“For the first time in my life, I see the prospect of a third party somewhere in the future. I just don’t see how we get out of the hole we’re in if Republicans aren’t willing to raise taxes and Democrats not willing to cut spending.” –David Brooks of The New York Times on yesterday’s Meet the Press
This conversation exemplifies what’s wrong with Washington. It’s like two guys fighting in the ocean to see who drowns first. Both parties are responsible for the deficits. And both parties are responsible for the fiscal suicide…it’s because the two sides are trying to fight each other rather than actually doing something bipartisan or actually do anything. So bipartisanship has become a wedge issue, a way to make the other party look bad. So bipartisanship has been twisted into just another ring.” –The New York Times’ David Brooks on today’s Meet the Press
Empires die, America. And this is what happens to you. It’s not pretty. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you people: One second you’ll be running the entire known planet. You look away for what feels like nothing more than a decade, glance backwards and the only thing your country is left with is voicing a gecko. Laugh now, while you still can. Because I guarantee you in 20 years time, you’ll be on Chinese television selling them insurance dressed like a squirrel. — John Oliver
Real leaders consider how to minimize the coarser aspects of human nature to lead; Opportunists want to grow the coarser aspects of human nature to gain power.
George Washington was a real leader:
“One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection.”—George Washington’s farewell address
These days we elect a lot of opportunists.
Mike Huckabee on the sticky wicket of the internet (You can watch this HERE, click on Chapter 10 to get right to this excerpt):
“The internet has exacerbated [the problem of incivility in our political dialog]. It is a wonderful tool and I’m glad we have it but it’s still in its infancy and like an infant and to be blunt and graphic it’s pooping all over the place right now. I can say anything I want on the internet with no accountability at all. Zero… It’s cheap shots, shots from the trees. It’s sad. That has really to me diminished the civility of our culture because people will just say things that are cruel and vicious and why not? One of the things we have to teach young people: When most of us grew up our news came from sources that had editors… who asked: “Who’s your source? How many people can you verify this with? What is the veracity of this information?”… There is no editor on the internet. Every consumer is his or her own editor and so the end user has to also become the middle man and do the editing themselves and frankly most people are not doing the editing. That’s sad.”
If you didn’t see this today, skip the words… just watch the tape.
“He never was petty. He was never small and in the process of his doing, he made everyone he worked with bigger, both his adversaries as well as his allies. Don’t you find it remarkable that one of the most partisan liberal men in the last century serving in the Senate had so many of his foes embrace him? Because they know he made them bigger, he made them more graceful by the way he conducted himself.
“You know, he changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans in a literal sense. He changed also another aspect of it as I observed about him. He changed not only their physical circumstance, he changed how they looked at themselves and how they looked at one another. That’s remarkable… I just hope we remember how he treated other people, and how he made other people look at themselves and look at one another. That will be the truly fundamentally unifying legacy of Teddy Kennedy’s life if that happens, and it will for a while, at least in the Senate.”
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind…The peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it…If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: If wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error…We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavoring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still.”
Guess the speaker… again, it is someone that roughly half the population really dislikes.
Don’t divide the world into “them” and “us.” Avoid infatuation with or resentment of the press, the Congress, rivals, or opponents. Accept them as facts. They have their jobs and you have yours.
On the reopening of trading on Wall Street after 9/11:
“They lifted the New York Stock Exchange covered with ash-the monitors on the floor literally thick with ash, the trading floor badly damaged-and one week later, seven days, they were lined up ready to roar and ringing the bell. That day, for the first and only time in my life, I bought a stock-five thousand dollars worth, of J&J-and as I bought it on the Internet, I called my son over to watch me hit “Enter” so he would understand for the rest of his life that when America is in trouble you invest in it, you put what you’ve got right there.”
–Peggy Noonan in Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now