Or so the huckster dull normals of talk radio pound out a message of innuendo designed to drive ratings and secure and build audience passion. But the evocative nature of these diatribes are less eloquent than provocative. They are not an appeal to the better character of our nation’s soul.
“How stands the Union?” allegedly the devil asked Daniel Webster. And the judge responded, “Rock bottomed and copper riveted.”…It ain’t no more. It is anything but. And there is a new captain at the helm.
So began retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson Monday evening, addressing a filled Williamsburg library theater. Some 300 James City County and Williamsburg residents came to hear the William and Mary visiting professor and former Chief of Staff to Collin Powell. In an extemporaneous ninety minute dialogue, he set a tone that was at once alarming and reassuring; if that can be done. More will follow over the next few days, but a haunting sense will begin the synopsis. Wilkerson did not specifically express the sentiments standing at the beginning or the end of this post. He elicited them.
“Unfortunately I don’t think anybody, expert in any field, economics, finance, foreign policy, international relations in general, anthropology…you name it…can say where this ship is headed. And that is a hell of a situation”
Wilkerson travels widely and regularly crosses paths with many who have access to information not available from the Richmond Times Dispatch. No one can tell him, he explained to the gathering, if this situation is going to last three years, five years, a decade or longer. The latter is the way he tends to assess it. And, there is no way to tell what we will look like at the other end. Globalization has ended for now.
The new captain of the ship, he opined, has started off very well. His team is precisely what it needs to be and focused on that which it needs to dispatch. He applauded the appointments of special envoys to act as a first shield internationally. This way the financial and economic crises can be on the front burner.
“We stopped doing bin Laden’s work for him when we elected President Obama.”
The landscape was broad, but an interlude in this discussion brought laser sharp focus on our nation’s heart and soul; its nature and character. In naming three things he recommended all of us do, one was directed at supporting the new President. And, he followed this up with the suggestion to give him time; not to hesitate to speak up when you disagree, but give him time.
“Back this President. Back this President to the hilt because you’ve got ten million people…you’ve got twenty million listening to Rush Limbaugh; ten million of whom are nuts… And frankly, having myself lived through…most of you I can see, probably lived through too…probably lived through JFK, Bobby, and Martin and…I really don’t like what I am hearing from people like Limbaugh and Hannity and O’Reilly and others…I really do not like it. It’s frightening.”
In the midst of this uncertainty, there is a style in the contemporary media extant that is disturbing and wholly uncivil. It employs the politics of personal destruction for personal gain. The mouthpieces of self-promotion beat the drum with innuendo and provide sound bites that fill the vacuum of popular confusion and fear. These are simple, clear, and easy to remember: falsified birth certificate; attended madrassa; dyed in the wool communist or, variably, Western European style socialist; kept the company of unrepentant terrorists. The minds behind the mantras are no more interested in the finer aspects of their positions than they are their nation. They have theirs and want to keep it. We hear the finely crafted mantras repeated by frightened acolytes on local call in shows or, more disturbing, at the 7-11. Wilkerson, an English major, quoted poetry by Matthew Arnold, so I’ll remember something from William Blake who basically commented that if you say something often enough, it becomes fact. We should worry. We spawned Tim McVeigh. We should hope. We spawned Barack Obama.
This the first of a series of posts from a presentation by the former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell. More of Lawrence Wilkerson's Williamsburg Observations:
Our Kenyan Born, Muslim, Marxist President (This post)
Cross posted at VBDems - Blogging our way to Democratic wins in Virginia Beach!