Waging Battle to Uphold The ‘Transitory’ Narrative
“Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” So, the Bible tells us, sneered gigantic Goliath at the slight shepherd who appeared to be brandishing his staff as a weapon. As we know, the hubris was the giant’s fatal flaw. He never saw the perfectly aimed rock coming. Such is the beauty of the original story of the underdog. History abounds with similar tales of heroism, when a seemingly lesser opponent somehow prevails.
On the night of May 9, 1945, Lachhiman Gurung single-handedly held off an estimated 200 Japanese soldiers retreating to the village of Taungdaw in northwestern Burma. Five years earlier, the British Indian Army had rejected him for service. Gurung had grown up in such abject poverty that, due to malnutrition, he stood a scant 4’11” tall. Sheer determination landed him a place as a rifleman in the 4th Battalion, 8th Gurkha Rifles. Surrounded by his dead fellow soldiers and friends, his right hand no more than pulp and half-blinded with injuries, using his left hand to operate his standard-issue bolt-action rifle designed for right-handed soldiers, he fired at point blank range, reloaded and repeated this action for four hours. Though he lost his right hand and left eye, the hero slayed 31 soldiers and was awarded the Victory Cross, Britain’s highest award for valor.
A towering 6’4” tall, Abraham Lincoln was anything but lacking in stature. And yet, the odds that he could rise to be one of the most revered politicians in world history were nil to none. Born in 1809 to a poor family in Kentucky’s backwoods, his mother died when Lincoln was all of nine years old. He received only about one year of formal schooling. His early career was a disaster. After moving with his family first to Indiana and then Illinois, he became a partner at a general store in New Salem that failed, leaving the young man buried in debts. He took it upon himself to learn the law, as in no law school, and still managed to achieve success in the field. Lincoln made such a name for himself he entered politics and went on to serve four terms in the Illinois Legislature and one in the U.S. House of Representatives. His loss to Stephen Douglas for the U.S. Senate might have marked the end to his public service. But Republicans had noted his outstanding oratory skills in the debate that preceded his defeat which earned Lincoln the nomination at the 1860 National Convention. A split Democratic Party then handed him the victory that forever changed a nation.
Dubbed “dead men walking” headed into a round robin game against the Soviet Union in 1980, the world of sports may never again see a more inspiring tale. That’s saying something as sports is full of standard bearers in the underdog department. It’s nonetheless likely that we will never one-up the inspiring journey of the 1980 men’s USA Olympic hockey team. Though they played stellar hockey going into the matchup with the Soviets, the players were amateurs and college stars, veritable novices compared to their opponents who had played together for years and operated on the ice like a well-oiled machine. We know they went on to win the gold. We’ve never stopped believing in miracles.
After Wednesday’s stunning Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, most think it will be a miracle if inflation proves to be “transitory” as Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell keeps insisting, hoping he can stave off tightening in any form until his term ends in January. It’s no longer an open secret that the Fed is making policy to support the stock market. It’s plain open, cut the feigned secret part.