Been reading a bit lately. Airplane wifi really sucks so I don’t buy it anymore. I read actual books on the plane. I went to a Winston Churchill Foundation lunch hosted by my friend Lee Pollack. I bought a book on Churchill that is very interesting and right for our times. It’s “Comprehensive Judgement and Absolute Selflessness Winston Churchill on Politics As Friendship” by John von Heyking. At VMI, I received a book of quotes on George C. Marshall. Marshall and Churchill were contemporaries.
Last night I went to dinner with some friends and they recanted stories of being smeared socially for their beliefs. They are seeing it bleed over to business where what you believe impacts your ability to even make a livelihood. It makes your blood boil to see what is happening to them simply because they are conservatives that decided to speak up in their local community.
Given the rancor today in the world both giants of the 20th Century seem like good sources to contemplate.
Churchill was very interesting indeed. He developed a lot of close personal friendships across the aisle. He famously switched political parties, twice. Churchill co-founded a club, “The Other Club” that was a social club dedicated to forging personal relationships over drink and dinner. It was open to people of both political stripes.
In the book by Martin Gilbert, “Churchill’s Political Philosophy” Gilbert writes,
In private, Labour men knew they could turn to him if they were in difficulties. After the death of Philip Snowden, his widow, a former suffragette and dedicated socialist, wrote to Churchill. Your generosity to a political opponent marks you forever in my eyes the “great gentlemen” I have always thought you. Had I been in trouble which I could not control myself, there is none to whim I should have felt I could come with more confidence that I should be gently treated.
Is that possible today in America?
I was riding the L from O’Hare to Fullerton yesterday. I saw a couple and the man had on a Barry Sanders 2020 t-shirt. Suppose I had a Trump shirt on. Do you think civility would have ensued? Would one of us have been at more risk?
Friendships and families are being broken up over political leanings today all across America. I am sure Brexit has wrought the same in Great Britain. As I watch hyper-liberal policy after hyper-liberal policy being rammed through Springfield and enacted in my home state of Illinois, I wonder what Churchill and Marshall would have thought.
A quote from George C. Marshall to sum up,
“Be very tolerant in your thoughts toward other countries. It is easy to be provoked and irritated with the actions of other nations when away from the scene of trouble. We must be patient.”-Remarks to Girls Nation August 11, 1947
Neither man would roll over and show their bellies. They had firm convictions and first principles that they lived and died by. However, both were tolerant. I wonder at what point they would have lost tolerance, and taken action against the other side? Certainly, for Churchill, September 1, 1939, was a defining day against Germany. But, what about his own countrymen on the opposite side of the aisle? That same day, Marshall was appointed General of the Army by Roosevelt.
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