Friday, November 1, 2013

Kerry Mocks Churchill, Marking New Reality

As artful speeches go, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks at the unveiling of Winston Churchill’s bust in the US Capitol’s Statuary Hall was not as eloquent as “Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears!”

Where Shakespeare’s Mark Antony turned his audience into an angry mob that drove the Conspirators from Rome, Kerry merely signaled to his international audience the effective end of a British conspiracy that had hobbled Washington for over six decades.

Anyone unfamiliar with that history could easily mistake the speech for one of familial transatlantic bonhomie; but to the finely tuned political antenna of the audience present, Kerry’s message was as clear as if he had whipped out his schlong and peed all over Churchill’s newly installed bust.

“This man was an original in every respect,” Kerry said of Churchill. “When he was invited to the White House to stay for a week, he stayed for months. He felt free to use President Roosevelt’s bathtub, but no need to wear his bathrobe or any bathrobe when he was done. He really wrote the book on marching to the tune of your own beat, your own drummer.” (This probably happened during Harry Truman's term in office, when Churchill was not in power in Britain. This is the first reference I have seen to such an extended stay by Churchill in Washington, and its implications are stunning. If he did indeed usurp the functions of the presidency after the outbreak of the Cold War, that would explain why he is the only foreigner ever to be made an "honorary citizen.")

“Leadership in times of crisis – that was Winston Churchill, a call to a great cause – among all things, above all things, parochial.” (Wait, did that mean Churchill was above all things parochial? Indeed, he was parochial, in a High Noon of Empire "God must be an Englishman" kind of way.)

His “defining characteristic was, of course, the courage to lead so many through so much.”(That unfinished construct can be completed by victims of British imperialism in any number of uncomplimentary ways. Through so much ... racist savagery/unnecessary conflict/misogyny/etc.)

From his subterranean war office, Churchill “presided over Great Britain’s finest hour … a man who understood the nightly bombing raids and summoned in fresh words … repeated and remembered by so many – to never, never, never give up.”  (He "understood" the bombing! Kerry is honing in on Churchill's bloated reputation for political perspicacity; the next sentence underlines what a mess Churchill actually made of almost everything he touched.)

He “didn’t just commend those words to others; he lived them himself. … When demoted for his role in Gallipoli in World War I, he picked himself up, taking a new leadership role on the Western Front. … when he was defeated as Prime Minister, knocked down with his party in a crushing political defeat … he managed to dust himself off and wait for history to call again.” (Churchill was a loser, man. If the US hadn't intervened he would have lost WW II as well. )

It was “fitting that in the shadows of World War II, and in the dawn of the Cold War, when some at home hoped the United States would turn inward, Churchill … spoke of America’s awe-inspiring accountability to the future. With so many challenges … struggles to be won, pandemics to be defeated, history yet to be defined, Churchill can be heard once again, with this bust, asking all of us to define our time here not in shutdowns or showdowns but in a manner befitting of a country that still stands, as he said then, at the pinnacle of power.” (Yeah, we’re still #1, and no thanks to the Brit-Tea Party effort to force a default and destroy the US$ as the world's reserve currency!)

“Cynics” might consider it an improbable aspiration for America to help “meet the world’s challenges,” Kerry said. But “what could have seemed more improbable” than that in “Statuary Hall, a building British troops tried to burn down,” there would be the bust of a one-time “Secretary of State for the Colonies … alongside the statue of Samuel Adams, the founder of the Sons of Liberty?”

If that isn’t a battle-cry for the 2014 Congressional elections, I don’t know what is.

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