Editorial - The unliked and the unlikely

Dianne St. Jean

Recently we watched “The Darkest Hour”, the movie outlining the crucial role of Winston Churchill during the Second World War.  

Upon his being selected and officially invited by the King to accept the position of Prime Minister, Churchill comments that there will be those who will not receive the news well as he was a personality who was already very much not liked.

Most of his viewpoints and the way he approached things differed largely from the more popular mainstream politicians of the day. 

Not only was he not liked by key players in the British parliament, he was also considered to be one of the most unlikely to qualify for the role of Prime Minister.

Churchill was a cigar-sucking and all day alcohol-bibbing personality who was blunt, to the point at times of rudeness, and known to be strongly opinionated. There is a reason he was given the name The Bulldog.

Yet it appears that his unorthodox and stubborn mannerisms and strategies were the very thing that rescued the western world – a much different yet needed approach at the time than Chamberlain’s thoughts to have tea with Hitler and reason with the tyrant – one who, incidentally, never kept his word that he would not invade.  

So, while mainstream politicians in Britain sought to appease a despot by talking ‘peace’, Churchill was one of few whose eyes were open to how well that was going over in mainland Europe.

Throughout key points in history we see that it takes extraordinary people to take command of extraordinary circumstances. At times those circumstances require someone to do the unpopular thing in order to meet those challenges head on. More often than not the individuals who are fit to do so are themselves either unpopular or nonconformist – in other words, the unliked and the unlikely.

One might argue that Hitler himself fits that description – but that’s just my point. It takes an opponent of equal or greater caliber to confront and overcome the same type of personality. The difference is, who’s working for good, and who’s working for evil?

Today, some points of personalities in history are being re-written, and that includes Churchill’s. His downfalls in character are beginning to take the spotlight over what he had accomplished for Britain and indeed the free world at a key point in history.

Yes, of course he was a stubborn bigot. Yet ironically, those who oppose him in writing now don’t realize that they have the right to do so because they live in a free world, one that very nearly was taken away. What is made evident in the movie, and perhaps is not well known by many, is how so very close Hitler came to taking over the western world. Britain’s resistance and strategy through Churchill made the difference and turned the tides of history.

Conformists are those who go along with the majority and fit in with the mainstream. As a result they are popular and considered to be likely candidates.

At crucial points in history, however, sometimes it takes the unpopular, even despised, and those considered to be unqualified, to get the job done – the unliked and perhaps even the unlikely.