04 July 2006

Pullman for President

Good morning.

In less than an hour, aircraft from here will join others from around the world. And you will be launching the largest aerial battle in the history of mankind.

"Mankind." That word should have new meaning for all of us today. We can't be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interests. Perhaps it's fate that today is the Fourth of July, and you will once again be fighting for our freedom... Not from tyranny, oppression, or persecution... but from annihilation. We are fighting for our right to live. To exist.

And should we win the day, the Fourth of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day the world declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight!" We're going to live on! We're going to survive!

Today we celebrate our Independence Day! -- "President Thomas Whitmore"
Feel the melodrama.

I stumbled across this Will Smith classic earlier this weekend. When it first came out, I recall a friend saying (many years before Team America, mind you): "Bill Pullman SHOULD be president; if you really heard him give that speech, you'd just jump up, yelling, 'Fuck yeah!'"

As I sit here in the waning hours of the Fourth, it occurs to me that, in a way, he's right.

Sure, the whole, "retired fighter pilot president leading the troops," scenario is preposterously over the top. It's Hollywood; it's supposed to be. Like any ideal, though, it's based in reality, in the attainable things we see and can achieve. It reminds us of what we expect from a leader: strength, honesty, integrity, compassion.

And, on this Independence Day, it reminds us of just how woefully short we've fallen, not only of the ideal, but of any reasonable expectations, as well.

Instead of strength, we have stubborn arrogance.

Instead of honesty, we have deceit and secrecy.

Instead of integrity, a commitment only to power.

And instead of compassion, vacillation between cronyism and petty vengeance.

I don't need a hero to save the country, but I'd certainly prefer not having an insufferable bastard doing everything he can to destroy it. If THAT'S the option, I'll take the scenery-chewing actor any day of the week.

Fuck yeah.

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