Nimble Thoughts

Micro thoughts and minor insights.

A collection of storytelling nibbles by:

© Cole Akins

Ghost of Churchill Haunts Parliament!

NOTE: I spent a couple nights rewatching Darkest Hour. First the theatrical version followed by the director's commentary which had great insights from Joe Wright (Atonement, Anna Karenina [2012]). Then I caught a photo circulating Twitter of Donald Trump sitting in Winston Churchill's favorite chair.

I wondered ... what words might Mr. Churchill expel forth in these modern times.

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Ghost of Winston Churchill Haunts Parliament!

Noble Lords Scream 'Mirage'!

Churchill's Ghost to Trump: Get Outta My Chair! 

July 10, 2018 [900am PST] White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweets photo of American President Donald Trump sitting in Winston Churchill's favorite chair. British response toward the American President's UK visit further soured by President's sedentary act.

*UPDATE* July 10 [1:30pm PST] 

In a shocking turn of events, the ghost of Winston Churchill appeared before British Parliament requesting a quorum on the floor. The freedom to speak was granted with trepidation. Witnesses say the former PM looked tired and ashy-white. The great orator of world history puttered about as he spoke to parliamentary officials before stalking for the exit and disappearing. 

See transcript below:

<BEGIN TRANSCRIPT>

 

[EXCITABLE CHATTER]

UNIDENTIFIED PARLIAMENTARY MEMBER:

This is absurd. Who are you? I insist you identify your true nature at once!

WINSTON CHURCHILL:

Prove my own flesh and blood?  Preposterous … absurd indeed! [INAUDIBLE]

MR. SPEAKER:

It's a legitimate request. After all, sir, you are long dead -- that is without question.

WINSTON CHURCHILL:

Mr. Speaker, do you not see me standing before you? I do believe I hold the floor. I see no other way to prove my very existence than hold true to our nation’s gentlemanly traditions and proceed.

[PAUSE]

UNIDENTIFIED PARLIAMENTARY MEMBER #2:

This man ... this ghost ... does not have cause to control the floor of Parliament. I must--

WINSTON CHURCHILL: [INTERRUPTING]

ON YOUR WATCH, SIR! ON YOUR WATCH [PAUSE] Did the American President very recently disrespect our sitting Prime Minister? And is he attacking NATO like some silly schoolyard howler? Is he attempting to weaken international stopgaps to conflict rightly constructed to prevent a repeat of Heir Hitler's war?

And ... AND ... in a final act of disregard, did the American President take a seat in my chair?!

MR. SPEAKER:  

Yes. Just today in fact. Several hours ago, I'm told.

WINSTON CHURCHILL:

Then Mr. Speaker, I believe our island is indeed in peril once more. I shall do my best to provide sage guidance.

[CLEARS THROAT] 

Where was I... Oh, yes... 

(MR. CHURCHILL CLUTCHES HIS LAPELS.)

WINSTON CHURCHILL (CONT.):

On the click-clacking train ride to the destination of my afterlife, I looked out my window and saw flames rising through the furnace of hell.

[PAUSE] 

My seat-mates dabbed at their temples. Unbuttoned stiff collars. These were men I did not know. And yet we sympathized alike nonetheless. Men from different backgrounds with equal fears. Different nationalities. Differing advice from each of their fathers. The train slowed. Upon pausing at this feverish junction, several individuals were escorted off the coach by an invisible, dubious force. The tears of the departing passengers evaporated as steam from their very eyes.  Clouds of sorrow like nothing I have before witnessed. 

To those of us who remained aboard, it was optimism that united us. Optimism for our souls. Hope that the sorrow and loneliness of death might become a more bearable enterprise. Even in the most difficult of times, it is more endurable to exist on the sunny side of the mountain. For only there do options for progress still exist. 

When I felt the cooling shoreline breeze of hope, I rejoiced. My train hastened itself onward, to the good fortune of my character ... and my soul.

MR. SPEAKER:

Sir, it is a fine view of Heaven and hell, but we really must get back to the business of the Queen. 

[MUFFLED AGREEMENT]

WINSTON CHURCHILL:

All do respect to the Queen, Mr. Speaker. It is the business of the people I am here to discuss.  

[PAUSE]

WINSTON CHURCHILL:

Where was I? Yes. Heaven. 

Noble lords and ladies, no one plays poker in Heaven. The house dealer, a mute and portly fellow, sits with idle hands. That very first round of cards were dealt at the dawn of man and remain untouched at this very hour.

There is a treachery, you see, to the act of winning in poker. To win means to lie well. To perjury oneself in Heaven … well, I would suggest against it. For without honor, there is no sense to linger in such a place. Without truth, there is no sense to linger in the mortal earthly realm, nor any other.

Truth. Truth. Truth. 

The quest for truth is the one thing that binds men of a different breed together. Truth flows downstream. Always. It is a sweet, crystal liquid that sifts through cracks in every category of darkness on its sojourn to light.

This is truth. And so shall be. For all time. 

When there is nothing left. When a society is taken apart and its very core is exposed; it is truth and honor that standalone. Hand-in-hand. Beneath the judgmental spotlight of prying eyes. 

I call on you today because we are at war. Not with a foreign battalion charging our shores, but to a more sinister enemy: our very selves. Our very humanity!

In large doses, from time to time, a man must come face-to-face with an unseemly character — one who pounces with unjust cause onto the backs of those less fortunate.  Be is stout athletic thespians of the American football pitch. Or our very own Prime Minister, a plethora of examples abound across our Western world. 

Mr. Speaker, I am concerned.

We have, simultaneously, and at odds with normal course of action, an American President who refutes truth and caters to lies to propagate his own purpose. An American President who disinclines to follow common rules and procedures of great import. This, and ... and ... and the isolation of our own United Kingdom due to a campaign of equally ambiguous lies and deceit. Something noxious is spreading. An invisible threat I did not see coming. 

Where is the unity? Where is the boundless enthusiasm and optimism of great nations?

Where is the shame?

We find ourselves at a precarious turning point in human history. A decision must be made at the highest level — with and among my very countrymen seated before me. 

Truth. Not an alternative rational.

Truth. Not the short term strategic whims of power.

Truth. A kind born and crafted from honest dissension and debate. Compromise!

This is truth in its brightest form. It cannot exist in the shade. Whatever the chosen decision, right or wrong, the path to it must be made honorably. There is too much incentive for intellectual dishonesty, with no consequences or remediation for such egregious and offensive dishonesty.

We crumble toward haphazard dereliction.  We must act with grace in the face of uncertainty and fear. When faced with difficult choices act with courage.

I have never seen these London streets so clean and prosperous, yet so full of doubt. Our citizens amble about bombarded by the fodder of alternative fact. Lies and deceit line the high ground like howitzers.

I share these final thoughts:

To continue this current course of action… To ignore the litmus test of old will be disastrous to our civilization. To redefine truth and honor into something ambivalent, without the safety net of concern for reputation, will bury this chamber — and that noble chamber across the sea — beneath rubble just the same.

And it will bring to end the longest period of peace our island — and our world — has ever known.

There, Mr. Speaker, you have the floor. I shall cease to exist once again.  

 

<END TRANSCIPT>