Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Senator Cory Booker

The following quotation is from the speech Senator Cory Booker gave at the Democratic National Convention.

“Look, I respect and value the ideals of individualism and self- reliance.  But rugged individualism didn’t defeat the British.  It didn’t get us to the moon.  It didn’t build our nation’s highways.  Rugged individualism didn’t map the human genome.  We did that together.

“And so this is the high call of patriotism.  Patriotism is love of country.  But you can’t love your country without loving your countrymen and your countrywomen.  Now, we don’t always have to agree, but we must be there for each other, we must empower each other, we must find the common ground, and we must build bridges across our differences to pursue the common good.

“Let me tell you, we cannot devolve into a nation where our highest aspirations are that we just tolerate each other.  We are not called to be a nation of tolerance.  We are called to be a nation of love.

“That’s why that last line in the Declaration of Independence says it so clearly.  It says that we must make this nation work, we must mutually pledge to each other our lives and our fortunes and our sacred honor.  Tolerance is the wrong way.  Tolerance says I’m just going to stomach your right to be different, that if you disappear from the face of the Earth, I’m no better or worse off.

“But love knows that every American has worth and value, that no matter what their background, no matter what their race or religion or sexual orientation, love, love recognizes that we need each other, that we as a nation are better together, that when we are divided we are weak, we decline, yet when we are united, we are strong, when we are indivisible, we are invincible.

“This is the understanding of love that’s embodied in one of my favorite sayings.  It’s an African saying, and it says, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.’

“This is the reason why I am so motivated in this election, because I believe this election is a referendum on who best embodies the leadership we need to go far together.

“Donald Trump is not that leader.  We’ve watched him try to get laughs at other people’s expense, try to incite fear at a time we need to inspire courage, try to rise in the polls by dragging our national conversation into the gutter.  We’ve watched him mock, cruelly mock a journalist’s disability.  We’ve watched him demean the service of my Senate colleague, saying, ‘He’s not a war hero.  He was a war hero because he was captured.’  Trump said, ‘I don’t like people who get captured.’  Would he say that to POWs from World War II?  Would he say that to POWs from Vietnam?  Would he say that to the brave men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, risking capture or worse?  That’s not the commander-in-chief.

“We’ve watched Donald Trump paint with a broad, divisive brush, saying that Mexican immigrants who came to build a better life in America are, in his words, ‘bringing crime, they’re bringing drugs.’  He called many of them rapists.  He said that an Indiana-born federal judge can’t be trusted to do his job because of his Mexican ancestry, a statement that his fellow Republicans have described as racist.

“We’ve watched Donald Trump, our children, our daughters, our nieces and grandkids have watched Donald Trump and heard him calling women degrading and demeaning names, ‘Dog.’ ‘Fat pig.’ ‘Disgusting.’ ‘Animal.’  It’s a twisted hypocrisy when he treats other women in a manner he would never, ever accept from another man speaking about his daughters or his wife.

In this great nation, where our founders put a fundamental principle forward of religious freedom, he says ban all Muslims, don’t let certain people into our America because of how they pray.

“Now, I take particular interest in the fact that Trump says he would run our country like he’s run his businesses.  Well, I’m from Jersey.

“And I’m from the great Garden State.  And we’ve seen how he leads in Atlantic City.  He got rich while his companies declared multiple bankruptcies.  Yet, without remorse, even as people got hurt and lost jobs by his failures, he bragged, and I quote, ‘The money I took out of there was incredible.’

“Yes, he took out a lot of cash, but he stiffed contractors, many of them small businesses, refusing to pay them for the work that they’d done.  You know, we in America have seen enough of a handful of people growing rich at the cost of a nation descending into crisis.

“America, at our best, we stand up to bullies, and we fight those who seek to demean and degrade other Americans.  In times of crisis, we don’t abandon our values; we double down on them.”


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