I am still here
One of my favorite authors is Malcolm Gladwell, a Canadian born to a Jamaican mother and English father. In an interview, he responded to a question about his ability to look from afar at issues close at hand. He noted his bizarre appearance made him an obvious outsider, so he crafted an outside looking in perspective.
One of his books is called “David and Goliath” about how underdogs sometimes are not whom they first appear to be. In one of his examples, he noted the Nazi’s bombing of London during World War II was actually counterproductive. Why?
People did perish and were injured. And, buildings were destroyed. But, the lion’s share of Londoners were not impacted other than being frightened. They were also galvanized with a defiant “I am still here.”
We should not set aside that galvanizing affect as it is crucial to the British resolve. Outside of tacit support from America before December 7, 1941, the British bore the heavy load to fight the Nazis and Italians in the Europe/ Africa campaign. I am still here was a big part of their perseverance, especially after near catastrophe at Dunkirk which may have cost them severe loss of soldiers had it not been for a make-shift volunteer navy.
Standing up against tyrants and bullies requires that kind of perseverance. It is said the tenacious Winston Churchill was the ideal man to lead Great Britain during these times. He saw Adolph Hitler for exactly who he was – a psychopathic tyrant. Churchill’s predecessor tried to appease Hitler, which seems ludicrous in hindsight. You don’t stroke a bully.
The only way to stand up to a bully is with resolve. Please remember that when bullies and liars try to denigrate and gaslight you. The truth is your ally. So, is your conviction. I am still here. And, I know who and what you are.
Note to Readers: The first subject of Gladwell’s book is David and Goliath. Based on clues from the bible and science, experts reached the fascinating conclusion that Goliath, not David was overmatched. David could handle a sling shot that he could propel with great accuracy to a speed of 160 mph, Goliath was led down to the valley because people of size have an overactive pituatary gland which can cause poor eyesight. So, David fought on his terms and felled the big man.
That was a very interesting note on Goliath and David and of course the lesson you fight on your own terms.
With reference to the British example in WWII a while back I encountered a most interesting book ‘Operation Sealion’ by Leo McKinistry. Although based around the theoretical invasion of Britain by the Germans examines the British preparedness for Total War when compared with Germany; basically as the politicians placated (or as some historians argue played for time), the military and civil forces were building up the necessary infrastructures to defend the nation. Not so in Germany whose approaches were comparatively vague both for the civilian population and for any planned invasion. (I’ve wargamed it several times; it never turns out well for the Germans).
Another lesson then, Preparation and Organisation; then Response.
Thanks Roger. I love books that are “what-if-this-happened” steeped in some facts. As for preparedness, I do recall Churchill having to talk FDR and Eisenhower out of invading Europe first, as Churchill thought an early failure would be devastating. So, the started the campaign in Africa, then Italy. As for movies, I love the scene in “The Darkest Hour” where Churchill boards a train and talks with the British citizens, even though it was likely a contrived scene. Keith
Yes the American generals were very enthusiastic about a full on invasion. The evidence of the disastrous Dieppe Raid of 19th August 1942 was held up of evidence that far more planning and preparation was needed. Even so subsequent landings in North Africa, Sicily and Italy were not walk-overs; nor was D-Day.
We liked ‘The Darkest Hour’ too. The train scene was contrived, but the symbolism and spirit was interpreted correctly.
Roger, thanks for the added detail. It adds context. You are right that nothing was a walkover. Keith
Truth and conviction are solid allies in fighting the good fight.
Thanks LaDonna. Very true.
Note to Readers: Sometimes the term “I am still here” has meaning to a person who feels low on self-esteem, as if he or she is not deserving of another’s affections or friendship. The best way for the other to help the person is to stay and be there for him or her. “I am still here” you are saying to the one in need. Gordon Lightfoot called these folks who remain “rainy day people” as they will be there for you when things get ugly.