I really like Bartlesville, Oklahoma — a small town there just 35 miles north of Tulsa.
I was actually born in Salina, Kansas at a military hospital there, but I’ve always considered Bartlesville the anchor spot of my family even though I have lived practically everywhere else as an Air Force brat other than Bartlesville (except on long vacations).
The picture above is of my great-grandfather, William Franklin Clemons, who was one of the early ministers in Bartlesville and his son, my grandfather. If you have time and want to go back in time, my great grandfather’s journal from the year 1900 is a fascinating read.
This article ran today in the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise and caught me by surprise as I thought the writer needed a few more weeks to find anything worthy of reporting on some of my work.
I don’t have a copy but I hear from some other Bartlesville residents that there is a nice picture of Lawrence Wilkerson and me having lunch at Restaurant Kolumbia in D.C. (I highly recommend it — not only because of the food but because you can actually ‘hear’ the person you are having lunch with and not be overwhelmed by the clatter and chatter echo chambers that so many modern restaurants have become).
So, a shout out to those in Bartlesville who have been supportive of my crusades. It’s a conservative place, but people there have always been open to hearing my less predictable takes on political issues and foreign policy.
And of course…I need to say…hi Mom!
Also, I want to thank the three groups I met in the Bay area — one group of bloggers and blog fans at Berkeley, another in North Beach, and then the members of the San Francisco Committee on Foreign Relations last night. One loyal TWN reader, Kim, was kind enough to work her way into the dinner and pay the rather steep price for the meal. It was a pleasure to meet all of you.
To be completely self-critical, I found my blogger conversations more focused, gritty, and really fascinating communal learning exercises.
I’m usually on fire in my talks and fairly focused — but I think I was too broad and unfocused until questions before the hyper-distinguished crowd (federal judges, academics, former ambassadors, vineyard owners, top SF city managers. . .a very informed and capable group of folks) I had dinner with. I think it still went well, but it just reminds me that this country’s population is very diverse, and people are in very different places when they approach the big questions of American power in the world, what to do with it, and what our limits and opportunities are.
In any case, a great two days in California. Thanks to all.
— Steve Clemons