Max Cleland Esquire Profile by Charles Bowden

2021-11-13 07:16:16 By : Mr. Jack Leung

Each product is carefully planned by Esquire editors. We may earn commissions from these links.

He has only one arm and no legs. He is a veteran and U.S. Senator. This is how he lives.

This article originally appeared in the August 1999 issue of Esquire magazine. You can find all published Esquire stories on Esquire Classic.

The day always starts with the left arm. The clock shows 5:30 or 6:00 AM. The plaque next to the bed always whispers the same thing: I got life, I can enjoy everything. That's it, the luminous numbers announce the time, the velvety darkness, and then, as the light turns on, the thread whispers on the plaque. Sit up the body-this is the hard part, because the words here failed-the left arm of the body grabbed the left arm of the waiting chair. Lean forward and begin to draw an arc in the air. Following the arc of the body, it balances on the left arm of the chair, then rotates and rotates a full 180 degrees, and falls into the seat of the chair. Of course, all these words are not enough, because although they describe the discrete steps that make up an action, they are like ballet words and can never capture dance. What really happens is that the body moves in a fluid motion, starting from the bed and then ending on the chair, with only a blur between the two points. No matter how often the eyes track this behavior, it cannot see what it knows must happen.

Now the workday has begun, and the first part of the day is always the hardest part. It's not a movement from bed to chair. No, it's not like that. The difficult part is motivation. The body can do this work, but first a fire must be lit in the soul. It takes three full hours—relentless, hard hours. Pray first, then exercise. Exercise the soul, the remaining muscles. This part cannot be despised by him, otherwise the darkness will take over, and then the reel will start to play in his mind. The terrible tape seems to have nothing to erase or edit or change. The tape quickly zooms in and out of the scene, the body feels dizzy, and the eyes are unbelievable. Focusing on a pin, a small metal grenade pin, the whole universe-yes, all-stopped to think about a simple question: is that pin straight or is that pin bent? For 31 years, since that day the body almost died, the universe has been thinking about this issue.

The work day starts because the left arm must have a reason, otherwise there is nothing. After three hours, if you pay attention, if the fire in the soul is ignited, the body will become something else, something rare: it becomes Max Clayland, a new-born Democrat of Georgia, the lonely four Feet tall, no legs, only one hand, a member of the US Senate.

So let the workday begin. This is a matter of life and death.

I stood on the edge of the bomb pit, which was my home for five days and five nights, stretched out six feet and two inches, excited. Khe Sanh's battle is over, I came out alive unscathed!

Meditation floods the morning. This is the medicine Max Cleland desires. The desk in his Senate office was littered with quotations from the Bible and other writings. "I need as much motivation as possible," Clayland explained. An old hymn is sung, saints of the Lord, how strong your foundation is, / is laid by your faith in His excellent work. One type of block insists if it is/it depends on me. Then there is Ulysses of Tennyson, some poems, some flavors of Jeremiah, Ephesians, and a bronze bell carving to bring it to the maximum. Max Cleland’s faith is not so much the enthusiasm and bright eyes of rebirth Christians as it is a firm prayer to avoid death. He is a mutilated person, and he insists that his wounds will never prevent him from becoming whole. Therefore, at least half an hour after waking up, Max Cleland will read the Bible and other inspiring literature. He prayed. He entered a continuum on the morning of reconstruction. Pray and read. Then there are the exercises and stretching techniques taught to him by David Prowse, the bodybuilder hidden in the Darth Vader costume from the early Star Wars movies. A sloping board has a strap to fix his stump. Cleland does sit-ups and uses weights-his good arm is 50 pounds, and the stump is 20 pounds. He used his stump and elbow to do two hundred push-ups. Then a series of actions were taken to maintain his joint mobility and correct the imbalance of strength between his left arm and right residual limb. He placed a series of mats on the floor of the living room, and then walked back and forth on his stump. He can run up to thirty-two laps now. This is difficult. "It's not like you picking up a foot-it's like walking through sand." Then he called his parents in the morning, who are now in their eighties.

After that, he took a bath and put on clothes. First, the shirt must be worn on the left arm and buttoned, then the right sleeve must be properly folded on the stump, and the front button must be buttoned. The tie is never untied, but hung on a loop so that it can simply slide over. When he was injured for the first time, a friend from Georgia visited him in the hospital. Max enthusiastically told his friend how he would return home to participate in politics. This bombing would not stop him. After the visit, the friend buttoned a doctor in the lobby and asked realistically what Max Cleland's life would be like. The doctor paused and said, do you really want to know? You see, if he gets up in the morning and puts on a shirt, he will be tired all day.

After exercise, phone calls, showers and dressings, vitamins are here. There is no food. Max Cleland doesn't cook, and his apartment is hardly at home. Everything inside is rented—furniture, plates, cutlery, everything. There is no TV in the apartment. After spending a day in the Senate, he couldn't bear to watch TV. "My apartment," he said, "is really a staging area."

Clayland can drive. But for work, a staff member went downstairs; Clayland got in the car, and during the 20-minute drive, he inhaled the New York Times. The driver drove the car into the garage and park next to Jesse Helms. Clayland met this man on the first day of the Senate. He disagreed on almost all issues and liked it very much. Bob Kerrey, another Vietnamese amputee from Nebraska, is Cleland's own brother and the person who prompted him to run for the Senate. Clayland rolled to the office and quickly browsed the Georgia news footage, holding two eggs and some water in his hand. In the severely injured community, life expectancy was self-evident in the mid-1950s. Clayland is fifty-six years old. He adopted a high-protein diet and lost 60 pounds in two years.

Now he is ready. He is a politician. When he rolled down the corridor and returned to the office, he saw a janitor and gave him a thumbs up-Clayland seemed to know the names of every guard and janitor . The police knew what he needed: "I feed on people-this gives me energy. The worst thing you can do to me is to put me in a corner and leave me alone. The air came out of the balloon. ."

Max Cleland is constantly searching for air.

"If you want to do this," he explained, "this is a virtual crusade. This is my ministry."

I have overcome myself and my fears. ... As Stephen Crane said in his great book on war "The Red Badge of Courage", "I went to face the great death and found that it was just a great death."

... I will go home in a month. ...

Oh, Captain Cleland. ... The battalion needs a better radio connection. ...

Together with two people, I put some antennas, a generator and some radios together and installed them on the helicopter. ... The helicopter took off.

He goes home every other weekend. Max Cleland is a small town boy, a high school athlete, and a kid who volunteered to participate in the Vietnam War because, he explained, "I don't want to miss the war of my generation." When he first finished college in the capital , And then internship for a congressman, he also encountered problems in Washington. But for Clayland, the key is to meet with Georgia Senator Richard Russell, who is the Speaker of the Speaker, a talented man who was trapped and disabled in some ways for defending the apartheid world. In the rotunda of the Russell Senate office building, there is now a Russell statue, and Clayland immediately pulled the visitor there. "A lot of my people are bound by Dick Russell," he explained.

As early as the summer of 1965, when Clayland was interning at Hill before joining the army, Russell called a meeting of young Southern Congress workers because opinion polls showed that he was out of touch with these voters. There is a photo of that day on Cleland's wall. When he came back to see Russell a few years later, he was still a child, but he had no legs or an arm. Clayland wanted to "show off" his recovery to prove that he could now move. Russell was an old man who died of emphysema, and the young captain watched the old senator for a minute and a half before crossing the floor of his office. Russell chatted with Clayland for a while, then called in his limousine and asked the driver to take the young soldier to see the scenery of Washington. Russell also gave him some advice: "Take work seriously, not yourself."

Now Clayland is working at Russell's old desk, which he brought from the government warehouse. He uses Russell's old phone number. This morning, Clayland thought of Dick Russell. Air warfare is raging over Kosovo: in the first 20 days, 2,000 sorties have been flown, and in the next two weeks, another 2,000 sorties will be sent to Serbian targets. Clayland is one of six Vietnam veterans in the Senate and one of two Vietnam veterans who have returned. So this morning, he got up at 4:00 in the morning and sat down to write. He has been working in the Senate for three years and may have spoken on the floor six times. When he spoke, it was all about things such as campaign finance reforms or balanced budget amendments, which Cleland called "problems." Kosovo is more than just a problem for Cleland-it is a war, in which decisions can cause people to die. He is not a pacifist; he is still the captain, a well-trained soldier in his heart. But he is not bluffing.

He would rather not talk about the war in the Balkans at all. He came here because since he was a child, he began to take risks and pursue goals. No matter what he thought, he, an only child, could walk out of the house and into the world. Because as a child with two legs and two arms, he decided to find his place in the world: hills. Somehow, the fact that he decided he shouldn't be alive will not interfere with these plans. Clayland is an ambitious person, a partisan, he doesn't need problems or careers; he needs voters and bills. He came to Washington for Georgia's affairs, not for a foreign policy symposium. He likes the taste of pork. He came to Washington because he wanted the right to make decisions about ordinary business in this country. Of course, why is a very interesting question. He could easily become a patient going in and out of the VA hospital, dying slowly, reaching for the bottle. Or he could live as if he was still the confident kid in high school, perfect layup with both hands.

This week, he sent Georgia State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond to the town to attend some Tony parties and provided him with $52 million in job retraining. Politics is Cleland's blood. He believes that his five years of military service and hospital hell from 1965 to 1970 have been lost for several years. By 1970 he had gotten himself elected to the Georgia State Senate. Then, under the leadership of President Carter, he managed Virginia. He is one of the largest vote winners in Georgia's history. He has only lost one game. When an opponent circulated a recording of him talking about sex with his girlfriend on the phone, this strategy backfired. Clayland achieved his history. The biggest vote ever.

He arrives at the office around 9:00 am, engages in political activities during the day, and raises funds for himself or others almost every night. He had no time in his life-in the three years in Washington, he had never even been to the Kennedy Center. He returned home around 10:00 in the evening and fell asleep.

At 4:00 in the morning, he woke up and looked at the line on the plaque. The line was taken from the prayer of an unknown civil war soldier and was found scribbled in the abandoned house, sitting up. The feat of getting in a wheelchair, and then he wrote with his left arm in the darkness before dawn, because he planned to speak on the Kosovo issue on the Senate floor today, and this time he must do it right.

I jumped to the ground. ... Then I saw the grenade. This is where the helicopter takes off. It must be mine, I think. The grenade fell off my network gear before. ... I bent down to pick up the grenade. A blind explosion threw me back.

When the bell rang, the senator had 15 minutes to come and vote. Max Cleland missed two votes in three years. He is rolling now, the assistant is pushing the chair; in order to keep up with him, you almost have to trot beside him. People glided past, and he knew them all—smiling, blinking, thumbs up, a few words. He is feeding, and for a one-handed person, he knows how to press meat. With your left arm around your back, he pulls you to his side, the short beat of your right arm hits your chest. Max Cleland is someone who must touch and feel.

The journey from his office on the fourth floor was like a military attack. The office itself has a wooden floor, so his chair can roll easily. Then the elevator goes down the lobby to the basement, quickly rolls to the subway (but there is only one subway line; the other is not suitable for wheelchair access), quickly rides to the Capitol, and then the elevator goes upstairs to the Senate House. Here, he can enter in two ways: one is the elevator installed for him when Mississippi Senator John Stennis was ill; the second is near the back wall and then down the central ramp, and the other is placed at Max Cleland superior. Regardless of the political differences between the members of the Senate, they will take care of each other, and Max Cleland has left his ramp to go to the hearing room and wheelchair-accessible toilet.

He has a staff member Deborah Jans (Deborah Jans), he will arrange the schedule in advance to ensure that he can get there. She was an ascetic monk, ran in and out of the men's room to make sure that the door on the stall was open instead of going in, looking for ramps and elevators everywhere, and measuring the doorway for the chair. She learned not to trust anyone and do everything by herself, because unless you sit in a chair, you will never give enough attention. If there is one thing that makes Max Cleland lose his humor and ready smile, it is his chair that hinders his life. These outbreaks were short-lived, less than a second, but they came, not from injuries, but from refusing to let them slow him down. So she left, she measured, she checked—a whirlwind pushed a kind of rolling thunder.

Clayland was born to refuse to succumb to his situation. Although his leg was amputated above the knee, making him about four feet tall, he taught himself to wear a prosthetic leg. He abandoned them in 1972 because they were too troublesome. He also learned to use an artificial arm, even though he did not have an elbow. He can swim, play basketball, and drive. He likes to dance in a wheelchair.

Now Clayland was wandering around again. He left the subway car, happily walked down the corridor, and rolled into the cloakroom of the Senate. He walked into the conference hall, voted, and then appeared again soon. There was a series of small tickets about the budget, so he jumped out of the wheelchair and sat on the wooden bench next to the conference hall and waited. He has Kosovo in his heart. A year ago, he participated in what he called "Days to Live" there. On April 8th, that day in 1968, he looked down at the grenade and was blinded by the explosion.

Over the years, Clayland tried to ignore this day, trying to let it slip away. In the late 1970s, when he ran VA, his assistant was a Vietnamese veterinarian with double amputations. He held a large gathering every year to commemorate his disability, because he was damn happy to be alive. So Clayland got a reminder from his assistant and started observing the days he was alive. A year ago, he saw the killing fields in Serbia, and he was enjoying the fun of being alive. This year he celebrated in Georgia, and now he is back in the capital because the government is sliding down the slope towards Kosovo’s ground forces. This reminded Clayland of all his memories.

Max Cleland lives in a lonely deep well, surrounded by a group of staff, voters and colleagues.

The reel, the grenade that the memory always plays in his mind-is the needle straight or curved? He was sitting next to the Senate Chamber, his face was explaining how he had to use the women’s toilet because of a wheelchair in the early days of the Senate, then the conversation turned to Kosovo and Vietnam, his verbs became tense instead of the past, and his voice became Trembling instead of hearty, he came back. There. That darkness.

He has always been an excellent freshman senator, a shut-up and listener, and a no-show beginner. But this week is an exception; he has to talk this week, he knows. This is why he sits alone in his apartment at 4:00 in the morning and writes his thoughts with a pen. He believes that the key is not to lose control of this matter. "We must ensure that the Serb nationalist movement in the Balkans will not trigger the 1999 war." Then he began to learn tactics, maneuvers, and his military training. But the real thing is self-evident: if this is out of control, you will put people in a body bag. You will get people like Max Cleland.

Now he returned to his chair to vote for another time, and then he went to a reception about Taiwan—meeting with my good friend Senator Thurmond—and then Clayland said a few mild words, Then he rolled away-no, wait, he reached out and grabbed an egg roll, then went out and flew back to the office. This time he was walking on a road outside, where he could see cherry blossoms and feel the sun. Newt Gingrich stepped forward. He was the fallen political enemy of his hometown. They immediately greeted and hugged with a smile. What the hell, there are only a few police officers from Peach State.

The explosion shoved my eyeballs back into my skull, temporarily blinded me, and fixed my cheek and jaw muscles to my cheekbones. ... When my eyes lit up, I looked at my right hand. It is gone. My elbow was broken and only one bone was torn apart.

Lash LaRue is good. Gene Autry is very good. But the best, the best, is the lone ranger. Max Cleland seeks a black and white world. This is very difficult to achieve because the scroll will get in your way. For five years, he tried to write a book to stop the noise in his head. From 1975 to 1980, he would sit there with pen and paper. Then he would ask the typist to type it again, and then he would type it again and again. again and again. The result: strong in the broken place, 162-page small scroll and clean, painful prose.

The title comes from Cleland's favorite book "Farewell to Weapons". Writing this book was helpful, but it was not enough; writing a book for Max did not achieve the results that Lash LaRue could achieve. Clayland does have a TV in Georgia, and he watches old westerns. He collects souvenirs from the show. Once, he met Clayton Moore, who played the lone ranger, and he almost burst into tears when he recalled that moment. This is the kind of thing he grew up with, and he has never really overcome it. Or want.

Max Cleland lives in a lonely deep well, surrounded by a group of staff, voters and colleagues. He struggled to surface through simple strategies, such as letting his assistant turn him around so that he could have a companion. Becoming a modern politician has a timetable, not a life. Becoming a triple amputee will consume more precious time. Washington is a city full of professional marriages, divorces, and telephone relationships. In this bastion of family values ​​chat, it is difficult to find an hour for children, wives, lovers or friends. So Cleland had a smile on his face, but his eyes were as longing as a neglected child.

He has his help. In 1975, he got in a car and drove 635 miles from his hometown of Lithonia, Georgia, to Washington, DC. When he arrived, he found God. It is not the God he meets in the church every Sunday, nor the God he prays for, but the God who keeps him alive and the God who needs the meaning of his life. Somewhere near Richmond, when rain hit the windshield, Clayland blurted out, "God forgive me! God save me!"

After that, he felt calm. He is not a theologian; he let it go. It fed him, he didn't question it. But you can see it. Late at night, the personal servant parked the limousine in a mansion. After a long day, Clayland came again, in the empty social activities of the capital. He was pushed to the open door, the light inside was soft and golden, and the woman in the fine dress was standing with a wine glass. Cleland's back is very broad, he was involved in the party of New Rome or New Babylon. A woman leaned forward, and Clayland gave a big hug, his face became electrified, and his voice was rich and southern, calm. You feel that he is safe with a silver bullet. When that grenade exploded part of his body, his arms and legs were replaced by things the rest of us didn't know. Now, this matter is rolling around the U.S. Senate, smiling, laughing, and helpful. And fester. Because Lash LaRue is good, Gene Autry is better, and Lone Ranger is the best. But nothing can really stop the scroll in Max Cleland's mind.

I looked down. My right leg and knee are missing. My left leg is a mass of wet flesh, mixed with green fatigue cloth. ... I seem to have fallen back into a dark tunnel again. ... I tried to yell at them, but only hissed. My hand touched my throat and I came back covered with blood. The shrapnel has cut open my trachea. I knew I was dying and fell to the ground. A soft darkness tried to occupy me. Do not! I don't want to die.

The problem is that he is not a legless person with only one arm. At first he was sitting on a chair with wheels. But after a while, the chair disappeared and the game started again, just to keep up. A series of words was interrupted by the left-hander, with bright and clear eyes-Clayland had not drunk alcohol since 1975. He is burly, sturdy, square-headed, takes up space, and is full of energy. Cut or stretch with the left hand. With a thumbs up gesture, his body writhed to say hello. Constant movement. An assistant approached with something to read, Clayland reached under a tree stump, opened his spectacle case, quickly put on his spectacles in an almost invisible motion, and glanced at the document. A letter must be signed, and then he uses his stump to remove the cap from the pen, sign, and then put the pen back where it was. This is hardly noticed under hurried words-Winston Churchill, you know, said that the next empire will come to mind; Dick Russell is most proud of passing the 1946 school lunch plan. At this moment, you forgot that he was a triple amputee, or you forgot the word "triple amputee". You look up at the wall of his office. There is a picture of Clinton visiting President Clinton at the White House. They are all sitting on the sofa. Clinton looks very big and Clinton looks like a plush doll. You are stunned. , Was absolutely stunned and found that he has only one arm and no legs, because when you are with him, you won't happen to this situation. That's not what he looks like.

Jesus Christ, this is obvious. He is sitting on the sofa in the office, like the photo in the White House, and he is showing how he can do some exercises and move in this way to get his muscles properly exercised. The clock on the wall was 2:30, and he was waiting for his moment on the floor, waiting to speak on Kosovo.

Everything is in sight. He can deceive you with his movements, quick conversation, warm handshake and laughter. The terrible injury disappeared, only the good old man Max, who went home as often as possible, swears to God, somehow went fishing. But the eyes-everything is in the eyes. They felt pain because they knew something he never wanted to know and might not be able to say.

He has recovered and played basketball, you know, but he hasn't forgotten. So he is always wavering.

He has recovered and played basketball, you know, but he hasn't forgotten. So he is always wavering. At a certain moment, he went back there again, thinking of Kosovo. The next moment, he described the beautiful tulip flower beds and blooming cherry trees in Washington to his mother who returned to Georgia on the phone.

Time passed, and I realized that the man was a girl. ... Do I have legs? I whispered. Her eyes are moist. No, she said softly. OMG! Both legs are gone! ... I have my right knee, I whispered excitedly. She shook her head sadly. I'm sure, I argued. I can move it a little bit. She put a cold hand on my forehead. It's just muscles, she whispered. Now try to sleep. ... They gave me 41 pints of blood. You can thank God, she added softly. It's a miracle that you are still alive. I closed my eyes and winced. No thanks, I think. ...

He accepted the facts he requested. He went to university during the Vietnam War and then left to join the army because he always moved towards action. He became an assistant to the American general and worked hard to be transported to the south. When he arrived in the country, he was an army captain with little combat experience, and he was sent to Xishan to fight. When Khe Sanh was over and they were sweeping the floor, he almost bought the farm.

For thirty-one years, he has always thought it was his fault. Before he jumped out of the helicopter, he checked the grenades to make sure the pins that activated them were bent and would not accidentally fall. A straight needle can kill you. The next thing he knew was that he was on the ground and saw the grenade under him. For thirty-one years, he heard the explosion and thought to himself, I had blown up myself with my grenade. He got the decorations, but nothing, because for Max Cleland, they would never cover up a person who blew himself up. Then, this spring, he told the story of his day in Khe Sanh on a TV show, and then a person called and said, hey, I was there, not your grenade, I saw it. Clayland checked the caller, and it seemed that the person was really there. This year, Max joins him in celebrating being alive in Georgia. Max Cleland lifted a huge weight. He did not do this to himself.

So now the tape can be changed a little bit, the one running in his head, now the question doesn’t have to be, is the pin straight? Still bent? But the rest still exists. Things that require motivation, it takes three hours every morning to bring him back to life before facing the world.

I replayed it over and over again like a videotape. Those memories are vivid and painful. I would run under the helicopter blades, watch the helicopter lift off, and then look down. Grenade. explode. ... Whose grenade is it? How did the needle come out?

We are rolling now. They said that Max Cleland is a U.S. Senator from Georgia. The amputee has the old Richard Russell seat and is related to Vietnam. The elevator opened and then closed, and he was now down and rolling towards the special subway in the Senate; he was rolling, on the road, the car stopped, the door opened, he went in, and the train drove away. Now he came out again, climbed the ramp and entered the Capitol itself. This is an exercise-only two votes have been lost in three years. There was the janitor, the one who always smiled and thought Cleland was an inspiration-he was pushing a trolley in the basement of the Capitol, he waved his hand, and Senator Cleland suddenly became Max, smiling like a big smile. With an electric smile, he gave this man a thumbs up, his voice with the purr of the Atta boy, and then he left, the smile disappeared, and the senator came back. The other elevator opened, he rolled in, and the woman operating the elevator smiled, and Clayland immediately joked. The door opened again, and he walked into the ornate front room of the Senate, where there were luminous walls, murals, and busts of outstanding Americans. He hasn't come to this moment for a long time. In October last year, as the situation in Kosovo was heating up, he wrote a private letter to President Clinton:

"Although this is certainly a more fundamental issue of national interest for the leader and his country, Kosovo is Milosevic’s Vietnam. You should not let it be yours... the American people will not. I have long supported an open conflict in the Balkans with no clear timetable, uncertain outcome, and no exit strategy. I cannot support such a policy either."

Thirty-one years ago, I was on the land of Vietnam. I don't want this generation to repeat the same mistakes.

For Cleland, this was not an easy letter. He likes the president-they are all Southern police officers who came up together. But he must write this letter, he decided.

Now that the gate of the Senate was opened, the blue carpet stretched out in front of him, and suddenly he disappeared and was swallowed by the inner hall. He rolled around the back arc of the room to his desk, and in a vague motion, he flipped easily from the wheelchair to his wooden chair with his left arm, and took a seat almost magically.

His day was interrupted by a war. He had lunch with friends in Georgia in the Senate Dining Room, and tonight he will have dinner with more people from his hometown. This is part of his favorite senator. Just like the other night, he likes to take Georgia State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond to a party. They gather there before the buffet to study the shrimp mountain and molded meat sauce, and how much the tenant’s son Thurmond allowed him Wishing his father could see him now, Clayland agreed and walked in with a smile. They both smiled solemnly at all the food, which was still so strange to a few children from rural Georgia. Cleland was happy for all this, spent a moment with another politician from Georgia, laughed, and became a senator.

But now the pen was thrown out, and the left arm began to write, scratch, and change. In his Senate office, his press secretary is groaning because Senator Max Cleland has rewritten a statement about Kosovo that has been sent to the media. Clayland sat in the almost empty room, writing and writing. A senator was present to explain a bill on the use of "chicken manure" as fuel for power generation. "We now produce nearly 8 billion chickens every year," the senator said. For a while, the affairs of the Senate were chicken shit.

Then his time ended. This was the half an hour that Clayland allocated to him. This was the first time he made a substantive statement on such a split issue during his freshman semester. There are about a dozen staff and moderators in the boring empty room. Several groups of visitors in the gallery are looking down at the fabulous Well of Power. Clayland's voice was surprisingly strong, with vowels between the lines, the basic equipment of any Georgian, and it came quickly, Dixie's voice moving at Yankee's speed.

The voice returned to Rome, the original Rome, and wanted to point out the catastrophe in 112 BC, when the Roman Senate declared war on Jugurda, a competitor for the throne of Numidia. War is a disaster, an endless quagmire. "North Africa is Roman Vietnam in many ways." Cleland is a history student, a vice of southern politicians, who are gnashing their teeth on the minutiae of what they call the war between the United States, and now he travels through Rome before heading to The first Balkan War of the twentieth century, it was a bit crazy, blossomed and became the First World War. "There is no easy answer," the voice provided. "The post-Cold War order is a chaos." Cleland remained stable while reading, commenting on options, and providing more than two thousand years of experience. "We have to make sure," he said, "the nationalism currently misled by Milosevic will not lead to the 1999 shootout." But, however, it came again: "Thirty-one years ago, I was on the land of Vietnam. Come on. I don’t want this generation to repeat the same mistakes."

We can help refugees, we can bomb, we can do anything except enter the ground war casually. Clayland was very firm, he knew very well when he spoke to an empty room that the tour group came in and out.

Then it was over, and it took him thirty minutes. He drove out of the car and repeated his trek back to his office. First, he stopped at the Senate TV studio to make some comments for the Georgia TV station. Then it reached the fourth floor. In the corridor, his staff was waiting for him and applauding. He seemed unsure of himself, as if he was hesitant to mention Vietnam. He accepted the congratulations of his employees, and then he entered a group of Georgians, independent insurance agents attending meetings here. The relief drowned his body. Suddenly he became Max again, the smiling politician, went back to where he liked to go, solved the problem, and then he asked someone where he came from, and then boom! Started talking about fishing in a lake near his hometown. Politics is retail. He worked one by one, and they followed him into his office, where everyone’s coke and cookies were there.

After the underwriters left his office, he was surprised to find that they were more concerned about automobile policy than foreign policy. He smiled and said: "They think the world is an insurance agency in a small town." Max Cleland seems to be a little envious of the senator before him today, who is fighting for chicken manure subsidies for poultry growers in his state.

But he can't just be another policeman. Soon there will be another high school shooting, this time in Conyers, Georgia, ten miles from Cleland's hometown. He will cast a decisive vote on the gun control bill. He will say: "Our high school is becoming a mini-Vietnam, and we can't do that." For the freshman senator from a state where gun control is a problem for you to be defeated. In all, this vote is very dangerous.

His days are not over yet. There will be dinner tonight. Maybe it's a fundraising event. He will return to his apartment alone around ten o'clock. He would take off his clothes, go to bed, and play an inspirational speech recorded by Norman Vincent Peale. Men who used to be six feet two inches would listen.

Because the hardest part of the day is motivation, fighting back the darkness, listening to God. Never give up. He will look at the plaque next to his bed: I have been given life, I can enjoy everything.

Then he would close his eyes. And hope that other tapes are not played, he was shot blind and blown into the dark tape.

God didn't make me only four feet tall.