Government is a tool, like a hammer. You can use a hammer to build or you can use a hammer to destroy.
The major Western democracies are moving toward corporatism. Democracy has become a business plan, with a bottom line for every human activity, every dream, every decency, every hope.
The mistake our politicians so often make with these industry leaders is in thinking they are interested in, or respectful of, the power of government. All they want is to keep stealing. If you can offer them the government’s seal of approval on that, they’ll take it. But if you can’t, well, they’ll take that, too.
My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.
To spend one’s life being angry, and in the process doing nothing to change it, is to me ridiculous. I could be mad all day long, but if I’m not doing a damn thing, what difference does it make?
Anybody who thinks that “it doesn’t matter who’s president” has never been drafted and sent off to fight and die in a vicious, stupid war on the other side of the world — or been beaten and gassed by police for trespassing on public property — or been hounded by the IRS for purely political reasons — or locked up in the Cook County Jail with a broken nose and no phone access and twelve perverts wanting to stomp your ass in the shower. That is when it matters who is president or governor or police chief. That is when you will wish you had voted.
This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs: when he first appears he is a protector.
In all of us brought up in a Western democracy there is this built-in belief that freedom and liberty will strengthen, will survive pressures, and the belief seems to survive any evidence against it. The belief is probably in itself a danger.
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”
I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
The citizen who criticizes his country is paying it an implied tribute. . . . I do not think it is “selling America short” when we ask a great deal of her; on the contrary, it is those who ask nothing, those who see no fault, who are really selling America short.
We hear every damn day about how fragile our country is — on the brink of catastrophe, torn by polarizing hate — and how it’s a shame that we can’t work together to get things done, but the truth is we do. We work together to get things done every damn day!
Don’t feel entitled to anything you don’t sweat and struggle for.
We have to support our small heroes. . . . Who knows, perhaps that’s what the twenty-first century has in store for us. The dismantling of the big. . . . Big countries, big wars, big heroes, big mistakes. Perhaps it will be the century of the small.
It is difficult to get people to understand that the ideal [community] doesn’t exist, that personal equilibrium and the harmony they dream of come only after years and years of struggle, and even then only as flashes of grace and peace.
As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.
The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.