CHURCHILL OUT OF HIBERNATION, WEEK 2
Week 2 of our emergence from hibernation and we are savoring reconnecting with all of you. Thank you for your patience. We have endured one lone night of broken glass here, suffered primarily by our neighbors. (Sometimes being in an arcade without street frontage is a good thing.) Now the only threat to everyone’s well-being around here remains the NYPD’s unpredictable, unprovoked attacks on peaceful demonstrators. They are everywhere.
It is extraordinary, and somehow consoling, how Winston Churchill’s words reverberate so many years after they were first uttered, often far beyond his original intent. Churchill’s power of speech was so acute, so penetrating, that universal applications burst forth again and again, extending and expanding narrow context into something that speaks directly to us now.
“We live in such a febrile and sensational age that even a month or two is enough to make people not merely change their views, but forget the views and feelings they entertained before.”
Churchill rendered this clairvoyant observation on October 25, 1934, in a speech to Parliament on “The Italian Complication,” addressing the subject of sanctions against Mussolini for using gas and targeting Red Cross medical tents in his war against what was then Abyssinia. The speech appears in Arms and the Covenant, the book-length collection of Churchill’s speeches warning about the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, that was published in 1938. Churchill, in this speech, expressed his undimmed hope that the League of Nations (which the United States would not join), still might stop the Great Dictators.
He concluded with these words, which might have been written but an hour ago, so pertinent do they seem right now:
“We have moved on and we are not going to move back.
“…We see a structure always majestic, but hitherto shadowy, which is being clothed with life and power, and endowed with coherent thought and concerted action. We begin to feel the beatings of a pulse which may, we hope and we pray, some day — and the sooner for our efforts — restore a greater measure of health and strength to the whole world. We can see these difficulties and dangers for ourselves, but if we confront them with a steady eye, I believe the House and the country will reach the conclusion that the case for perseverance holds the field.”
As we continue to wish you health and safety, may perseverance hold the field.
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