My boys are home for Christmas, so it is movie time!!!! Last night we went to see Charlie Wilson’s War. Charlie Wilson was a US Representative who saw to the funding of the largest covert US operation in United States history, funding the Muhajadeen in Afghanistan in their war against the Soviets. He took the $5 million in funds and eventually oversaw its expansion to $500 million US dollars without any leakage to the press. Of course, this led to the only military defeat of the Soviets in their history and opened the way to the eventual collapse of the Soviet empire. It’s quite a story.
Charlie Wilson was a hard drinking, womanizing, fast living congressman from a no account district in Texas who got hold of an idea and was positioned to see it through. And he did. Some observations:
1. Wilson was no saint in his personal life and yet he did the US a great good and the people of Afghanistan a greater good. I have always wondered at the observations that you can’t trust a man in politics who will cheat on his wife (a phrase often thrown at Bill Clinton). The truth: that’s not true. It seems as if the role of religion in the Republican primaries is becoming an acid test for electability. If Huckabee says Jesus enough, then perhaps he is the one people should vote for. The reality is much different. Religious men like Jimmy Carter can be abysmal failures in the Presidency and rather religiously indifferent men like Ronald Reagan can do great things.
2. One person can do a great deal of good.
3. One person can see what so many others do not see.
4. All the great things Charlie Wilson did merely paved the way for a greater good that was waiting to be done – rebuild Afghanistan with schools, infrastructure, etc., to give that society a chance at modernity and progressiveness. These are the things that no one was interested in. Stay through the movie and see the quote on the screen by Charlie Wilson at movie’s end. It’s worth the price of the ticket.
There are people who are doing real hard work behind the scenes who are changing history without applause simply because there are right things to do. You know some of those things to do. Do them.