There’s a West Wing moment that always makes me smile; it’s a debate between the deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman and his former girlfriend, the activist Amy Gardener, played by the wonderful Mary Louise Parker.
Their relationship and friendship has always been tumultuous, but during the often stressful campaign to re-elect the President it comes to a head when she finds herself working for a rival Democrat politician, Howard Stackhouse, who’s running against Bartlett in the primaries.
Josh can’t understand why any serious Democrat would want to work in opposition to a sitting President who has done good things and still has things he wants to do, and in particular when every internal battle risks handing a victory, come the general election, to the Republicans.
Finally, after she has pushed hard to get a debate started on drug policy, she tells Josh that she will be recommending that Stackhouse endorse the President the following day.
“I love the President,” she tells Josh, “I’ve loved him longer than you’ve known who he was. And I’ll keep on poking him with a stick. It’s how I show my love.”
I like that moment because I understand exactly what she’s talking about.
That’s how I feel about Celtic; the best way to show the love is to continue to insist that our club strives to be the best it can be.
It comes down to the level of ambition our directors and our leaders have.
The appointment of Neil Lennon was about securing ten in a row; had we been reaching higher than that, towards being a regular Champions League team, ten in a row would have taken care of itself. Had we insisted on excellence throughout the structure, had we gone for the very best, we would be in a better place right now.
I’ve said already that the board’s gamble may well still pay off … but we’ve gone backwards and at the worst possible time.
I love Celtic, and because I do I won’t accept that. That’s why I poke them with a stick.
I’m not alone. Other blogs are doing what the bloggers are meant to do, and discussing and debating and dissecting the results and performances and the reasons for them.
What else are we meant to do? Pretend everything’s okay whilst the rot sets in?
If the team starts to improve, if results and performances start going our way, then most of the bloggers and the podcast guys will happily – joyfully – go back to doing what they were doing at the start of this year; praising the team and the manager to the heavens.
But as long as there is doubt we’re going to keep talking about the need for improvement.
We’re going to keep on poking the club with a stick.
There are some amongst our number who want to paint some of us in a negative light for doing this.
Some of the language thrown in our faces is deplorable … from our own side.
There are no “enemies within” or people out to do us down amongst the Celtic blogosphere or on social media, and anyone who suggests that there are, or that we’re in league somehow with the club’s external foes, needs to go and have a lie down in a dark room.
It is a shameful suggestion, and it has no basis in fact or reality.
A lot of our fans are concerned by what they are witnessing unfold.
They are perfectly correct to be.
Results and performances are not acceptable at the current time. Some of the players look disinterested. The manager is making a lot of mistakes, and some of them are significant ones and those at the very top of our house are largely invisible.
With so much at stake, it’s natural to worry.
This is a Family, and like any Family we have various strands of opinion and the occasional clown amongst the ranks.
But I’ll tell you this; what we don’t have amongst this Family are any individual’s hell bent on doing Celtic harm, and especially not now.
If people want to mount a defence of the club and those who run it they are welcome to do so, but taking shots at their fellow supporters will do nothing except promote the divisions they claim are being stoked from outside.
I understand that they feel strongly about their views … but no more or less than we do about ours.
What unites us – or should unite us – is the love of our club.
A little tolerance and respect for each other is surely not too much to ask?
Whatever personal grievances exist ought not to factor into this at all and I am dismayed to note that there’s a lot of that going on.
There’s should be no place for it, for ego or envy, for spite or settling of scores.
We have enough real enemies without inventing them, without turning on each other, and giving those on the outside more to cheer about.
For God’s sakes folks, let’s screw the nut a bit here and remember what we’re all trying to achieve, what we’re all hoping for as the end result.
I’m not suggesting that we all sing from the same songsheet … we have different views on where we are and what should happen next.
That’s natural, and that’s valid.
Nobody’s view is more important than another, nobody is going to be totally right or totally wrong … but I’d urge my fellow Celts to have a little more respect for those amongst our ranks who hold a different opinion.
We’re all on the same side and there are no enemies of Celtic within these walls.