Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist
Today I was privileged to attend, along with Adam and Chris, an in-store appearance by Ambassador Joseph Wilson, at Borders Bookstore, as part of the promotional tour for his book The Politics of Truth. He delivered a forty-minute speech discussing his life’s work as an American diplomat, what he believes America stands for, and, of course, the despicable manner he and his wife have been treated at the hands of this administration and what that means in terms of our national security.
He walked up to the podium still chewing some sort of cafe pastry, rapidly finishing it and tossing the napkin aside. In person, Joe Wilson reminds me a bit of an elementary school principal; he seemed aware, focused, personable, and was shaped — I mean this endearingly — a bit like a penguin. His speech was very straightforward, filled with quips and banter, and refreshingly free of measured, soft-pedaled bullshit. He spoke with the sort of clarity and honesty one finds in a man who cares less what you think of him than what you think of his message. That is, he spoke like a man with no further ambitions for elected office.
For as funny and affable as he was, however, there was a noticeable, slow-boiling rage bottled beneath the surface of his words. He freely quoted Jon Stewart’s irreverent description of columnist Robert Novak — “douchebag” — and on more than one occasion seemed about ready to launch into a fiery tirade against the reckless, blindly ambitious men who outed his wife’s covert identity. He referred to the Plame affair as the White House punishing him by “dragging his wife out to the town square and administering a public beating.” His dislike for Dick Cheney was as sharp as broken glass. He asked point-blank why the persons responsible had not been tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail — the more recognizable American phrase for “frogmarched,” which he wished upon Karl Rove when the Plame affair broke. Joe Wilson has a disarming smile and a charming demeanor and is not a man to be messed with.
Joe Wilson loves America. As he explained, his career and life have shown him what it means to grow up under the regimes of tinpot dictators and would-be conquerors, and he firmly believes that “our system of governance is the greatest yet devised,” that “our Founding Fathers were really on to something.” He believes that this country can be great, and that it can come back from the damage that Bush and his cronies have done.
Mark Twain once said:
“Loyalty to the country always; loyalty to the government when it deserves it.”
And I think that accurately sums up Joe Wilson. He was an inspiration.