So after you graduated from college, as a Republican, did you think you’d be instrumental in the resignation of the President of the United States? Then a few years later, expose a parole scam in your own state so that, over a decade later, after a divorce, you’d appear in a movie about it, and this would end up making you a famous movie star? You know, acting with Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin and all that?
Did you think you’d fill-in for Democrat Al Gore as he left to become VP, and, in so doing, get elected Senator?
After you got tired of being a Senator, you decided to do some MORE acting – after getting married to a woman twenty-four years your junior, and have two more kids?
You fight cancer and win some valuable time. You end up being seen every week on Law & Order, one version or another, and doggone it, you get that itch to go back into politics.
Nah. This time you don’t get to run for President, but you support another guy who gives it his best shot. You do get to introduce him and show you are a man of integrity and humility until you spend your last days in your home state, surrounded by family and friends.
That, my friends, is why you never be as cool as the late Senator Fred Thompson, who bridged hi-profile politics and Hollywood blockbuster acting without coming off as a narcissistic two-faced jerk.
You can read about how he graduated from the former teachers-college Memphis State University [now University of Memphis] in 1964 to go to the other end of the state and graduate from the glorious, hi-falutin’ Vanderbilt University that was rumored to have silver toilet bowls.
In his long journey, one thing shone through Fred Thompson. It was something Abraham Lincoln had. It was something John Wayne had. It was a bit of salt in his style. He wasn’t hurried or frenetic. He spoke clearly and you knew he was speaking to you.
It is found in men who cannot abide with a lie. They don’t mind opinions, perspectives, differing points of view, but they simply cannot stomach a lie. And a big lie that brings injustice, they don’t stop until it is revealed.
Politics and Acting seem to go together as co-horts in bending truth into fiction for gain.
That is the dark side of the equation. The other is that both contain men and women who feel deeply, who are passionate about the truth and the human condition. And if you can stand up to the furnace heat caused by public opinion and party pressures and keep your integrity, you are indeed a cut above the rest.
Senator Fred Thompson was that cut. He was prime beef. He was an American who followed the truth wherever it led. He was a hound dog who exposed corruption, who served the people with some law and order and we loved him for it.
Thank you, Fred. We may never again see a Senator on film with as much integrity as you had, but I am proud you came from my hometown city and drove around in a red pickup truck.
For polling purposes, of course.