Excerpt from Where Freedom Reigns
Sarah McGill looked straight into the camera lens and spoke with the same degree of poise, presence, and polish that was her trademark. And yet, to inveterate McGill watchers, on that night, in that broadcast, something was unmistakably different. She spoke with a conviction that was palpable, and there was something else, a certain sadness and sense of aloneness that reached out across time and space and touched the human spirit. "Whereas up until this act, we could pretend otherwise, we must now come face to face with the stark reality that we are no longer one nation with a shared sense of purpose and a common set of values. Instead, we have become a land of two unequal opposites, with each side seeing its cause as just; with each side refusing to come at least part way across the no man's land of rhetoric and emotion that now divides us, a gap that grows wider with each passing hour; and most tragic of all, with each side seeking to win, even if it means the country as a whole loses. But make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, regardless of who is the victor and who is the vanquished, it will be a Pyrrhic victory. There will be no winners, only losers. There will be no right, only degrees of wrong. And there will be no joy, only sadness."
The producer lowered his head into his hands. He was certain he was watching a rising star stop in mid-trajectory and self-destruct into broken bits of wreckage, streaking across the night sky. Sarah McGill could not see him, but even if she could, it wouldn't have mattered. The words that poured from her pouting lips at that moment came in a straight line from her heart, and nothing could stop them from coming.
"As Americans, we have always loved a winner. Among those of us for whom winning has only ever been a vicarious experience, we spend our lives seeking to be on the winning side, even if it is only an allegiance in our minds. This obsession with winning has its origins deep in our history. We are a nation that was carved out of a hostile and unforgiving wilderness by people who refused to bow before birthright; by people tired of the terror of tyranny; and more to the point, by people longing to be free. In those early years, as the roots of our society dug deeply into a once savage soil, the foundation of our love affair with winners was firmly laid. Our forefathers quickly learned that either you were strong and survived, or you weren't and didn't. But time and progress inexorably tamed the frontier, eliminating this harsh bipolarity of survival, making safe the experience of a hunter-gatherer society, whereby the hunters no longer had to kill to eat, and the gatherers no longer had to fear being eaten. As such, we have been lulled into a false sense of security. Our society now rests on a featherbed of mediocrity, where none are threatened, few are challenged, and all are the weaker for it."
Despite himself, the producer was being drawn into her words and into the passion that underscored them. He was not alone. At that moment, Sarah McGill was being watched by more people on the face of the earth than any single human being in history. And if there was any doubt in anyone's mind about the depth of the torment that America was experiencing, the anguish on McGill's face and the pain in her eyes gave immediate rest to the doubt. "We are now at a moment in our history, where two rapidly diverging, and equally strident champions have drawn a line in the sand, and we find ourselves desperately trying to decide who among the two will be the winner, and on which side of the line to make our stand. Both the Governor of the State of Idaho and the President of the United States of America have prevailed upon us to hear their call and join their calling. To either rise up in support of guns, or perhaps in what would be the most tragic irony of all, to take up arms against them. And so it is, that today we have taken that first fateful step out onto a playing field, where the time clock will be forever, and where no matter what the score, all will lose, save evil
"What remains to be seen now is whether others with calmer hearts and clearer minds will step in and put an end to this cursed game before the first man falls. Others who perhaps do not see themselves as winners or heroes, but upon whose shoulders now rests the burden of a nation's salvation. Men and women, as President Kennedy once said, 'to whom much has been given and from whom much is required.' We would be well-served to pray that these men and women will heed this clarion call before it is too late; before the last man standing is knocked down; before the final score is chiseled on the granite slab of history; and before the lights in the national stadium are extinguished forever." She paused and stared directly into the camera. "For GNBC, this is Sarah McGill, at what once was the people's house, in what once was, and perhaps will never be again, the United States of America. Good night, and God bless us all."