Many are cyber-bashing an 82-year old film icon right now who could probably care less. Many are debating whether his rambling and impromptu address to a chair was a blessing or a boon to the Republican side. Clint Eastwood was speaking from a unique perspective that we may not all understand, but have to respect. His is the generation that fought a war against socialist and fascist aggressions. But many of his critics wouldn't know anything about that.
Some think Eastwood’s performance was fodder for the opposition. There was certainly no polished pretense. He certainly didn’t have Hollywood Hair. But having just returned from a visit with my only surviving family member of that generation, who is two years older than Clint, I think his appearance at the RNC was refreshingly real. It resounded with wit and wisdom many in our day may never completely grasp. I will admit I haven’t taken the time to fully figure it out, but here’s what I did notice: Here in the midst of changing times, riding in on our love of all things Old West was an icon that reached to our roots and reason.
His address to an empty chair inferred that the seat of authority in our nation might as well be empty. The promises made by the one who-was-not-there-when-he-should-have-been were likewise empty. The assertion that we are the real ‘owner-operators’ of this country further drove home the point. We don’t need someone who isn’t doing their job in our country/company. We have too many chairs in America filled with people who aren’t doing their job, holding positions they really didn't earn, but they’re fooling people into thinking they are. And many hard-working Americans have lost jobs and the futures they worked hard for, through no fault of their own. The American work ethic is a fading ideal, along with the middle class that was our pride and joy. In its place is a Grendel-like bully that eats up our courage, takes whatever it wants and defies us to do something about it.
Eastwood's response to that arrogant defiance, "I can't do that to myself" was a typically characteristic remark to the insult. That is exactly what the empty-promising chair of the country has effectively been delivering to those whose reality is suffering because of things he evidently doesn’t know how to control, or is controlling very well. Either way, we are being affected, and Eastwood answered for us, “we can’t do that to ourselves.”
The Old West was a place where lawlessness was prevalent, and sometimes “men” had to take matters into their own hands to protect themselves and the things they loved. Clint Eastwood knew what to do. I think he still does.
So, let them twitter and tweet. One of the highest tributes anyone can give a creative individual is to debate what they have done. It stirs up attention. The words of many brilliant people are still being pondered. Mark Twain comes to mind; Huck Finn has been a controversial stroke of genius from its first publication to this day, 124 years later. But, the words of fools will die before they do.