If We Win, We’ll Have What None of Us Has Ever Had Before: a Country of Our Own

Welcome home George Taylor. “Oh my God. I’m back. I’m home. All the time it was…We finally really did it. YOU MANIACS! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!” Don’t blame me, you voted for the idiots.

While I know where I want this post to end up, I don’t know exactly how I want to get there yet. Like George Taylor, I have felt for a long time that I was vastly out of my element. Not that I see those around me as apes. But I have felt all my life (well, since I was nine or ten, so eighty percent of my life) like everyone around me were either truly better than me (but that didn’t seem true) or at least they felt for some reason like they were better, and I needed to be put in my place. All my life I’ve wanted to cry out “Get your hands off me, you damned, dirty ape!” But the fetters society shackles me with are manacles of the mind.

We may have beaten everyone to the moon, but China beat us to the Monkey. According to various news sites, the Chinese have successfully genetically engineered a human/monkey hybrid. Surely such a backward nation could never have genetically altered anything else. Like…you know….maybe a virus….image and info from bbc.com, the speculation is from shear craziness.

I can hear my audience now. “Enough monkey shines! Get on with it!”

This will be my last post about William Wallace. I’m going to write about how he fulfilled the last of the five habits of leadership from The Leadership Challenge. William Wallace enabled others to act. There are three examples from the film.

  • 1) William Wallace doesn’t micromanage. If you want to claim to be an Irish king, so long as you kill English, you can be his guest.
  • 2) William Wallace is humble enough to listen. When the Princess Isabella warns him of an assassination attempt, rather than scorning “a woman’s testimony.”
  • 3) At the risk of sounding like a broken record: he taught Robert the Bruce how to be a king.

One of the big banes of modern management is micromanagement. We want every single painful step documented. We want to be sure that not only are you aiming for the same goal we are, we will brook no difference in method. “Smile while you are on the phone call. Don’t mention that the systems are running slow. There is only one right way to do things: our way. We want you scanning in and out of the stores, logging onto the computer exactly at the time we say. We want hourly updates. Make that updates every twenty minutes.” You end up spending more time on the paperwork than you do on the job.

William Wallace did none of these things. He didn’t ask for more flair. Didn’t complain if you lifted your kilt at the wrong time, didn’t argue about your choice of weapons or disqualify you because you were insane. “It’s my island.” All he asked was for you to fight at his side and believe in the possibility that Scotland would one day be free.

The iconic photo of a homeless WW I veteran, literally begging for money as he runs by the royal carriage in 1920. Inside the carriage, King George V looks on, and his son Prince Henry simply smiles sheepishly. I’ve always felt this photo was a perfect image of the world. The rich ride in state while the poor run hard beside, begging for a few crumbs. The medals on the veteran’s chest reminds us that this man risked his life for the Empire King George rules.

Unlike George V, William Wallace listened to his people. He might not do exactly as they advised, but he truly listened to what they had to say. Longshanks felt Princess Isabella was a foolish young girl with no brains, but Wallace felt she was intelligent, strong, brave and kind. He listened to her when she warned him about the assassins sent to kill him. He listened when they warned him he was going to be betrayed, but he still met with Robert the Bruce. While his men were right about what was about to happen, Wallace was actually right about the strength and nobility abiding in the Bruce. Robert the Bruce father would not listen, but William would. They debated, but it was the debate of brothers. Of two men intent on a righteous cause. William Wallace gave respect, and received it in return.

The only painting of the scene of Lincoln’s assassination from an actual eyewitness. The artist, Carl Bersch, had intended to make a painting of a victory parade commemorating the North’s victory in the Civil War. As he was working on the painting, there was a disturbance, and looking out the window, Bersch observed a crowd of worried people streaming from the Ford’s Theater across the street, and men carrying the bandaged, fatally wounded President Lincoln after he had been shot. Bersch changed the theme to reflect this haunting scene, and titled it Lincoln Borne by Loving Hands. All too often, we are the beneficiaries of those who struggle, and never live to see the victory. Often I wonder if we are worthy of the sacrifices…

The proof, they say, is in the pudding. Even if you doubt my reasoning, it is historical fact that it was Robert the Bruce, and not William Wallace, who won the Scots their liberty. But it was Wallace who bore the greatest pain between the two. This is often the case. At least in this story, the one who took up the mantel was worthy of it. All too often Lincoln’s and Kennedy’s are replaced by a Johnson. I’ll never forget, at the end of The Lord of the Rings, Frodo speaking to Sam:

But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them.

I thought about ending with a photo of William Wallace dying, but for some reason, this image conveys it best to me. As the film Braveheart says, everyone dies, but not everyone truly lives. These two friends truly lived. It was in pain they lived, but they faced death with a friend they loved and respected more than anyone else in the world. How many of us get to say that?
While this is only a cartoon, it is one of the best scenes in cinema demonstrating what I am trying to say. The true hero pours himself into the next generation, not throwing themselves foolishly away, but showing the next generation the example of how one should live and die. Domo arigato William Wallace.


  1. Xman says:

    I have really enjoyed this series on leadership via Wallace. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Curtiswselby says:

      Thank you very much. I thought about trying to do the same about Cleopatra, but I got sidetracked by the battle of the sexes


    2. Curtiswselby says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy the next series as much


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