Re: The Living Word Fellowship, The Walk, John Robert Stevens
Date: November 24, 2019 04:19AM
This is political in nature, so the moderator can remove it if he sees fit. It's the latest column from Andrew Sullivan, singing the praises of former national security adviser Fiona Hill and the calm, methodical professionalism she exhibits:
Fiona Hill: The Antidote to Trump
By Andrew Sullivan
I’ve been in Britain, so it was tough to give this week’s impeachment hearings the attention they deserve. But one obvious theme has emerged: the imperturbability, professionalism, and courage of the women who have testified. When I sat down last night and watched some of the footage of Fiona Hill online, I was gobsmacked.
As soon as I heard her voice, I thought she was a “Geordie” — her accent has obviously softened but those flat vowels and clipped consonants are unmistakable to an English ear. I was wrong, in fact. Geordies are from Newcastle, strictly speaking, and Hill is from Durham. They’re both cities in the Northeast of England and have similar accents, but Durham is a truly ancient town, its Cathedral a monument to medieval Christianity, its university renowned. And Hill, it also turns out, is the real deal, from a mining family. Her local paper, the Northern Echo, celebrated a local girl yesterday:
Born in Bishop Auckland in October 1965, she is the daughter of a coalminer and a midwife. Dad Alfred followed the men of his family down the pits, aged 14, and when the last collieries closed in the 1960s he wanted to emigrate to America to work in the coal mines in West Virginia or Pennsylvania but stayed to be with his mother, who had been crippled from hard labour. He died in the North-East in 2012 and Ms Hill’s mother still lives in her hometown.
From these modest origins, as she acknowledged in her opening statement, Hill became what we saw yesterday. One of the wretched things about the last few years has been following and staying sane in the blizzard of bluster, misinformation, gaslighting, conspiracy theories, and the actual empirical, complex reality we have been confronted with. To keep one’s focus while enduring this torrent of deliberate confusion and competing narratives has been extremely hard.
But not for Hill.
Watching her listen carefully to Castor and Nunes’s questions and arguments, and then just as carefully, methodically dismantle them was a kind of cleansing shower in an impossibly humid summer. Her clear distinction between national security and a “domestic errand” is at the heart of the profound corruption in this presidency, and I have simply never seen it expressed so coherently and plainly.
This is why we needed impeachment hearings. We can see this “deep state” for the patriotic professionals so many of them are. We can pierce through the propaganda and see the Washington that many of us who live there have always seen: countless quiet, principled public servants, usually genuinely seeking the public good. Yes, there are many, many cronies and lobbyists and swamp-dwellers as well. But they are outnumbered.
And to see how these people have had to endure a president this deranged, this indifferent to the truth, this craven toward the enemies of the United States because they can be assets for his domestic political purposes is to experience the appropriate amount of anger toward the damage he has done. It feels like a moment to me.
And it is right and just that it has been women who have faced down this belligerent, blustering tyrant. And not just women but immigrant women, whose commitment to this country and its ideals can often be more intense than those of the native born.
Hearing Hill’s still voice of calm in this storm moved me deeply, and not just because she comes from the country of my birth too, but because her immigrant, accented voice revealed an understanding of America in a way this president simply doesn’t understand. She knows what’s at stake. And she has done her part. It gives me hope, I guess. Hope that we can, in fact, expose and defeat this malignancy at the heart of our democracy.
If we see Trump as the poison he truly is, we have now also seen something else. We have seen the antidote.