You think I'm not afraid, too? Of course I'm afraid. But the point is, you cannot give in to that fear. If you give in to fear, you live in fear. Maybe forever.
And if we live in fear, he has already won.
Ten years ago, I had a dream that we would defeat Chuck Woolery before the end of the millennium. That may sound impossibly foolish and idealistic, especially to the younger readers of this column, but in those heady days we had not yet learned the full scope of his power.
Chuck Woolery might destroy one of us. He might destroy a thousand. But he cannot destroy an idea. He cannot destroy our dream of freedom. We must be courageous and devote ourselves to the movement. Don't think of yourself; think of the next generation. The ones who will inherit this earth when you and I are gone. The stand you take today will make a far greater world for the children and their children after them.
This, of course, begs the old argument, "Why would I want to bring children into a world with Chuck Woolery in it?" The answer is: to keep up the fight. To know the pride, if not the joy, of the fight against an ultimate evil. Teach them that when that immaculately coiffed, Dating Game-hosting magog is finally gone, the world will know that generations of courageous rebels are to thank for their freedom. Our names may be lost to the dustbin of history, but our spirit will inspire the human race for all time.
You see that trash-filled vacant lot over there, where a playground used to stand in the happier times, before the premiere of Love Connection? I dream that one day a great monument to our struggle will be built there, and schoolteachers whose grandparents are not yet born will stand by it and tell their students heroic tales of our courage and sacrifice. And maybe one such student will be so inspired by the tales that he or she will grow up to fight the Chuck Woolerys of the future. Or, better yet, stop them before they rise to power.
It can be, my friends. Of that I have no doubt. But we must believe it and stand ever-vigilant. And, most of all, we must conquer our fear, no matter how large it may loom in our souls. If he defeats us today, he must know that we will be back to fight him again in two minutes, two seconds.
When I was seven years old, a bully accosted me on my way to school and demanded my lunch money. I stood tall and told him no. I lost track of how many times he punched and kicked me that day, but I still remember how hard. Halfway through the ordeal, I realized that it wasn't the bully I was afraid of. No, it was me. I was afraid I would give in and hand over my money like a frightened kitten. Realizing that, I held on. And no matter how many times he pounded my face and body, I would not give in and hand him my 50 cents. Finally, he reached into my pocket and took it himself. By then, I was too weak to resist. But as I lay there, drifting in and out of consciousness, I felt a strong sense of pride. He may have taken that 50 cents, but I didn't give it to him.
That's how it must be with Woolery.
Even as I write, I know that He Who Hosted Scrabble In The Mid-'80s will read this. He has eyes and hands everywhere. And I, for one, do not mind. I want him to know the fight he is in for. I want him to know that there are some who will never bow down before him. You hear that, O ruggedly handsome, lantern-jawed minion of Satan? Come and get me! Kill me! The dream will continue, for as long as it must. I don't expect you to understand, Chuck Woolery—you would have to be human to feel the passion for liberty that we do.
As long as I tread this Earth, I pledge to tirelessly strive for a world in which all citizens have the courage to walk up to Chuck Woolery, look him in the eye and say, "Chuck Woolery, I am not afraid of you."