I have highlighted a bit about character and leadership recently in theleansubmariner. Its been refreshing to see the support from so many readers but I have also received my share of criticism for trying to put a smiley face on bad behavior. Fair enough. When reading someone else‘s opinions it can be easy to chip away at one idea or another if you fundamentally disagree with the entire notion.
One of my shipmates even suggested that I welcomed booze addled skippers in Mister Mac’s Navy to the detriment of the poor lads (and lassies) who might suffer under that brand of leadership. I am pretty sure I didn’t actually say anything about including drinking as a major at the Naval Academy (although truth be told, there may be a few who had already unofficially adopted it with abandon). In fact, my life and career were indeed affected by at least one full time imbiber (how much Scope do you need for a three day run, anyway?)
I suppose my real point then and now is that there must be a giant “Sensitivity Meter” somewhere in the maze of buildings called the Capitol Complex. I can almost imagine what it looks like with a matrix of cross functional definitions and schemes. No race, gender, mixed gender, confused gender, creed, color, religious sensitivity of any kind is excluded although rumor has it that the segment concerning Caucasian males has been permanently disabled.
The Sensitivity Meter has existed since the earliest days of the country.
It was invented by Ben Franklin on one of his more creative days. His original intent was to take a good poke at early American society. Somehow though, it was hijacked by people who didn’t understand that he was practicing SARCASM. These good folks (and their followers) have maintained it and have continued to tweak on it even to this very day.
The original spring Franklin used for the meter has long since had to be replaced from being wound too tight. Edison’s contribution of lights and Alexander G. Bell’s buzzers have all been upgraded to digital and there is talk of some new sort of plasma flow illuminator coming down the pike. The Sensitivity Meter itself is the single best example of non-partisanship in the entire world. Everybody uses it for different purposes of course, but they all use it. Word has it that there is a permanent connection to the United Nations now with an over-ride feature.
There is only one recorded time in the history of the nation where the meter was broken. Naturally, it was broken during a prelude to war. Impressively, it was broken by a man who was only half American. This man made a speech in another country but its reverberations were felt around the world. The meter would be operating at reduced capacity for more than five years from that point. The fear of a repeat resulted in many new filters and protective devices being added and an internal strengthening that would ensure it never happened again. Ironically, Admiral Rickover’s passion for a certain type of energy secretly fueled the progress of the new machine but protocol requires that the source of power never be mentioned near the device.
Who was the man who caused such damage? Well, he was a failed politician. Many times over. He hated many things but specifically he hated:
Women’s suffrage, worker’s rights, communism, bolshevism, socialism, any other countries that were not his (except of course the US since he was half America). He had a sharp tongue and once told a Navy Admiral that he didn’t want to hear about Naval Traditions which were about nothing more than booze, sodomy and corporal punishment (which leads me to believe that he hated gays too). He spoke to his colleagues with offensive language and was not overly careful around the ladies (especially after he had downed a few).
This hater often slept until noon and then made his folks work with him late into the night. He was a Zionist, a war mongering extremists, and was determined that using force against Gandhi was the only way to succeed.
He was a one per center before being one was even fashionable. Eating from gold plates and having food served by large powdered servants was very common at his house. Copious quantities of wine and cognac and boxes full of CUBAN cigars that he smoked until his death despite his hatred for the place where he continued to purchase them. He was not overly impressed by Africans, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, and people from any part of Asia in general. In his earlier life his writings about their weakness and need for civilized leadership were well known.
He was an opportunistic man who switched from the Liberal to Conservative view points as it suited his purposes. He was a gambler who loved casinos and mixed it up regularly with people of less than honorable intentions. He was a veteran of a number of wars, ruthless in his treatment of his enemy, failed in several major campaigns and disgraced in more ways than the average man could ever recover from.
In no sense of the word could you ever categorize Winston Churchill as an average man though. His greatest sin that propelled all others was that he had an ego that was unsurpassed by anyone of his age. That in itself is probably what cracked the tubes wide open on the Sensitivity Meter.
Making this speech to Parliament on May 13 1940 sealed the deal on damaging the “Meter”
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”
We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realized; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, “Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.”
With all of his tumultuous faults, he became the right man for the right age at the right time. His dogged determination saved the world from being overrun by Fascism and if we had kept the Sensitivity Meter in drydock, may have helped to prevent us from fifty years of Bolshevism.
No wonder the White House sent the bust back. (And here you thought it was just about the way Grandpa was treated in Kenya, didn’t ya?
Quiz time: How many politically incorrect things can you identify about Winston Churchill that would keep him from serving as a leader with our newly remodeled Sensitivity Meter?
Bonus Food from Angus:
Nancy Astor was an American socialite who married into the wealthy English family of Astor. She actually was the first woman to be elected to Parliament, which makes her humiliation all the sweeter. She was invited to 1912 a dinner party located in the Churchill estate , but, unfortunately for her, she became extremely annoyed at a drunk and politically incorrect Winston Churchill. Finally, she exclaimed the following: “Winston, if you were my husband, I’d put poison in your coffee.” Unaffected by her sudden outburst, Churchill moderately and quickly replied with a great comeback: