This file is about Patriotism and Politics.
Also see Fourth of July (includes things about the Flag), Military, Peace, Political Humor, and 9-11.
- All the Constitution guarantees is the pursuit of happiness. You have to catch up with it yourself. (Benjamin Franklin)
- America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense...human rights invented America. (Jimmy Carter)
- America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room. Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair. (Arnold Joseph Toynbee)
- And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country. (John Kennedy)
- And when he fell in whirlwind, he went down as when a lordly cedar, green with boughs, goes down with a great shout upon the hills, and leaves a lonesome place against the sky. (Edward Markham about Abraham Lincoln. The quote was used in a eulogy to John Kennedy)
- Apathy is the first step to anarchy.
- The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. (Sir Winston Churchill)
- Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: "No man should have so much." The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: "All men should have as much." (Phelps Adams)
- A conservative is a politician who wants to keep what the liberals fought for a generation ago.
- Democracy, in one word...is...cooperation. (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
- Democracy means not "I am equal to you"...but, "You are equal to me." (James Russell Lowell)
- Do not waste your time on Social Questions. What is the matter with the poor is Poverty; what is the matter with the rich is Uselessness. (George Bernard Shaw)
- Everybody wants to eat at the government's table, but nobody wants to do the dishes. (Werner Finck)
- For the first time in a long while there was a palpable, shared sense that this was indeed our country, and that it was a country worth fighting for. (William John Bennett - reaction to Sept. 11)
- A free society is one where it is safe to be unpopular. (Adlai Stevenson)
- Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better. (Albert Camus)
- The greatness of a country may be measured by the number of people trying to get in versus the number of people trying to get out.
- I have no country to fight for; my country is the earth, and I am a citizen of the world. (Eugene V. Debs)
- I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be. (Thomas Jefferson)
- I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. (James A.Baldwin)
- The idea of choice is democracy at its best;
the choice itself may be the worst.
- If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
- If our country is worth dying for in time of war let us resolve that it is truly worth living for in time of peace. (Hamilton Fish)
- If you are to stand up for your government you must be able to stand up to your government. (Harold Caccia)
- If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. (Bishop Desmond Tutu)
- I'm tired of hearing it said that democracy doesn't work. Of course it doesn't work. We are supposed to work it. (Alexander Woollcott)
- Intellectually I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country. (Sinclair Lewis)
- It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government. (Thomas Paine)
- Let America realize that self-scrutiny is not treason. Self-examination is not disloyalty. (Richard Cardinal Cushing)
- Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of Liberty. (President John F. Kennedy)
- Making good people helpless does not make bad people harmless.
- A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle. (George William Curtis)
- The men the American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars;
the men they detest most violently are those who try to tell them the truth. (H. L. Mencken)
- 'My country right or wrong' is like saying 'My mother drunk or sober'. (G.K. Chesterton)
- The next time you feel like complaining, remember that your garbage disposal probably eats better than 30% of the people in the world. (Robert Orben)
- Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance. It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong. (James Bryce)
- Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right. (Carl Schurz)
- Our government...teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. (Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis)
- Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. (Adlai Stevenson)
- Patriotism is the veneration of real estate above principles. (George Jean Nathan)
- A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
- A person who is not a liberal at sixteen has no heart,
A person who is not a conservative at sixty has no head.
- A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation. (James Freeman Clarke)
- Punishment is now unfashionable...because it creates moral distinctions among men, which, to the democratic mind, are odious. We prefer a meaningless collective guilt to a meaningful individual responsibility. (Thomas Szasz)
- Responsibility is the price of freedom. (Elbert Hubbard)
- The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. (Hubert H. Humphrey)
- Strange that we all defend our wrongs with more vigor than we do our rights. (Kahlil Gibran)
- There are those, I know, who will reply that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right. It is. It is the American Dream. (Archibald MacLeish)
- They have a right to censure, that have a heart to help.
- They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
- Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. (John F. Kennedy)
- True patriotism hates injustice in its own land more than anywhere else.
- The ultimate test of leadership is not the polls you take, but the risks you take. (Gerald Ford)
- We have the Bill of Rights. What we need is a Bill of Responsibilities. (Bill Maher)
- We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world--or to make it the last.
- We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. (The Declaration of Independence)
- What the United States does best is to understand itself. What it does worst is understand others. (Carlos Fuentes)
- With ever civil liberty there has to be a corresponding civil obligation. (Ed Haines)
- You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves. (Abraham Lincoln)
- You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered. (Lyndon B. Johnson)
- You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything he's no longer in your power--he's free again. (Alexander Solzhenitsyn)
Theodore Roosevelt on Patriotism
Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does NOT mean to stand by the President or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country.
Franklin Roosevelt on Patriotism
To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
See Independent's Day, Last Call, The Red, (White,) and Blue and other poems by Del 'Abe' Jones.
Theodore Roosevelt on Immigrants
In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American . . . There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag . . . We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language . . . and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people. (1907)
- A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy but won't cross the street to vote in a national election. (Bill Vaughan)
- Don't vote, it only encourages them.
- The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid. (Art Spander)
- If we quit voting, will they all go away?
- The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all. (John F. Kennedy)
- Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
- To make democracy work, we must be a notion of participants, not simply observers. One who does not vote has no right to complain. (Louis L'Amour)
- The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men. (Lyndon B. Johnson)
The Power of One Vote
- In 1645, one vote gave Oliver Cromwell control of England.
- In 1649, one vote caused King Charles I of England to be executed. The vote was 67 against and 68 for his execution.
- In 1714, one vote placed King George I on the throne of England and restored the monarchy.
- In 1800, Thomas Jefferson was elected our third president by a one vote margin in the house of Representatives after a tie in the electoral college.
- In 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected our sixth president by a one vote margin in the house of Representatives after none of the four Presidential candidates received an electoral majority.
- In 1845, Texas was admitted to the union as a state by one vote -- that of Edward A. Hannigan from Indiana.
- In 1846, a one vote margin in the U.S. Senate approved President Polk's request for a Declaration of War against Mexico.
- In 1850, California was admitted to the union by a margin of one vote.
- In 1859, Oregon was admitted to the union by a margin of one vote.
- In 1867, The Alaska Purchase was ratified by just one vote.
- In 1868, one vote in the U.S. Senate saved President Andrew Johnson from impeachment.
- In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes was elected president by a one vote margin in the house of Representatives after none of the four Presidential candidates received an electoral majority.
- In 1889, by a one vote margin, Washington was admitted to statehood with the union.
- In 1890, by a one vote margin, Idaho became a state.
- In 1923, one vote gave Adolph Hitler leadership of the Nazi Party.
- In 1941, the Selective Service Act (the draft) was saved by a one vote margin -- just weeks before Pearl Harbor was attacked.
- In 1948, Lyndon Johnson became a U.S. Senator by a one vote margin.
- In 1962, the governors of Maine, Rhode Island, and North Dakota were all elected by a margin of one vote per precinct.
Songs about Elections
- Campaigner - Neil Young (1977)
- Day for Decision - Johnny Sea (1966)
- Election Day - Arcadia (1985)
- If Voting Changed Anything (They'd Make it Illegal) - Jello Biafra (1994)
- Please, Mr. President - Paula Webb (1975)
- To Washington - John Mellencamp (2003)
I am an American
I owe you no apologies nor will I accept
those apologies made for me by others.
If you dislike me -- you dislike me not for what I
am but for what you are not. By my own sweat,
I have created a lifestyle which I desire for all men.
To the world I have shared my wealth and given my
blood, not because of obligation -- but by my own
free will. I have fed the hungry of the world. Many
bit my hand; I used the other hand.
I defeated my enemies in battle, then pulled them
up from the ashes of defeat. Once strong, they
again attacked; I turned the other cheek. Though
I am strong, I have never used my strength to rule
others. But do not misjudge me, I will not allow the
fear of my own strength to become my weakness.
If you wish to rise, I will give you a helping hand.
But by the grace of God, and I'll first be damned,
If I'll let you drag me down so that we may be equal.
I wonder what she thought
As she stood there, strong and tall.
She couldn't turn away,
She was forced to watch it all.
Did she long to offer comfort
As her country bled?
With her arm forever frozen
High above her head.
She could not shield her eyes
She could not hide her face
She just stared across the water
Keeping Freedom's place.
The smell of smoke and terror
Somehow reduced her size
So small within the harbor
But still we recognized . . .
How dignified and beautiful
On a day so many died
I wonder what she thought,
And I know she must have cried.
ABC's of Patriotism
A - Always Ready, American, America the Beautiful, Army, Air Force, airborne, armistice, admiral, Annapolis, artillery, at ease, attention, armor, allegiance, amber waves of grain, apple pie, Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas
B - brave, best, beret, barracks, brigade, battle, bars, braid, bold, beautiful, bill of rights, baseball, Brooklyn Bridge, brotherhood, Boy Scouts
C - Coast Guard, courage, carrier, constitution, captain, corporal, colonel, cavalry, carrier, camouflage, commander, corps, can do, congress, Columbus, California, Colorado, Connecticut
D - dawn's early light, destroyer, duty, destroyer, defend, democracy, Delaware, District of Columbia, Dixie, due process
E - eagle, enlist, equality, ensign, enduring, ethical, elections, economy, enforce
F - freedom, Fourth of July, fireworks, flag, fighter, Fort Benning, free speech, Florida
G - ground zero, glory, grateful, guard, gallantly gleaming, general, gunnery, grand old flag, God Bless America, Green Berets, Georgia, Grand Canyon, government, Gettysburg, Girl Scouts, governor
H - helicopter, home, hero, helmet, honors, hum-v, happiness, homeland security, human rights, house of representatives
I - independence, infantry, indivisible, insignia, integrity, inspection, inauguration, inventive, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, inspirational
J - jet, justice, JAG, judicial system, jury
K - kit, Kilroy, khaki, k-rations, kindness, kinship, keeper of peace, Kansas, Kentucky
L - land of the free, let freedom ring, liberty, loyal(ty), lieutenant, laws, Louisiana
M - military, marines, Memorial Day, major, midshipman, march, MRE, mountains majesty, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Mount Rushmore, medal of honor
N - Navy, NCO, nautical, National Guard, Normandy, nations, noble, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota
O - operations, One Nation, Old Glory, orders, office, Olympics, opportunity, Ohio, Oklahoma
P - paratrooper, parachute, patriot, president, pentagon, private, protect, pride, Pledge of Allegiance, platoon, patrol, parade, Pearl Harbor, proud, prosperity, peace, Philadelphia, Picturesque, Politics, Pennsylvania, Pilgrims, Purple Heart
Q - Quantico, quality of life, quiet dignity
R - rebel, ranger, rank, reveille, rifle, reserves, rations, rights, republic, red, white & blue, respect, representation, Rhode Island
S - soldier, seals, sailor, ship, stars & stripes, sergeant, salute, SAC, squad, submarine, stripes, stars, salute, September 11, security, Seabees, special forces, Star Spangled Banner, sea to shining sea, spacious skies, supreme court, Senate, South Carolina, South Dakota, statue of Liberty
T - troops, terrorism, territory, tour, tradition, taps, tank, tranquility, Thanksgiving, thankful, Tennessee, Texas
U - uniform, United States, unity, Utah, union, U.S.A., united, under God, Uncle Sam
V - victory, veteran, valor, victorious, vigilant, Vermont, volunteers, voting
W - weapons, West Point, WAC, We the People, world leaders, White House, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wyoming, Wisconsin, wild west, World Trade Center
X - x-cellence, x-ceptional, eXtraordinary, X-pansive (characterized by richness, abundance, or magnificence)
Y - Yankee, Yankee Doodle
Z - zealous, zero tolerance, amaZing
Also use state names, presidents names, etc.
As the soot and dirt and ash rained down,
We became one color.
As we carried each other down the
stairs of the burning building,
We became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope,
We became one generation.
As the firefighters and police officers
fought their way into the inferno,
We became one gender.
As we fell to our knees
in prayer for strength,
We became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted
words of encouragement,
We spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long,
We became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss,
We became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss,
We became one soul.
As we retell with pride of
the sacrifice of heroes,
We become one people.
We are the Power of One.
We are United.
We are America.
(Josť Emilio Pacheco)
I do not love my country. Its abstract splendor
is beyond my grasp.
But (although it sounds bad) I would give my life
for ten places in it, for certain people,
seaports, pinewoods, fortresses,
a run-down city, gray, grotesque,
various figures from its history
(and three or four rivers).
How old is a patriot?
Just as old as you.
If in all things you will be
Brave and fair and true.
Who can be a patriot?
Any child can try
For Truth and Strength and Self-control
Make heroes by and by.
(Leonard Pitts, Jr., 12 Sep 2001)
What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.
Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.
Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.
Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together . . .
So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.
But you're about to learn.
What Does Columbine Say About Us?
Bob Lonsberry wrote a wonderful column shortly after the shooting in Columbine in 1999. He pointed out all the wonderful, heroic things that were done by ordinary people at the time of the tragedy. The point of the column was that if we blame ourselves and society for the shooting we also have to take the credit for the good things that were done.
(Steven and Rosemary Benet)
What do you say
Under the gravestone
"I was a giver,
I was a molder,
I was a builder,
With a strong shoulder."
Six feet and over
Large-boned and ruddy,
The eyes gray-hazel
But bright with study.
The big hands clever
With pen and fiddle
And ready, ever
For any riddle.
From buying empires
To planting 'taters,
To trick dumb-waiters.
"I liked the people,
The sweat and crowd of them,
Trusted them always
And spoke aloud of them.
"I liked all learning
And wished to share it
Abroad like pollen
For all who had merit.
"I liked fine houses
With Greek pilasters
And built them surely
My touch a master's.
"I liked queer gadgets
And secret shelves,
And helping nations
To rule themselves.
"Jealous of others?
Not always candid?
But huge of vision
"A wild-goose chaser?
Now and again,
You little men!
"Design my plow, sirs,
They use it still,
Or found my college
"And still go questing
New things and thinkers,
And keep us busy
As twenty tinkers.
"While always guarding
The people's freedom . . .
You need more hands, sir?
I didn't need 'em.
"They call you rascal?
They called me worse.
You'd do grand things, sir,
But lack the purse?
"I got no riches.
I died a debtor.
I died free-hearted
And that was better.
"For life was freakish
But life was fervent,
And I was always
Life's willing servant.
"Life's too weighty?
Too long a haul, sir?
I lived past eighty.
I liked it all, sir."
Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th - John Hancock and Charles Thompson. Most of the rest signed on August 2nd, but the last person signed five years later.