Sunday, December 8, 2013


Oh no. One of my worst fears realized. It was too late to back out of the room for C.W. had already spotted me.

“Come in, old Sport.” He looked up from his pile of papers and motioned me forward. “I have a couple of questions for you.”

Few of his favorite shapes are as obnoxious as one he seems to treasure above all. Yes, I am referring to Paulie Penchant, the political pundit.

He indicated that I should take a seat. He said, “I want to ask you a few questions about this fellow Mandela that just died.”

“The former President of South Africa and Nobel Prize recipient?”

“The terrorist.”

I was aghast. “What do you mean ‘the terrorist?’”

“Your country’s words, not mine.”

“C.W.,” I said. “What the hell are you talking about?”

He was wearing a pair of those half-glasses one uses for reading and he looked at me over the top rim. “Come on, old Sport. Surely you know.”

“Know what?”

“That the man was a commie.”

That rendered me speechless.

He continued. “Don’t take my word for it. Your government had the man on a terrorist watch list until 2008.” He waved a newspaper clipping at me. “You almost wouldn’t let him in your country.”

“But,” I said. “Look at the outpouring of grief.” I struggled for the words. “Look at the tributes.”

“Look at the facts,” he said. He handed me a copy of a magazine piece that chronicled then President Ronald Reagan’s veto of a sanctions bill designed to end apartheid in South Africa and free Nelson Mandela from a prison sentence he endured for 27 years.

“He didn’t like communists.” I said. “President Reagan didn’t.”


“The African National Congress—Mr. Mandela’s group—harbored some communists.”

“There you go,” he said. “Makes him a commie in my book. So why all the tears?”

“Congress overrode the veto,” I said.

“Yeah,” he said. “They were always screwing around with the man when he tried to stop the commies.”

“Oh please.” I said. “Can’t you let it rest?”

He ignored me. “Look at what congress forced him to do in Nicaragua.”

“Forced him?”

“He had to sell weapons to Iran to get money for the brave Contras who were fighting the commies in South America.”

“And killing nuns,” I said. “Also selling cocaine.”

“No problem if they were stopping the commies.”

I groaned. “Back to Nelson Mandela,” I said. “We, I mean we as country, got over it.”

“Got over what?”

“The commie thing.”

“So you say,” he said, fumbling with his papers. “Look at what former Vice-President Dick Cheney had to say about Mandela.”

This is what President Obama and Michelle had to say
when they visited Nelson Mandela's former prison cell.
Seems like a nice sentiment - C.W.

On behalf of our family we’re deeply humbled to stand
where men of such courage faced down injustice and
refused to yield.  The world is grateful for the heroes
 of Robben Island,  who remind us that no shackles or cells
 can match the strength of the human spirit.

 Barack Obama and Michelle Obama
“May we please not?”

“Aren’t you a good American?”

“I try to be but it gets harder when we start quoting Dick Cheney.”

“He was your country’s vice-president, for goodness sake, a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.”

“Please don’t try to frighten me. Besides, he is no Nelson Mandela,” I said.

“Maybe not, but look at what this other ‘truth-warrior,’ this uh …” he dug into his papers again, found one and continued, “this Rick Santorum. Look at what he said.”

It was 17 degrees outside, with a howling wind and sleet, but I decided that I preferred it at that moment and grabbed my jacket.

“Hey,” I heard him say as the first blast of cold air hit me. “Don’t you want to read what Sarah Palin thought about it?”

1 comment:

  1. Truth Warrior? I had heard the term Prayer Warrior the other day. Does the word Warrior mean you are for or against Truth or Prayer?