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

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Profile in Courage


Recently, former President Obama explained: “And so by the time the vote came up to pass the Affordable Care Act, these freshmen congressmen and women knew that they had to make a choice.  That they had a chance to insure millions and prevent untold worry and suffering and bankruptcy, and even death, but that this same vote would likely cost them their new seats, perhaps end their political careers.

“And these men and women did the right thing.  They did the hard thing.  Theirs was a profile in courage.  Because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance who didn't have it before.

“And most of them did lose their seats, but they were true to what President Kennedy defined in his book as a congressional profile in courage: the desire to maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than the desire to maintain office, a conscience, personal standard of ethics, integrity, morality that is stronger than the pressures of public disapproval or party disapproval, a faith that the right course would ultimately be vindicated, a faith that overcame fear of public reprisal.

“It was a personal sacrifice.  But I know, because I've spoken to many of them, that they thought and still think it was worth it.

“As everyone here now knows, this great debate is not settled but continues. And it is my fervent hope and the hope of millions that regardless of party, such courage is still possible, that today's members of Congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth even when it contradicts party positions.

“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn't take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential.  But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm, those who often have no access to the corridors of power.”

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