writers will hold the Castle Rock Writers Conference on Saturday, November 23, 2013, at the Douglas County Events Center in Castle Rock, Colorado. Please stay tuned for further information.
Mark A. Cohen will soon be a published author, as the Castle Rock Writers are under contract to write and publish The Chronicles of Douglas County, Colorado, in 2014.
Mark A. Cohen spoke for about 20 minutes at the Coffee4Conservatives meeting at the Firehouse on State Road 83, in Franktown, CO, on Oct. 21, 2012.
Mark A. Cohen spoke for about 30 minutes at the Douglas County Republicans’ First Friday Breakfast in Parker, CO, held at The War Horse Inn, on Dec. 2, 2011.
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