I’m going back and forth whether Roberts was a typical judge (i.e., stupid and unworthy of respect), a brilliant thinker, a chess player, a pawn, etc. Each of you who has commented here has made an excellent point. I agree with all of you, even when you disagree with each other. In other words, I’m having a lovely intellectual wallow-fest.
The problem is that wallow-fests are for water-coolers and sodden drinking orgies at dank bars. We don’t have time for that. We have to get energized and quickly. The breast beating will not win us the next battle. Although no blood has actually been shed, I suddenly understand just how Winston Churchill felt as he worked to rally a shaken Britain following the Dunkirk evacuation. Sure, the evacuation lives in history, as every boat in Britain rallied to rescue stranded British soldiers, but the fact is, that heroic moment came about because of a staggering military defeat. Churchill’s words to the House of Commons in the aftermath of that disaster are worth remembering.
Churchill’s June 4, 1940 speech begins by describing, in blunt terms, the scope of the military disaster (although that disaster was somewhat allayed by the fact that the evacuation rescued more than 330,000 men, not the 45,000 predicted). Then, he gets to the nub of the matter, which is that Britain must look not only on what it lost (and Churchill spoke in unvarnished terms about those losses), but also about what Britain still had, in terms of weapons, men and, most importantly, morale (emphasis mine):
Turning once again, and this time more generally, to the question of invasion, I would observe that there has never been a period in all these long centuries of which we boast when an absolute guarantee against invasion, still less against serious raids, could have been given to our people. In the days of Napoleon the same wind which would have carried his transports across the Channel might have driven away the blockading fleet. There was always the chance, and it is that chance which has excited and befooled the imaginations of many Continental tyrants. Many are the tales that are told. We are assured that novel methods will be adopted, and when we see the originality of malice, the ingenuity of aggression, which our enemy displays, we may certainly prepare ourselves for every kind of novel stratagem and every kind of brutal and treacherous maneuver. I think that no idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered and viewed with a searching, but at the same time, I hope, with a steady eye. We must never forget the solid assurances of sea power and those which belong to air power if it can be locally exercised.
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
Or, as another famous English person once said, this is not the time for us to go all wobbly.
Enough breast beating. It’s time to start the drums beating. Remember, politics is a form of war, albeit (quite thankfully) a bloodless form. We don’t win by pissing and moaning. We win by making the 2010 Tea Party look like a mere trial run. For those who are worried about Romney (and they are right because, while he hews conservative, he’s not a “principled conservative”) had better tether the man with a strongly conservative House, not to mention that all important conservative Senate. Give money, send letters, carry signs, reason (not yell at, reason) with friends and family, be cheerful but determined. Fight and win.