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A Great Movie’s Misleading Message

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The magnificent new Churchill movie, DARKEST HOUR, easily counts among the year’s best, but a crucial scene sends a message the real Sir Winston would have hated.

In the movie, the Prime Minister wavers over starting peace talks with Hitler, and on the way to a cabinet meeting, wanders into the Underground-London’s subway. He asks the opinions of ordinary Englishmen in his car, and—only when they tell him to keep fighting at all costs—does he convey that message to Parliament in the famous, “we shall fight on the beaches” speech.

It’s a touching sequence, but totally misleading: Churchill never rode the Underground, and never shared the comforting, populist notion that leaders should take direction and inspiration from the common man. Like Reagan, Thatcher or Lincoln, he knew that great leaders must provide inspiration and direction to the masses, not the other way around.

That’s a role today’s leading figures must learn, and embrace.

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Comments (3)

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  1. CK  •  Dec 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Agree 100%, just to be clear we want leading, not dictating, there's a difference. The latter is to use force, the former is to convince the masses to join you. I like to point to Washington's Thanksgiving day proclamation as an example. No one was going to go to jail or be fined if they didn't give thanks, instead he set out a high standard for the country and then encouraged participation and allowed them to choose how to go about it.

    • Camille forster  •  Dec 1, 2017 at 11:50 pm

      CK! Yes, great comment! I was really hoping to hear some public reading of Washingtons Thanksgiving Proclamation ,or read in our local paper…….many a word, way too Polit INCorrect!

  2. Kpar  •  Dec 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    CK, Thank you for that comment. Excellent example!

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