little light reading to take my mind off the great
disruption, lent by Matt.
The Lusitania was the British ocean liner that
precipitated America's entry into WWI when sunk by a
German U-boat. One hundred twenty-three US citizens
were among the 1,198 killed.
If I can get even one new idea or image out of a
book I consider it time well spent. This one
delivered what I feel is an all too apt metaphor for
this political moment. Picture the scene...
It's a beautiful day just off the coast of Ireland,
sun shining and the sea like glass, a rare
circumstance in those parts. The fastest and most
luxurious passenger ship of its day is just hours
from its destination after a week at sea. Suddenly,
a torpedo is seen cutting a telltale wake through
the clear green water.
Dozens saw it coming for 30 helpless seconds as it
closed the distance. A lucky shot, it blew a
tremendous hole in the hull and triggered a larger,
second explosion within. She was traveling at 18
knots when struck. In such a crisis, the first step
is to reverse engines to stop the ship so lifeboats
can be lowered, but the controls were disabled so it
kept chugging forward, forcing water in even faster.
The Lusitania was burning, exploding, driving
herself under, yet passengers on deck cheered when
the captain, wishing to forestall panic, assured
them she would not sink.
Some took off their life jackets and waited.
The survivors were more proactive.