The Gospel Truth

The Ghost of America’s Future | August 2, 2012

I think the only thing sadder than a stack of empty shelves is a shopping mall that is virtually a ghost town.

Recently in my never-ending attempt to beat the grim reaper by exercising regularly, I went to the Crestwood Mall, about 10 miles south of my home in St. Louis County.

I knew the mall had been in trouble for many years.

Many of its anchor stores, like Macy’s and Sears had already fled for greener pastures.

A sad sight

A number of black box theaters and arts shops had tried to fill some of the cavernous void.

In fact my first play, The Last Memory of an Ol’ Brownie Fan was staged in one of these theaters.

But I was woefully unprepared for what I witnessed last week.

It was desolate.

The only things missing were graffiti and broken windows.

Not a creature was in sight except for me and a bunch of old people with the same intent of staying alive by exercise.

It pained me, in more ways than one, to walk among the broken dreams of ownership and prosperity.

Any time a small business goes under as I assume many of these did, I feel remorse.

In New York City recently for short holiday, we stopped by Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant, a recognizable tourist attraction just next to the Park.

Yankee Stadium

First the Mick and then his eatery

This time it was shuttered and there were no signs of life anywhere.

And this was after 24 years of operation.

The obituary in the paper said that it was the increased rent, the high price of food and a few bad reviews that forced its owners to go out of business.

We had a similar situation with a souvenir shop very near the NBC offices at 30 Rock that closed after 39 years because of an increased lease.

The Jewish woman who has sold us many tees, and New York stuff over the years was a real gem.

She was your typical New Yorker with her quasi cynical demeanor and blunt way of doing business.

But she was never offensive, even to us Midwesterners and had an endearing charm that we will miss.

Ironically the Jewish woman had several items, favorably depicting our president, who just recently said that people like her, the owner of Mantles and all the missing shopkeepers of the moribund Crestwood Mall owed their dreams of ownership to him by proxy.

And yet our clueless president says that private businesses are doing well.

It is the public sector that needs more investment and job creation.

Oh really?

With four small words he revealed more about himself than all the books I have read him said.

You didn’t build that!

PHOTO: President Barack Obama gestures at a campaign stop in Oakland, Calif. on July 23, 2012.

You didn’t build that!

With these short words he sent the Republican Party and all conservatives on a frenzied mission to expose the president’s deep-seated animus against small businesses.

This statement characterized the political and ideological bent of this man, more than any of his self-serving lies and distortion.

As Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal stated, his thought wasn’t even original.

Like good buddy Joe Biden, he lifted it from the ramblings of Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic challenger to Scott Brown in Massachusetts last August.

The perpetually bewildered Ms. Warren implored Democrats that government was the real source of all business success.

Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth...

The president borrowed from her

This made a great impression on her liberal followers, who have been working for its wider adoption for years.

It fits right in with the president’s theme that there is nothing exceptional about America…except maybe its president.

I wonder if he attributes all of his own success to his intelligence and drive or is that also the work of a beneficient government?

Some how his own irrepressible swagger seems to belie his comments.

But then most liberals if not all considered themselves better than the American rabble that have chosen to save from themselves.

I doubt if the Jewish woman who ran her shop for 39 years did do that on her own.

The many restauranteurs that give up the ghost of their dreams didn’t bring anything to their businesses.

No, it was those in government, who taught them, the union men, who built their roads and the police and firemen who protected them that put the food on their tables.

Their blood, sweat and now tears of assuming the risks of private ownership…were in Obama’s socialist world–all for nothing.

The president has made it very clear Jefferson’s nation of shopkeepers, that is American risk-takers, investors and small businesses, have no place but the unemployment line, in his world.

The closed shops and broken-hearted shopkeepers are signs that in Obama’s world the only business that will get done will be the business of government.

As Strassel says this goes way beyond politics.

It attacks America at its very fiber and twists the truth into a European fantasy that has proven a failure every time it is has been tried.

Government has become the enemy of business…the American people and its continual expansion heralds the decline and ultimate destruction of the American way of life.

This is not what millions of Americans–the Greatest Generation–fought and died for.

And now this Democratic enemy within is doing everything in its formidable power to undermine our way of life.

We all know who they are–Nancy Polesi in the House…to Harry Reid in Senate and the entire Executive branch of government.

Reid- 2009 Official Photo.jpg

Undermining America’s future

Again this writes the importance of this election in dark bold letters.

We may never get another chance!

From a nation of shopkeepers and small businesses, we are quickly becoming a nation of boarded-up malls, a ghost of America’s past.



  1. Bill,
    I share your dismay over Crestwood’s failure. As an old North County resident I saw the same happen to the old Northland Shopping Center. But it’s returned with a new name (Buzz Westfall Plaza or something like that) after being completely bulldozed and rebuilt from ground up. Never went to Mickey Mantle’s, but it seemed to be something that merely carried the Mick’s name (he wasn’t renowned for his cooking), like Johnny Bench’s Home Plate (which went under). And how about Joe Buck’s?

    Comment by jakubspen — August 2, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

  2. We ain’t seen nothin yet.

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — August 2, 2012 @ 11:30 pm

  3. A friend writes tongue in cheek: Bill, I did not build my own business, I have the goverment to thank for building it. The goverment was with me every week in the 70’s when I worked a 80plus hour week.k:

    Comment by bbprof — August 3, 2012 @ 3:32 am

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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at







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