James Garner, Imperfect Role Model

I’ve had the theme from Maverick going through my head lately. Next to my mom and dad, James Garner was a role model for me. Kinda weird because, as Maverick, he played a gambler. The loader operator I worked with for Columbia Helicopters taught me not to gamble by taking every new guy’s first paycheck in motel crap games. Gambling is dumb, so of course, our state government runs it.


Garner filled the role of “scrounger” in the Korean War, where he won (odd word choice) two Purple Hearts, one of which was from a buttocks wound as he dove into a foxhole fleeing friendly fire from a U.S. fighter jet. His scrounger role stuck with him in two timeless movies; The Great Escape and The Americanization of Emily. Scrounger meant he had a sense for economy.


The Rockford Files probably had a more lasting influence because Garner played a private eye whose irreverent attitude was the key to helping ‘down on their luck’ crime victims find justice in spite of roadblocks thrown up by the perverted justice system. I might consider watching TV again if there was something like Rockford on there.


Garner, whose name was originally Bumgarner, was a Democrat, but I don’t hold that against him. I think there is plenty of misguided hate directed at people because of the label they carry. Labels get in the way of the solutions to the problems we are trying to solve. Calling names never fixed anything. In fact, calling names replaces solutions.


Words are labels, of course. We couldn’t communicate at all if labels didn’t allow us to define what we are trying to say. The problem arises when policies are never questioned because we end the conversation at the name calling with the idea we’ve done all we can do.


There doesn’t seem to be any label specifically for one who creates money out of thin air, unless it is the Federal Reserve Bank. It isn’t much fun to say, for instance, “you dirty inflationist.” Maybe that is a good thing. Maybe that will help us skip the labels and focus on the issue.


The international community is steadily moving away from The U.S. Dollar as the monetary standard in world trade. They see no end in sight to the increasing supply, and thus decreasing value of the dollar. They also see, what conservatives describe, as a weakening of the United States position as a world power. That power is being weakened by the use of empty threats through sanctions and bullying, and an arrogant attitude toward foreign peoples. While Russia and China make arraignments to trade without dollars, we focus on a downed airplane. Sad as it is, the downed plane is small potatoes compared to the end of the dollar as world reserve currency.


What once made the United States an exceptional country is now just a fond memory. And yet name calling is as far as we go in describing the failures our government has perpetrated on the rest of the world. Other countries used to look at us as an example of opportunity through individual freedom guaranteed by our government. Now we are looked at as meddlers and bullies abroad. And every intervention has produced mayhem and death (Iraq, Libya, Syria and Ukraine). At home, opportunity has been changed to opportunity to access other peoples’ wealth (disability benefits, eminent domain, bail-outs and subsidies).


All of these failures are a result of our government acting in areas where they should never be in the first place. The strength of the United States rests in its (former) role as protector of the rights of individuals to control the fruits of their labor as they see fit. It does not rest in military might spread too thinly over the entire globe while ignoring the people it is delegated to protect.


After hearing James Garner’s speech again in The Americanization of Emily, I wonder how in the world he was such an avid supporter of those California Democrats who are so ignorant of economic science that they are unknowingly destroying the U.S. economy that backs the world’s reserve currency. The irreverence portrayed in many of Garner’s roles should be an example to us all in our relationship with politicians.


Please find a way to view James Garner’s speech in his favorite movie, The Americanization of Emily.







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