مرکز آموزش زبان انگلیسی
مرکز آموزش زبان انگلیسی
(دارای 60 درس می باشد+فایل صوتی کم حجم)
Winston Churchill Braces: 'Britons To Their Task'
On Friday evening last I received from His Majesty the mission to form a new administration. It was the evident will of Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest possible basis and that it should include all parties. I have already completed the most important part of this task. A war cabinet has been formed of five members, representing, with the Labour, Opposition, and Liberals, the unity of the nation. It was necessary that this should be done in one single day on account of the extreme urgency and rigor of events. Other key positions were filled yesterday. I am submitting a further list to the king tonight.
I hope to complete the appointment of principal ministers during tomorrow. The appointment of other ministers usually takes a little longer. I trust when Parliament meets again this part of my task will be completed and that the administration will be complete in all respects. I considered it in the public interest to suggest to the Speaker that the House should be summoned today. At the end of today's proceedings, the adjournment of the House will be proposed until May 21 with provision for earlier meeting if need be. Business for that will be notified to MPs at the earliest opportunity. I now invite the House by a resolution to record its approval of the steps taken and declare its confidence in the new government. The resolution: "That this House welcomes the formation of a government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion." To form an administration of this scale and complexity is a serious undertaking in itself. But we are in the preliminary phase of one of the greatest battles in history.
We are in action at many other points-in Norway and in Holland-and we have to be prepared in the Mediterranean, The air battle is continuing, and many preparations have to be made here at home. In this crisis I think I may be pardoned if I do not address the House at any length today, and I hope that any of my friends and colleagues or former colleagues who are affected by the political reconstruction will make all allowances for any lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I say to the House as I said to ministers who have joined this government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs- victory in spite of all terrors-victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival. Let that be realized. No survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge, the impulse of the ages, that mankind shall move forward toward his goal. I take up my task in buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. I feel entitled at this juncture, at this time, to claim the aid of all and to say, "Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength."
Lou Gehrig : 'Farewell Speech'
Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans. Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert; also the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barow; to have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow Miller Huggins; then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology-the best manager in baseball today-Joe McCarthy! Sure, I'm lucky.
When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice versa, sends you a gift, that's something! When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies, that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles against her own daughter, that's something. When you have a father and mother who work all their lives so that you can have an education and build your body, it's a blessing! When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed, that's the finest I know. So I close in saying that I might have had a tough break; but I have an awful lot to live for!
John F. Kennedy: 'Ich bin ein Berliner'
Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was Civis Romanus sum. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is Ich bin ein Berliner. There are many people in the world who really don't understand, or say they don't, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Let them come to Berlin. Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put up a wall to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.
I want to say, on behalf of my countrymen, who live many miles away on the other side of the Atlantic, who are far distant from you, that they take the greatest pride that they have been able to share with you, even from a distance, the story of the last eighteen years. I know of no town, no city, that has been besieged for eighteen years that still lives with the vitality and the force, and the hope and the determination of the city of West Berlin.
While the wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the Communist system, all the world can see, we take no satisfaction in it, for it is, as your mayor has said, an offense not only against history but an offense against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters, and dividing a people who wish to be joined together. What is true of this city is true of Germany-real, lasting peace in Europe can never be assured as long as one German out of four is denied the elementary right of free men, and that is to make a free choice. In eighteen years of peace and good faith, this generation of Germans has earned the right to be free, including the right to unite their families and their nation in lasting peace, with good will to all people. You live in a defended island of freedom, but your life is part of the main. So let me ask you, as I close, to lift your eyes beyond the dangers of today, to the hopes of tomorrow, beyond the freedom merely of this city of Berlin, or your country of Germany, to the advance of freedom everywhere, beyond the wall to the day of peace with justice, beyond yourselves and ourselves to all mankind. Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.
When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades. All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner.
Robert F. Kennedy: 'Speech after Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.'
I have bad news for you, for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and killed tonight. Kennedy: 'Speech after Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.' Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice for his fellow human beings, and he died because of that effort. In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black-considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible-you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization-black people amongst black, white people amongst white, filled with hatred toward one another. Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and to replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love. For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I can only say that I feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling.
I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times. My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He wrote, "In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God." What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice towards those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black. So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, that's true, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love-a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.
We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times. We've had difficult times in the past. We will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder. But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and to make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.
Ronald Reagan: 'Speech at Normandy'
We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied peoples joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history. We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but forty years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.
The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers - at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine-guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting only ninety could still bear arms. Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there. These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.
Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender's poem. You are men who in your lives fought for life...and left the vivid air signed with your honor'... Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith, and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge - and pray God we have not lost it - that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt. You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.
Bill Clinton: 'Second Inaugural Address' (1)
My fellow citizens: At this last presidential inauguration of the 20th century, let us lift our eyes toward the challenges that await us in the next century. It is our great good fortune that time and chance have put us not only at the edge of a new century, in a new millennium, but on the edge of a bright new prospect in human affairs-a moment that will define our course, and our character, for decades to come. We must keep our old democracy forever young. Guided by the ancient vision of a promised land, let us set our sights upon a land of new promise.
The promise of America was born in the 18th century out of the bold conviction that we are all created equal. It was extended and preserved in the 19th century, when our nation spread across the continent, saved the union, and abolished the awful scourge of slavery. Then, in turmoil and triumph, that promise exploded onto the world stage to make this the American Century. And what a century it has been. America became the world's mightiest industrial power; saved the world from tyranny in two world wars and a long cold war; and time and again, reached out across the globe to millions who, like us, longed for the blessings of liberty. Along the way, Americans produced a great middle class and security in old age; built unrivaled centers of learning and opened public schools to all; split the atom and explored the heavens; invented the computer and the microchip; and deepened the wellspring of justice by making a revolution in civil rights for African Americans and all minorities, and extending the circle of citizenship, opportunity and dignity to women. Now, for the third time, a new century is upon us, and another time to choose.
We began the 19th century with a choice, to spread our nation from coast to coast. We began the 20th century with a choice, to harness the Industrial Revolution to our values of free enterprise, conservation, and human decency. Those choices made all the difference. At the dawn of the 21st century a free people must now choose to shape the forces of the Information Age and the global society, to unleash the limitless potential of all our people, and, yes, to form a more perfect union. When last we gathered, our march to this new future seemed less certain than it does today. We vowed then to set a clear course to renew our nation. In these four years, we have been touched by tragedy, exhilarated by challenge, strengthened by achievement.
America stands alone as the world's indispensable nation. Once again, our economy is the strongest on Earth. Once again, we are building stronger families, thriving communities, better educational opportunities, a cleaner environment. Problems that once seemed destined to deepen now bend to our efforts: our streets are safer and record numbers of our fellow citizens have moved from welfare to work.
Bill Clinton: 'Second Inaugural Address' (2)
And once again, we have resolved for our time a great debate over the role of government. Today we can declare: Government is not the problem, and government is not the solution. We-the American people-we are the solution. Our founders understood that well and gave us a democracy strong enough to endure for centuries, flexible enough to face our common challenges and advance our common dreams in each new day. As times change, so government must change. We need a new government for a new century-humble enough not to try to solve our problems for us, but strong enough to give us the tools to solve our problems for ourselves; a government that is smaller, lives within its means, and does more with less. Yet where it can stand up for our values and interests in the world, and where it can give Americans the power to make a real difference in their everyday lives, government should do more, not less.
The preeminent mission of our new government is to give all Americans an opportunity-not a guarantee, but a real opportunity-to build better lives. Beyond that, my fellow citizens, the future is up to us. Our founders taught us that the preservation of our liberty and our union depends upon responsible citizenship. And we need a new sense of responsibility for a new century. There is work to do, work that government alone cannot do: teaching children to read; hiring people off welfare rolls; coming out from behind locked doors and shuttered windows to help reclaim our streets from drugs and gangs and crime; taking time out of our own lives to serve others. Each and every one of us, in our own way, must assume personal responsibility-not only for ourselves and our families, but for our neighbors and our nation. Our greatest responsibility is to embrace a new spirit of community for a new century. For any one of us to succeed, we must succeed as one America. The challenge of our past remains the challenge of our future-will we become one nation, one people, with one common destiny, or not? Will we all come together, or come apart? The divide of race has been America's constant curse. And each new wave of immigrants gives new targets to old prejudices. Prejudice and contempt, cloaked in the pretense of religious or political conviction are no different.
These forces have nearly destroyed our nation in the past. They plague us still. They fuel the fanaticism of terror. And they torment the lives of millions in fractured nations all around the world. These obsessions cripple both those who hate and, of course, those who are hated, robbing both of what they might become. We cannot, we will not, succumb to the dark impulses that lurk in the far regions of the soul everywhere. We shall overcome them. And we shall replace them with the generous spirit of a people who feel at home with one another. Our rich texture of racial, religious and political diversity will be a Godsend in the 21st century. Great rewards will come to those who can live together, learn together, work together, forge new ties that bind together.
Bill Clinton: 'Second Inaugural Address' (3)
As this new era approaches we can already see its broad outlines. Ten years ago, the Internet was the mystical province of physicists; today, it is a commonplace encyclopedia for millions of schoolchildren. Scientists now are decoding the blueprint of human life. Cures for our most feared illnesses seem close at hand. The world is no longer divided into two hostile camps. Instead, now we are building bonds with nations that once were our adversaries. Growing connections of commerce and culture give us a chance to lift the fortunes and spirits of people the world over. And for the very first time in all of history, more people on this planet live under democracy than dictatorship. My fellow Americans, as we look back at this remarkable century, we may ask, can we hope not just to follow, but even to surpass the achievements of the 20th century in America and to avoid the awful bloodshed that stained its legacy? To that question, every American here and every American in our land today must answer a resounding "Yes." This is the heart of our task. With a new vision of government, a new sense of responsibility, a new spirit of community, we will sustain America's journey. The promise we sought in a new land we will find again in a land of new promise. In this new land, education will be every citizen's most prized possession.
Our schools will have the highest standards in the world, igniting the spark of possibility in the eyes of every girl and every boy. And the doors of higher education will be open to all. The knowledge and power of the Information Age will be within reach not just of the few, but of every classroom, every library, every child. Parents and children will have time not only to work, but to read and play together. And the plans they make at their kitchen table will be those of a better home, a better job, the certain chance to go to college. Our streets will echo again with the laughter of our children, because no one will try to shoot them or sell them drugs anymore. Everyone who can work, will work, with today's permanent under class part of tomorrow's growing middle class. New miracles of medicine at last will reach not only those who can claim care now, but the children and hardworking families too long denied. We will stand mighty for peace and freedom, and maintain a strong defense against terror and destruction.
Our children will sleep free from the threat of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. Ports and airports, farms and factories will thrive with trade and innovation and ideas. And the world's greatest democracy will lead a whole world of democracies. Our land of new promise will be a nation that meets its obligations-a nation that balances its budget, but never loses the balance of its values. A nation where our grandparents have secure retirement and health care, and their grandchildren know we have made the reforms necessary to sustain those benefits for their time. A nation that fortifies the world's most productive economy even as it protects the great natural bounty of our water, air, and majestic land.
Bill Clinton: 'Second Inaugural Address' (4)
And in this land of new promise, we will have reformed our politics so that the voice of the people will always speak louder than the din of narrow interests-regaining the participation and deserving the trust of all Americans. Fellow citizens, let us build that America, a nation ever moving forward toward realizing the full potential of all its citizens. Prosperity and power-yes, they are important, and we must maintain them. But let us never forget: The greatest progress we have made, and the greatest progress we have yet to make, is in the human heart. In the end, all the world's wealth and a thousand armies are no match for the strength and decency of the human spirit. Thirty-four years ago, the man whose life we celebrate today spoke to us down there, at the other end of this Mall, in words that moved the conscience of a nation. Like a prophet of old, he told of his dream that one day America would rise up and treat all its citizens as equals before the law and in the heart.
Martin Luther King's dream was the American Dream. His quest is our quest: the ceaseless striving to live out our true creed. Our history has been built on such dreams and labors. And by our dreams and labors we will redeem the promise of America in the 21st century. To that effort I pledge all my strength and every power of my office. I ask the members of Congress here to join in that pledge. The American people returned to office a President of one party and a Congress of another. Surely, they did not do this to advance the politics of petty bickering and extreme partisanship they plainly deplore. No, they call on us instead to be repairers of the breach, and to move on with America's mission. America demands and deserves big things from us-and nothing big ever came from being small. Let us remember the timeless wisdom of Cardinal Bernardin, when facing the end of his own life.
He said: "It is wrong to waste the precious gift of time, on acrimony and division." Fellow citizens, we must not waste the precious gift of this time. For all of us are on that same journey of our lives, and our journey, too, will come to an end. But the journey of our America must go on. And so, my fellow Americans, we must be strong, for there is much to do. The demands of our time are great and they are different. Let us meet them with faith and courage, with patience and a grateful and happy heart. Let us shape the hope of this day into the noblest chapter in our history. Yes, let us build our bridge.
A bridge wide enough and strong enough for every American to cross over to a blessed land of new promise. May those generations whose faces we cannot yet see, whose names we may never know, say of us here that we led our beloved land into a new century with the American Dream alive for all her children; with the American promise of a more perfect union a reality for all her people; with America's bright flame of freedom spreading throughout all the world. From the height of this place and the summit of this century, let us go forth. May God strengthen our hands for the good work ahead-and always, always bless our America.
George W. Bush: 'Inaugural Address' (1)
President Clinton, distinguished guests and my fellow citizens, the peaceful transfer of authority is rare in history, yet common in our country. With a simple oath, we affirm old traditions and make new beginnings. As I begin, I thank President Clinton for his service to our nation. And I thank Vice President Gore for a contest conducted with spirit and ended with grace. I am honored and humbled to stand here, where so many of America's leaders have come before me, and so many will follow. We have a place, all of us, in a long story-a story we continue, but whose end we will not see. It is the story of a new world that became a friend and liberator of the old, a story of a slave-holding society that became a servant of freedom, the story of a power that went into the world to protect but not possess, to defend but not to conquer.
It is the American story-a story of flawed and fallible people, united across the generations by grand and enduring ideals. The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born. Americans are called to enact this promise in our lives and in our laws. And though our nation has sometimes halted, and sometimes delayed, we must follow no other course. Through much of the last century, America's faith in freedom and democracy was a rock in a raging sea. Now it is a seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations. Our democratic faith is more than the creed of our country, it is the inborn hope of our humanity, an ideal we carry but do not own, a trust we bear and pass along. And even after nearly 225 years, we have a long way yet to travel. While many of our citizens prosper, others doubt the promise, even the justice, of our own country.
The ambitions of some Americans are limited by failing schools and hidden prejudice and the circumstances of their birth. And sometimes our differences run so deep, it seems we share a continent, but not a country. We do not accept this, and we will not allow it. Our unity, our union, is the serious work of leaders and citizens in every generation. And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity. I know this is in our reach because we are guided by a power larger than ourselves who creates us equal in His image. And we are confident in principles that unite and lead us onward. America has never been united by blood or birth or soil. We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests and teach us what it means to be citizens. Every child must be taught these principles.
Every citizen must uphold them. And every immigrant, by embracing these ideals, makes our country more, not less, American. Today, we affirm a new commitment to live out our nation's promise through civility, courage, compassion and character. America, at its best, matches a commitment to principle with a concern for civility. A civil society demands from each of us good will and respect, fair dealing and forgiveness. Some seem to believe that our politics can afford to be petty because, in a time of peace, the stakes of our debates appear small.
George W. Bush: 'Inaugural Address' (2)
But the stakes for America are never small. If our country does not lead the cause of freedom, it will not be led. If we do not turn the hearts of children toward knowledge and character, we will lose their gifts and undermine their idealism. If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most. We must live up to the calling we share. Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to shared accomplishment. America, at its best, is also courageous. Our national courage has been clear in times of depression and war, when defending common dangers defined our common good. Now we must choose if the example of our fathers and mothers will inspire us or condemn us. We must show courage in a time of blessing by confronting problems instead of passing them on to future generations.
Together, we will reclaim America's schools, before ignorance and apathy claim more young lives. We will reform Social Security and Medicare, sparing our children from struggles we have the power to prevent. And we will reduce taxes, to recover the momentum of our economy and reward the effort and enterprise of working Americans. We will build our defenses beyond challenge, lest weakness invite challenge. We will confront weapons of mass destruction, so that a new century is spared new horrors. The enemies of liberty and our country should make no mistake: America remains engaged in the world by history and by choice, shaping a balance of power that favors freedom. We will defend our allies and our interests. We will show purpose without arrogance. We will meet aggression and bad faith with resolve and strength. And to all nations, we will speak for the values that gave our nation birth. America, at its best, is compassionate.
In the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent poverty is unworthy of our nation's promise. And whatever our views of its cause, we can agree that children at risk are not at fault. Abandonment and abuse are not acts of God, they are failures of love. And the proliferation of prisons, however necessary, is no substitute for hope and order in our souls. Where there is suffering, there is duty. Americans in need are not strangers, they are citizens, not problems, but priorities. And all of us are diminished when any are hopeless. Government has great responsibilities for public safety and public health, for civil rights and common schools.
Yet compassion is the work of a nation, not just a government. And some needs and hurts are so deep they will only respond to a mentor's touch or a pastor's prayer. Church and charity, synagogue and mosque lend our communities their humanity, and they will have an honored place in our plans and in our laws. Many in our country do not know the pain of poverty, but we can listen to those who do. And I can pledge our nation to a goal: When we see that wounded traveler on the road to Jericho, we will not pass to the other side.
George W. Bush: 'Inaugural Address' (3)
America, at its best, is a place where personal responsibility is valued and expected. Encouraging responsibility is not a search for scapegoats, it is a call to conscience. And though it requires sacrifice, it brings a deeper fulfillment. We find the fullness of life not only in options, but in commitments. And we find that children and community are the commitments that set us free. Our public interest depends on private character, on civic duty and family bonds and basic fairness, on uncounted, unhonored acts of decency which give direction to our freedom. Sometimes in life we are called to do great things. But as a saint of our times has said, every day we are called to do small things with great love. The most important tasks of a democracy are done by everyone. I will live and lead by these principles: to advance my convictions with civility, to pursue the public interest with courage, to speak for greater justice and compassion, to call for responsibility and try to live it as well. In all these ways, I will bring the values of our history to the care of our times. What you do is as important as anything government does.
I ask you to seek a common good beyond your comfort; to defend needed reforms against easy attacks; to serve your nation, beginning with your neighbor. I ask you to be citizens: citizens, not spectators; citizens, not subjects; responsible citizens, building communities of service and a nation of character. Americans are generous and strong and decent, not because we believe in ourselves, but because we hold beliefs beyond ourselves. When this spirit of citizenship is missing, no government program can replace it. When this spirit is present, no wrong can stand against it.
After the Declaration of Independence was signed, Virginia statesman John Page wrote to Thomas Jefferson: "We know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm?" Much time has passed since Jefferson arrived for his inauguration. The years and changes accumulate. But the themes of this day he would know: our nation's grand story of courage and its simple dream of dignity. We are not this story's author, who fills time and eternity with his purpose. Yet his purpose is achieved in our duty, and our duty is fulfilled in service to one another. Never tiring, never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose today, to make our country more just and generous, to affirm the dignity of our lives and every life. This work continues. This story goes on. And an angel still rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm. God bless you all, and God bless America.
Takako Doi: 'Politics, Future, and Hope'
The underpinnings of our lives is hope. If we have the smallest margin of hope, we can continue to exist. I believe what is sought from politics is to expand that hope even by the smallest margin. When we think of it, however, it seems politics has cast a shadow over people's hopes. I cannot ask help but ask myself if there has ever been so much urgency embodied in the words "future of hope." However, even knowing the absolute destructive capacity of nuclear weapons, and having experienced its atrocity, mankind still has not been able to walk the road to the destruction of nuclear arms. To the contrary, some countries see the retention of nuclear arms as the symbol of a national power. In the 21st century, are we going to gain richness with science and technology, or will humanity be subjugated to science and technology. We will be faced with the choice of one or the other. I believe the advances of telecommunication technology will present us with similar choices in the future. Fifty years after the war, the Japanese society is caught in a very perplexing stagnation. When I look back on the last 50 years of Japanese history, I am beset by the deepest soul searching and painful frustration, when I find that we Japanese have not been able to overcome our mistakes on our own volition. We still have not been able to reach a reconciliation with many of our Asian friends. Politicians should speak of the future, of ethics, and life. A discussion of hope should be based on fundamental principles. In particular, politicians must speak with children and young people and women if we are to retain hope for the future. Politicians must be accountable for their decisions, and they must also question the criteria in which their responsibility would be assessed. That is why our enlightened forebears and predecessors who have translated ideals into reality continue to be respected and be a source of encouragement. Emmanuel Kant wrote, "Truly lasting peace is not an empty ideal, but a challenge given to us." This challenge will be solved gradually and we will eventually reach our goal. We must all share a firm resolve to realize our goals. The critical stimulus for that will be the recognition of human rights and coexistence. However, there are many problems that face us. But when we think of how we can respond to such difficulties and challenges, I question where we can place our starting point. It is at this fundamental question that the future of hope must be questioned. That is the question I entertain for myself and which I believe has to be resolved.
Naomi Wolf : 'A Woman's Place' (1)
Even the best of revolutions can go awry when we internalize the attitudes we are fighting. The class of 1992 is graduating into a violent backlash against the advances women have made over the last 20 years. This backlash ranges from a Senator using "The Exorcist" against Anita Hill, to beer commercials with the "Swedish bikini team." Today I want to give you a backlash survival kit, a four-step manual to keep the dragons from taking up residence inside your own heads. My own commencement, at Yale, eight years ago, was the Graduation from Hell. The speaker was Dick Cavett, rumored to have been our president's "brother" in an all-male secret society. Mr. Cavett took the microphone and paled at the sight of hundreds of female about-to-be- Yale graduates. "When I was a graduate," I recall he said, "There were no women.
The women went to Vassar. At Vassar, they had nude photographs taken of the women in gym class to check their posture. One year the photos were stolen, and turned up for sale in New Haven's red-light district." His punch line? "The photos found no buyers." I'll never forget that moment. There we were, silent in our black gowns, our tassels, our brand new shoes. We dared not break the silence with hisses or boos, out of respect for our families, who'd come so far; and they kept still out of concern for us. Consciously or not, Mr. Cavett was using the beauty myth aspect of the backlash: when women come too close to masculine power, someone will draw critical attention to their bodies. We might be Elis, but we still wouldn't make pornography worth buying. That afternoon, several hundred men were confirmed in the power of a powerful institution. But many of the women felt the shame of the powerless: the choking on silence, the complicity, the helplessness. We were orphaned from the institution.
I want to give you the commencement talk that was denied to me. Message No. 1 in your survival kit: redefine "becoming a woman." Today you have "become women." But that sounds odd in ordinary usage. What is usually meant by "You're a real woman [sic] now? " You "become a woman" when you menstruate for the first time, or when you lose your virginity, or when you have a child. These biological definitions are very different from how we say boys become men. One "becomes a man" when he undertakes responsibility, or completes a quest. But you, too, in some ways more than your male friends graduating today, have moved into maturity through a solitary quest for the adult self.
Naomi Wolf : 'A Woman's Place' (2)
We lack archetypes for the questing young woman, her trials by fire; for how one "becomes a woman" through the chrysalis of education, the difficult passage from one book, one idea to the next. Let's refuse to have our scholarship and our gender pitted against each other. In our definition, the scholar learns womanhood and the woman learns scholarship; Plato and Djuna Barnes, mediated to their own enrichment through the eyes of the female body with its wisdoms and its gifts. I say that you have already shown courage: Many of you graduate today in spite of the post-traumatic syndrome of acquaintance rape, which one-fourth of female students undergo. Many of you were so weakened by anorexia and bulimia that it took every ounce of your will to get your work in.
You negotiated private lives through a mine field of new strains of VD and the ascending shadow of AIDS. Triumphant survivors, you have already "become women." Message No. 2 breaks the ultimate taboo for women. Ask for money in your lives. Expect it. Own it. Learn to use it. Little girls learn a debilitating fear of money -- that it's not feminine to insure we are fairly paid for honest work. Meanwhile, women make 68 cents for every male dollar and half of marriages end in divorce, after which women's income drops precipitously. Never choose a profession for material reasons. But whatever field your heart decides on, for god's sake get the most specialized training in it you can and hold out hard for just compensation, parental leave and child care. Resist your assignment to the class of highly competent, grossly underpaid women who run the show while others get the case -- and the credit.
Claim money not out of greed, but so you can tithe to women's political organizations, shelters and educational institutions. Sexist institutions won't yield power if we are just patient long enough. The only language the status quo understands is money, votes and public embarrassment. When you have equity, you have influence -- as sponsors, shareholders and alumnae. Use it to open opportunities to women who deserve the chances you've had. Your B.A. does not belong to you alone, just as the earth does not belong to its present tenants alone. Your education was lent to you by women of the past, and you will give some back to living women, and to your daughters seven generations from now. Message No. 3: Never cook for or sleep with anyone who routinely puts you down. Message No. 4: Become goddesses of disobedience. Virginia Woolf once wrote that we must slay the Angel in the House, the censor within. Young women tell me of injustices, from campus rape coverups to classroom sexism. But at the thought of confrontation, they freeze into niceness. We are told that the worst thing we can do is cause conflict, even in the service of doing right. Antigone is imprisoned. Joan of Arc burns at the stake. And someone might call us unfeminine!
Naomi Wolf : 'A Woman's Place' (3)
When I wrote a book that caused controversy, I saw how big a dragon was this paralysis by niceness. "The Beauty Myth" argues that newly rigid ideals of beauty are instruments of a backlash against feminism, designed to lower women's self-esteem for a political purpose. Many positive changes followed the debate. But all that would dwindle away when someone yelled at me -- as, for instance, cosmetic surgeons did on TV, when I raised questions about silicone implants. Oh, no, I'd quail, people are mad at me! Then I read something by the poet Audre Lorde. She'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. "I was going to die," she wrote, "sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you.... What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language." I began to ask each time: "What's the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?" Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, "disappeared" or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever. Next time, ask: What's the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it's personal. And the world won't end. And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don't miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.
Diana, Princess Of Wales: 'A Modern Tragedy And Its Consequences' (1)
Ladies and Gentlemen, I must begin by saying how warmly I welcome this conference on landmines convened by the Mines Advisory Group and the Landmines Survivors' Network. It is so welcome because the world is too little aware of the waste of life, limb and land which anti- personnel landmines are causing among some of the poorest people on earth. Indeed, until my journey to Angola early this year - on which I am going to speak this morning - I was largely unaware of it too. For the mine is a stealthy killer. Long after conflict is ended, its innocent victims die or are wounded singly, in countries of which we hear little. Their lonely fate is never reported. The world, with its many other preoccupations, remains largely unmoved by a death roll of something like 800 people every month - many of them women and children. Those who are not killed outright - and they number another 1,200 a month - suffer terrible injuries and are handicapped for life.
I was in Angola in January with the British Red Cross - a country where there are 15 million landmines in a population, Ladies and Gentlemen, of 10 million - with the desire of drawing world attention to this vital, but hitherto largely neglected issue. Some people chose to interpret my visit as a political statement. But it was not. I am not a political figure. As I said at the time, and I'd like to re-iterate now, my interests are humanitarian. That is why I felt drawn to this human tragedy. This is why I wanted to play down my part in working towards a world-wide ban on these weapons. During my days in Angola, I saw at first hand three aspects of this scourge. In the hospitals of Luanda, the capital, and Huambo, scene of bitter fighting not long ago, I visited some of the mine victims who had survived, and saw their injuries.
I am not going to describe them, because in my experience it turns too many people away from the subject. Suffice to say, that when you look at the mangled bodies, some of them children, caught by these mines, you marvel at their survival. What is so cruel about these injuries, is that they are mostly invariably suffered, where medical resources are scarce. I observed for myself some of the obstacles to improving medical care in most of these hospitals. Often there is a chronic shortage of medicine, of pain killers, even of anaesthetics.
Surgeons constantly engaged in amputating shattered limbs, never have all the facilities we would expect to see here. So the human pain that has to be borne is often beyond imagining. This emergency medical care, moreover, is only the first step back to a sort of life. For those whose living is the land, loss of an arm or leg, is an overwhelming handicap which lasts for life. I saw the fine work being done by the Red Cross and other agencies to replace lost limbs. But making prostheses is a costly as well as a complicated business. For example; a young child will need several different fittings as it grows older. Sometimes, the severity of the injury makes the fitting of an artificial limb impossible. There are never enough resources to replace all the limbs that are lost.
Diana, Princess Of Wales: 'A Modern Tragedy And Its Consequences' (2)
As the Red Cross have expressed it: "Each victim who survives, will incur lifetime expenses for surgery and prosthetic care totalling between 2,000 and 3,000." That is an intolerable load for a handicapped person in a poor country. That is something to which the world should urgently turn its conscience. In Angola, one in every 334 members of the population is an amputee! Angola has the highest rate of amputees in the world. How can countries which manufacture and trade in these weapons square their conscience with such human devastation? My third main experience was to see what has been done, slowly and perilously, to get these mines out of the earth.
In the Kuito and Huambo region I spent a morning with small team from Halo Trust, which is training Angolans to work on the pervasive minefields and supervising their work. I speak of "our team" because men of the Mines Advisory group - or, in this instance, the Halo Trust - who volunteer for this hazardous work are usually former members of our own Services. I take this opportunity to pay my tribute to the work these men do on our behalf - the perils they encounter are not just confined to mines. Two members of the Mines Advisory Group team in Cambodia, Chris Howes and Houn Horth, were kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge a year ago and their fate is uncertain. We can only pray for their safe return. Much ingenuity has gone into making some of these mines.
Many are designed to trap an unwary de-miner. Whenever such tricky mines appear, the de-miner will call in one of the supervising team, who will then take over. That is what keeps their lives perpetually at risk. It might be less hazardous, I reflected, after my visit to Angola, if some of the technical skills used in making mines had been applied to better methods of removing them. Many of these mines are relatively cheap - they can be bought for 5 apiece, or less. Tracing them, lifting them, and disposing of them, costs far more - sometimes as much as a hundred times more. Angola, is full of refugees returning after a long war. They present another aspect of this tragedy. The refugee turns towards home, often ignorant of conditions in his homeland.
He knows of mines, but homeward bound, eagerness to complete the journey gets the better of him. Or he finds mines on what was once his land, and attempts to clear them. There were many examples of that in Angola. These mines inflict most of their casualties on people who are trying to meet the elementary needs of life. They strike the wife, or the grandmother, gathering firewood for cooking - They ambush the child sent to collect water for the family I was impressed to see the work being done by many of the world's agencies on "Mine Awareness." If children can be taught at school, if adults can be helped to learn what to do, and what not to do in regions that have been mined, then lives can be saved and injuries reduced.
Diana, Princess Of Wales: 'A Modern Tragedy And Its Consequences' (2)
As the Red Cross have expressed it: "Each victim who survives, will incur lifetime expenses for surgery and prosthetic care totalling between 2,000 and 3,000." That is an intolerable load for a handicapped person in a poor country. That is something to which the world should urgently turn its conscience. In Angola, one in every 334 members of the population is an amputee! Angola has the highest rate of amputees in the world. How can countries which manufacture and trade in these weapons square their conscience with such human devastation? My third main experience was to see what has been done, slowly and perilously, to get these mines out of the earth. In the Kuito and Huambo region I spent a morning with small team from Halo Trust, which is training Angolans to work on the pervasive minefields and supervising their work.
I speak of "our team" because men of the Mines Advisory group - or, in this instance, the Halo Trust - who volunteer for this hazardous work are usually former members of our own Services. I take this opportunity to pay my tribute to the work these men do on our behalf - the perils they encounter are not just confined to mines. Two members of the Mines Advisory Group team in Cambodia, Chris Howes and Houn Horth, were kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge a year ago and their fate is uncertain. We can only pray for their safe return. Much ingenuity has gone into making some of these mines. Many are designed to trap an unwary de-miner. Whenever such tricky mines appear, the de-miner will call in one of the supervising team, who will then take over. That is what keeps their lives perpetually at risk.
It might be less hazardous, I reflected, after my visit to Angola, if some of the technical skills used in making mines had been applied to better methods of removing them. Many of these mines are relatively cheap - they can be bought for 5 apiece, or less. Tracing them, lifting them, and disposing of them, costs far more - sometimes as much as a hundred times more. Angola, is full of refugees returning after a long war. They present another aspect of this tragedy. The refugee turns towards home, often ignorant of conditions in his homeland. He knows of mines, but homeward bound, eagerness to complete the journey gets the better of him. Or he finds mines on what was once his land, and attempts to clear them. There were many examples of that in Angola.
These mines inflict most of their casualties on people who are trying to meet the elementary needs of life. They strike the wife, or the grandmother, gathering firewood for cooking - They ambush the child sent to collect water for the family I was impressed to see the work being done by many of the world's agencies on "Mine Awareness." If children can be taught at school, if adults can be helped to learn what to do, and what not to do in regions that have been mined, then lives can be saved and injuries reduced.
Margaret Thatcher: 'Against European Unity' (1)
Europe is not the -creation of the Treaty of Rome. Nor is the European idea the property of any group or institution. We British are as much heirs to the legacy of European culture as any other nation. Our links to the rest of Europe, the continent of Europe, have been the dominant factor in our history. For 300 years we were part of the Roman Empire and our maps still trace the straight lines of the roads the Romans built. Our ancestors - Celts, Saxons and Danes - came from the continent. Our nation was - in that favourite Community word - 'restructured' under Norman and Angevin rule in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. This year we celebrate the three-hundredth anniversary of the Glorious Revolution in which the British crown passed to Prince William of Orange and Queen Mary. Visit the great churches and cathedrals of Britain, read our literature and listen to our language: all bear witness to the cultural riches which we have drawn from Europe - and other Europeans from us.
We in Britain are rightly proud of the way in which, since Magna Carta in 1215, we have pioneered and developed representative institutions to stand as bastions of freedom. And proud too of the way in which for centuries Britain was a home for people from the rest of Europe who sought sanctuary from tyranny. But we know that without the European legacy of political ideas we could not have achieved as much as we did. From classical and medieval thought we have borrowed that concept of the rule of law which marks out a civilized society from barbarism. And on that idea of Christendom - for long synonymous with Europe - with its recognition of the unique and spiritual nature of the individual, we still base our belief in personal liberty and other human rights.
Too often the history of Europe is described as a series of interminable wars and quarrels. Yet from our perspective today surely what strikes us most is our common experience. For instance, the story of how Europeans explored and colonized and - yes, without apology - civilized much of the world is an extraordinary tale of talent, skill and courage. We British have in a special way contributed to Europe.
Over the centuries we have fought to prevent Europe from falling under the dominance of a single power. We have fought and we have died for her freedom. Only miles from here in Belgium lie the bodies of 120,000 British soldiers who died in the First World War. Had it not been for that willingness to fight and to die, Europe would have been united long before now - but not in liberty, not in justice. It was British support to resistance movements throughout the last war that helped to keep alive the flame of liberty in so many countries until the day of liberation.
Margaret Thatcher: 'Against European Unity' (2)
All these things alone are proof of our commitment to Europe's future. The European Community is one manifestation of that European identity. But it is not the only one. We must never forget that east of the Iron Curtain peoples who once enjoyed a full share of, European culture, freedom and identity have been cut off from their roots. We shall always look on Warsaw, Prague and Budapest as great European cities. Nor should we forget that European values have helped to make the United States of America into the valiant defender of freedom which she has become. This is no arid chronicle of obscure facts from the dust-filled libraries of history.
It is the record of nearly two thousand years of 'British involvement in Europe, cooperation with Europe and contribution to Europe, a contribution which today is as valid and as strong as ever. Yes, we have looked also to wider horizons - as have others - and thank goodness for that, because Europe never would have prospered and never will prosper as a narrow-minded, inward-looking club. The European Community belongs to all its members. It must reflect the traditions and aspirations of all its members. And let me be quite clear. Britain does not dream of some cosy, isolated existence on the fringes of the European Community. Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community.
That is not to say that our future lies only in Europe. But nor does that of France or Spain, or indeed any other member. The Community is not an end in itself. Nor is it an institutional device to be constantly modified according to the dictates of some abstract intellectual concept. Nor must it be ossified by endless regulation. The European Community is the practical means by which Europe can ensure the future prosperity and security of its people in a world in which there are many other powerful nations and groups of nations ... To try to suppress nationhood and concentrate power at the centre of a European conglomerate would be highly damaging and would jeopardize the objectives we seek to achieve. Europe will be stronger precisely because it has France as France, Spain as Spain, Britain as Britain, each with its own customs, traditions and identity. It would be folly to try to fit them into some sort of identikit European personality.
Margaret Thatcher: 'Against European Unity' (3)
Some of the founding fathers of the Community thought that the United States of America might be its model. But the whole history of America is quite different from Europe. People went there to get away from the intolerance and constraints of life in Europe. They sought liberty and opportunity; and their strong sense of purpose has, over two centuries, helped create a new unity and pride in being American - just as our pride lies in being British or Belgian or Dutch or German. I am the first to say that on many great issues the countries of Europe should try to speak with a single voice.
I want to see us work more closely on the things we can do better together than alone. Europe is stronger when we do so, whether it be in trade, in defence, or in our relations with the rest of the world. But working more closely together does not require power to be centralized in Brussels or decisions to be taken by an appointed bureaucracy. Indeed, it is ironic that just when those countries such as the Soviet Union, which have tried to run everything from the centre, are learning that success depends on dispersing power and decisions away from the centre, some in the Community seem to want to move in the opposite direction. We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the State in Britain only to see them reimposed at a European level, with a European super-State exercising a new dominance from Brussels.
Certainly we want to see Europe more united and with a greater sense of common purpose. But it must be in a way which preserves the different traditions, parliamentary powers and sense of national pride in one's own country; for these have been the source of Europe's vitality through the centuries.
Edward Kennedy ? 'Remembering Martin Luther King'
You and I have stood together many times, but no time has been more important than this. The campaign that stretches before us now is a struggle for the souls and the future of America. For we are more than a political coalition, more than a collection of programmes, more than the sum of our prospects and our strategy. Most of all, we are the trustees of a dream. Twenty years ago, in 1968, we lost two of the most powerful voices of that dream. But they left us their vision, their values, and the hopes they awakened.
In the countless millions of people whose hearts they touched, we remember them now to remind ourselves that the American journey is unfinished, that we stand for change in order to march again towards enduring ideals, that we do not have to settle for things as they are. Martin Luther King Jr told us something we need to hear anew. He said, 'We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now, in the unfolding life and history. There is such a thing as being too late.' And Dr King also said, 'We must work unceasingly to lift this Nation to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion.' And in that time there was another voice, only briefly heard, but whose words too have outlasted all the loss in years.
Robert Kennedy said, 'Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. And crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.' He was my brother. But he and Dr King were also in the deepest sense brothers to us all. These two, these valiant two, lived for the same dream and were gone only months apart. And if they were here with us, two decades later, I think I know what they would say: 'Now is the time. Some men see things as they are and say, why? We dream things that never were and say, why not? Now is the time.'
Abraham Lincoln: 'Gettysburg Address'
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate-we cannot consecrate-we cannot hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Vaclav Havel: 'Contamination of morality' (1)
My dear fellow citizens, for forty years you heard from my predecessors on this day different variations of the same theme; how our country flourished, how many million tons of steel we produced, how happy we all were, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspectives were unfolding in front of us. I assume you did not propose me for this office so that I, too, would lie to you. Our country is not flourishing. The enormous creative and spiritual potential of our nation is not being used sensibly. Entire branches of industry are producing goods which are of no interest to anyone, while we are lacking the things we need. A state which calls itself a workers' state humiliates and exploits workers.
Our obsolete economy is wasting the little energy we have available. A country that once could be proud of the educational level of its citizens spends so little on education that it ranks today as seventy-second in the world. We have polluted our soil, our rivers and forests, bequeathed to us by our ancestors, and we have today the most contaminated environment in Europe. Adult people in our country die earlier than in most other European countries... But all this is still not the main problem.
The worst thing is that we live in a contaminated moral environment. We fell morally ill because we became used to saying something different from what we thought. We learned not to believe in any thing, to ignore each other, to care only about ourselves. Concepts such as love, friendship, compassion, humility, or forgiveness lost their depth and dimensions, and for many of us they represented only psychological peculiarities, or they resembled gone-astray greetings from ancient times, a little ridiculous in the era of computers and spaceships. Only a few of us were able to cry out loud that the powers that be should not be all-powerful, and that special farms, which produce ecologically pure and top-quality food just for them, should send their produce to schools, children's homes, and hospitals if our agriculture was unable to offer them to all.
The previous regime - armed with its arrogant and intolerant ideology - reduced man to a force of production and nature to a tool of production. In this it attacked both their very substance and their mutual relationship. It reduced gifted and autonomous people, skillfully working in their own country, to nuts and bolts of some monstrously huge, noisy, and stinking machine, whose real meaning is not clear to anyone. It cannot do more than slowly but inexorably wear down itself and all its nuts and bolts. When I talk about contaminated moral atmosphere, I am not talking just about the gentlemen who eat organic vegetables and do not look out of the plane windows. I am talking about all of us. We had all become used to the totalitarian system and accepted it as an unchangeable fact and thus helped to perpetuate it. In other words, we are all - though naturally to differing extents - responsible for the operation of the totalitarian machinery; none of us is just its victim: we are all also its co-creators.
Vaclav Havel: 'Contamination of morality' (2)
Why do I say this? It would be very unreasonable to understand the sad legacy of the last forty years as something alien, which some distant relative bequeathed us. On the contrary, we have to accept this legacy as a sin we committed against ourselves. If we accept it as such, we will understand that it is up to us all, and up to us only, to do something about it. We cannot blame the previous rulers for everything, not only because it would be untrue but also because it could blunt the duty that each of us faces today, namely, the obligation to act independently, freely, reasonably, and quickly. Let us not be mistaken: the best government in the world, the best parliament and the best president, cannot achieve much on their own. And it would also be wrong to expect a general remedy from them only. Freedom and democracy include participation and therefore responsibility from us all.
we realize this, then all the horrors that the new Czechoslovak democracy inherited will cease to appear so terrible. If we realize this, hope will return to our hearts. In the effort to rectify matters of common concern, we have something to lean on. The recent period - and in particular, the last six weeks of our peaceful revolution - has shown the enormous human, moral, and spiritual potential and civic culture that slumbered in our society under the enforced mask of apathy. Whenever someone categorically claimed that we were this or that, I always objected that society is a very mysterious creature and that it is not wise to trust only the face it presents to you. I am happy that I was not mistaken.
Everywhere in the world people wonder where those meek, humiliated, skeptical, and seemingly cynical citizens of Czechoslovakia found the marvelous strength to shake from their shoulders in several weeks and in a decent and peaceful way the totalitarian yoke. And let us ask: from where did the young people who never knew another system take their desire for truth, their love of free thought,, their political ideas, their civic courage and civic prudence? How did it happen that their parents - the very generation that had been considered as lost - joined them? How is it possible that so many people immediately knew what to do and, none of them needed any advice or instruction? Masaryk based his politics on morality. Let us try in a new time and in a new way to restore this concept of politics.
Let us teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community. Let us teach ourselves and others that politics can be not only the art of the possible, especially if this means the art of speculation, calculation, intrigue, secret deals, and pragmatic maneuvering, but that it can even be the art of the impossible, namely, the art of improving ourselves and the world.
Vaclav Havel: 'Contamination of morality' (3)
There are free elections and an election campaign ahead of us. Let us not allow this struggle to dirty the so far clean face of our gentle revolution. Let us not allow the sympathies of the world which we have won so fast to be equally rapidly lost through our becoming entangled in the jungle of skirmishes for power. Let us not allow the desire to serve oneself to bloom once again under the fair mask of the desire to serve the common good. It is not really important now which party, club, or group will prevail in the elections.
The important thing is that the winners will be the best of us, in the moral, civic, political, and professional sense, regardless of their political affiliations. The future policies and prestige of our state will depend on the personalities we select and later elect to our representative bodies . . . In conclusion, I would like to say that I want to be a president who will speak less and work more. To be a president who will not only look out of the windows of his airplane but who, first and foremost, will always be present among his fellow citizens and listen to them well.
You may ask what kind of republic I dream of. Let me reply; I dream of a republic independent, free, and democratic, of a republic economically prosperous and yet socially just, in short, of a humane republic which serves the individual and which therefore holds the hope that the individual will serve it in turn. Of a republic of well - rounded people, because without such it is impossible to solve any of our problems, human, economic, ecological, social, or political. The most distinguished of my predecessors opened his first speech with a quotation from the great Czech educator Comenius. Allow me to round off my first speech with my own paraphrase of the same statement: People, your government has returned to you!
Arthur Scargill: ' Criticism of Tory Policies' (1)
Today our nation, after eight years under the Tories, is on the brink of utter chaos, facing both social and economic collapse. Our basic industries have been butchered. Our manufacturing base has been eroded with hundreds of businesses, large and small, gone to the wall while the nation has become increasingly dependent on imported goods. The human consequences of this industrial and economic devastation are terrible. Over eight million people struggle for survival on or below the poverty line and four and a half million people are unemployed.
Thousands of families are homeless: the number of homeless families in Britain has doubled since 1978, while the enforced repossession of homes is at an all-time record because so many can no longer manage to maintain mortgage payments. Even more people, meanwhile, try to cope as best they can in derelict, often dangerous dwellings - one and a quarter million homes are unfit to live in, while house-building investment throughout Britain has been slashed by sixty per cent since 1979. Sickness and ill health of all kinds are rampant, and they are made even more terrible by the crisis in the National Health Service and throughout the welfare system.
The Tories have been utterly ruthless in their butchery of health and welfare provisions. The NHS, once the pride of our nation, has been reduced to a critical condition through hospital closures, medical staff cutbacks, the lack and withdrawal of resources and vital equipment, and the privatization of key services. Approximately 700,000 people wait today for hospital treatment and an increasing number will not receive that treatment before it is too late. Thousands of people who are suffering from serious, often fatal diseases are being turned away through lack of hospital beds and staff.
Our social services are faced with ever-increasing family and community problems as Tory attacks take their toll, with children and old people among those most vulnerable. Our education system is also in chaos, as students and teachers struggle against yet more cutbacks, fewer resources - and for our youngsters it must seem often a pointless exercise, with jobs, training and access to higher education becoming more and more difficult to attain. Their teachers meanwhile, like many other trade unionists, have had their negotiating rights removed by the Government, and their commitment to teaching the nation's children treated with contempt. This has become a grim and desperate society - fuelled by unemployment and its social consequences, frustration, rage and despair are rampant all around us. More and more people, I believe, are coming to see themselves as under attack - and they are correct.
Arthur Scargill: ' Criticism of Tory Policies' (2)
We are indeed facing a deliberate political attack by Britain's ruling class. A war of attrition is being waged as capitalism, in a condition of acute crisis, lashes out with increasing ferocity to protect itself. The existence of this crisis is now clear for all to see. It has been exposed by the recent collapse of stock markets throughout the capitalist world, triggered off by the slide on Wall Street (which according to experts is the worst slump since 1929). This collapse will in my view lead inevitably to more hardship for the British people, with a massive increase in unemployment and reduced living standards as capitalism seeks once again to make working people pay for its pursuit of profit and power. The Tories have based their savage policies on an ideology called monetarism - it is this philosophy which has led to the virtual destruction of our manufacturing industries and in particular to the devastation of our coal, rail and steel industries.
The steel industry has lost over 150,000 jobs, and the coal and rail industries have lost approximately 100,000 each within a period of eight years. Parts of our nation such as South Wales have been reduced to a lunar landscape as the Tories have systematically butchered our manufacturing and industrial infrastructure... In seeking to win that absolute control which it must have for even limited survival, the State through the Tory Government has introduced twin measures to destroy or render ineffective all those who oppose it.
On the one hand, it has deliberately increased unemployment from just over one million to four and a half million in eight years creating as in the 1930s a situation where thirty to forty people pursue each job vacancy, driven by this emotional blackmail to increasing fear. At the same time it has introduced vicious legal measures designed to render the British trade-union movement completely ineffective. Indeed Margaret Thatcher has made it absolutely clear that she wants to wipe socialism off the agenda of British politics; to achieve this aim the Tories are determined also to wipe effective trade unionism off the industrial agenda. Since 1979, we have seen a whole range of anti-trade-union legislation - all of it designed to dismantle the gains achieved by trade unionists in more than a century of struggle.
Today, the extent of this legislation is such that Britain's trade-union movement must now be regarded as one of the most oppressed in the world! Tory legislation has removed trade-union immunity, made secondary action including secondary picketing and mass picketing illegal, and rendered all trade unions vulnerable to legal actions which could result in their bankruptcy. Britain's trade unions have found themselves no longer free to determine their own policies in relation to industrial solidarity action.
Arthur Scargill: ' Criticism of Tory Policies' (3)
Not satisfied however with the most vicious anti-union legislation in the world, the Tories are currently introducing new measures which are so draconian they have staggered and brought forth opposition even from some traditional enemies of the trade-union movement. The steps taken against British trade unionism can probably only be compared with those taken against our German comrades by Hitler in the 1930s. If this new Tory legislation is left unchallenged, then civil liberties and human rights in Britain are in danger of being wiped out... As life in Britain becomes harder, as frustrations and tensions rise, the State must bring into play all the elements of its machinery in order to suppress any attempts to throw off its power. The police are used increasingly in paramilitary fashion.
The judiciary use greater ruthlessness against any trade union that attempts to stand by its rules and constitution as the experience of the National Union of Mineworkers over the past four years proves. The courts have dealt just as savagely with the Lambeth and Liverpool councillors who refused to betray the commitments made to their communities. Meanwhile the media, now quite openly under the control of international capitalists such as Murdoch and Maxwell, become even more blatantly the mouthpiece of Tory philosophy.
The British capitalist press can make no claim to either objectivity or integrity, whether through the gutter journalism of the tabloids, or the more restrained style of the so-called 'quality' papers; they both play a key role in the daily dissemination of lies and misinformation to the public. This is but an outline of the situation which today faces the British Labour and trade- union movement. The terrible irony about it is that whilst throughout our movement there is general agreement on the ravages of the Tory attack - and agreement that it should be stopped - we have not united in an effective force to combat those ravages and challenge the system which has forced them on to our class.
On the contrary! Rather than uniting to fight our common enemy, our movement has been diverted time and time again by internal attacks: attacks aimed, disgracefully, at the very sections which have fought so bravely to carry out Labour Party and TUC policies by battling to save jobs, industries, communities and services. Margaret Thatcher has been absolutely clear in recognizing her enemy - it is socialism and she has openly declared her intention of wiping it off the British agenda.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: 'The Military-Industrial Complex' (1)
This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen.... We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations-three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts America is today the strongest, the most influential, and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this preeminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches, and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime-or, indeed, by the fighting men of World War II or Korea. Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry.
American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations. Now, this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence-economic, political, even spiritual-is felt in every city, every state house, every office of the federal government.
We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: 'The Military-Industrial Complex' (2)
We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. Akin to and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution research has become central. It also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for by, or at the direction of the federal government. Today the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists, in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we-you and I, and our government-must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield. Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences-not with arms but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent, I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war, as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years, I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: 'The Military-Industrial Complex' (3)
Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road. So, in this, my last "good night" to you as your president, I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and in peace. I trust that, in that service, you find some things worthy. As for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.
To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration: We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings; that those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; that the scourges of poverty, disease, and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth; and that in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love. Now, on Friday noon, I am to become a private citizen. I am proud to do so. I look forward to it. Thank you, and good night.
Prince Charles: ' Ugly Buildings'
At last people are beginning to see that it is possible, and important in human terms, to respect old buildings, street plans and traditional scales and at the same time not to feel guilty about a preference for facades, ornaments and soft materials. At last, after witnessing the wholesale destruction of Georgian and Victorian housing in most of our cities, people have begun to realize that it is possible to restore old buildings and, what is more, that there are architects willing to undertake such projects. For far too long, it seems to me, some planners and architects have consistently ignored the feelings and wishes of the mass of ordinary people in this country.
Perhaps, when you think about if, it is hardly surprising as architects tend to have been trained to design buildings from scratch - to tear down and rebuild ... A large number of us have developed a feeling that architects tend to design houses for the approval of fellow architects and critics, not for the tenants. To be concerned about the way people live, about the environment they inhabit and the kind of community that is created by that environment should surely be one of the prime requirements of a really good architect.
It has been most encouraging to see the development of community architecture as a natural reaction to the policy of decanting people to new towns and overspill estates where the extended family patterns of support were destroyed and the community life was lost. Now, moreover, we are seeing the gradual expansion of housing cooperatives, particularly in the inner-city areas of Liverpool, where the tenants are able to work with an architect of their own who listens to their comments and their ideas and tries to design the kind of environment they want, rather than the kind which tends to be imposed upon them without any degree of choice... What I believe is important about community architecture is that it has shown ordinary people that their views are worth having; that architects and planners do not necessarily have the monopoly of knowing best about taste, style and planning; that they need not be made to feel guilty or ignorant if their natural preference is for the more traditional designs - for a small garden, for courtyards, arches and porches - and that there is a growing number of architects prepared to listen and to offer imaginative ideas.
Robert Runcie: 'After the Falklands War' (1)
Our hope as Christians is not fundamentally in man's naked goodwill and rationality. We believe that he can overcome the deadly selfishness of class or sect or race by discovering himself as a child of the universal God of love. When a man realizes that he is a beloved child of the Creator of all, then he is ready to see his neighbours in the world as brothers and sisters. That is one reason why those who dare to interpret God's will must never claim him as an asset for one nation or group rather than another. War springs from the love and loyalty which should be offered to God being applied to some God-substitute, one of the most dangerous being nationalism.
This is a dangerous world where evil is at work nourishing the mindless brutality, which killed and maimed so many in this city last week. Sometimes, with the greatest reluctance, force is necessary to hold back the chaos which injustice and the irrational element in man threaten to make of the world. But having said that, all is not lost and there is hope. Even in the failure of war there are springs of hope. In that great war play by Shakespeare, Henry V says: There is some soul of goodness in things evil, would men observingly distill it out.' People are mourning on both sides of this conflict. In our prayers we shall quite rightly remember those who are bereaved in our own country and the relations of the young Argentinean soldiers who were killed. Common sorrow should do something to reunite those who were engaged in this struggle. A shared anguish can be a bridge of reconciliation.
Our neighbours are indeed like us. I have had an avalanche of letters and advice about this service. Some correspondents have asked 'why drag God in?' as if the intention was to wheel up God to endorse some particular policy or attitude rather than another. The purpose of prayer and of services like this is very different and there is hope for the world in the difference. In our prayers we come into the presence of the living God. We come with our very human emotions, pride in achievement and courage, grief at loss and waste.
We come as we are and not just mouthing opinions and thanksgiving which the fashion of the moment judges acceptable. As we pour into prayer our mourning, our pride, our shame and our convictions, which will inevitably differ from person to person, if we are really present and really reaching out to God and not just demanding his endorsement, then God is able to work upon us. He is able to deepen and enlarge our compassion and to purify our thanksgiving. The parent who comes mourning the loss of a son may find here consolation, but also a spirit which enlarges our compassion to include all those Argentinean parents who have lost sons.
Robert Runcie: 'After the Falklands War' (2)
Man without God finds it difficult to achieve this revolution inside himself. But talk of peace and reconciliation is just fanciful and theoretical unless we are prepared to undergo such a revolution. Many of the reports I have heard about the troops engaged in this war refer to moments when soldiers have been brought face to face with what is fundamental in life and have found new sources of strength and compassion even in the midst of conflict. Ironically, it has sometimes been those spectators who remained at home, whether supporters or opponents of the conflict, who continue to be most violent in their attitudes and untouched in their deepest selves. Man without God is less than man.
In meeting God, a man is shown his failures and his lack of integrity, but he is also given strength to turn more and more of his life and actions into love and compassion for other men like himself. It is necessary to the continuance of life on this planet that more and more people make this discovery. We have been the choice. Man possesses the power to obliterate himself, sacrificing the whole race on the altar of some God-substitute, Or he can choose life in partnership with God the Father of all.
I believe that there is evidence that more and more people are waking up to the realization that this crucial decision peers us in the face here and now. Cathedrals and churches are always places into which we bring human experiences - birth, marriage, death, our flickering communion with God, our fragile relationships with each other, so that they may be deepened and directed by the spirit of Christ. Today we bring our mixture of thanksgiving, sorrows and aspirations for a better ordering of this world. Pray God that he may purify, enlarge and redirect these in the ways of his kingdom of love and peace. Amen.
Pope John Paul II: 'The Defence of Poland' (1)
Our Lady of Jasna Gora is the teacher of true love for all. And this is particularly important for you, dear young people. In you, in fact, is decided that form of love which all of your life will have and, through you, human life on Polish soil: the matrimonial, family, social and national form - but also the priestly, religious and missionary one. Every life is determined and evaluated by the interior form of love. Tell me what you love, and I will tell you who you are. I watch! How beautiful it is that this word is found in the call of Jasna Gora. It possesses a profound evangelical ancestry: Christ says many times: 'Watch' (Matt. 26: 41). Perhaps also from the Gospel it passed into the tradition of scouring. In the call of Jasna Gora it is the essential element of the reply that we wish to give to the love by which we are surrounded in the sign of the Sacred Icon. The response to this love must be precisely the fact that I watch! What does it mean, 'I watch'? It means that I make an effort to be a person with a conscience. I do not stifle, this conscience and I do not deform it; I call good and evil by name, and I do not blur them; I develop in myself what is good, and I seek to correct what is evil, by overcoming it in myself. This is a fundamental problem which can never be minimized or put on a secondary level. No! It is everywhere and always a matter of the first importance. Its importance is all the greater in proportion to the increase of circumstances which seem to favour our tolerance of evil and the fact that we easily excuse ourselves from this, especially if adults do so. My dear friends! It is up to you to put up a firm barrier against immorality, a barrier - I say - to those social vices which I will not here call by name but which you yourselves are perfectly aware of. You must demand this of yourselves, even if others do not demand it of you. Historical experiences tell us how much the immorality of certain periods cost the whole nation. Today when we are fighting for the future form of our social life, remember that this form depends on what people will be like. Therefore: watch! Christ said to the apostles, during his prayer in Gethsemane: 'Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation' (Matt.26: 41) 'I watch' also means: I see another. I do not close in on myself, in a narrow search for my own interests, my own judgements. 'I watch' means: love of neighbour; it means: fundamental interhuman solidarity. Before the Mother of Jasna Gora I wish to give thanks for all the proofs of this solidarity which have been given by my compatriots, including Polish youth, in the difficult period of not many months ago. It would be difficult for me to enumerate here all the forms of this solicitude which surrounded those who were interned, imprisoned, dismissed from work, and also their families. You know this better than I. I received only sporadic news about
Pope John Paul II: 'The Defence of Poland' (2)
May this good thing, which appeared in so many places and so many ways, never cease on Polish soil. May there be a constant confirmation of that 'I watch' of the call of Jasna Gora, which is a response to the presence of the Mother of Christ in the great family of the Poles. 'I watch' also means: I feel responsible for this great common inheritance whose name is Poland. This name defines us all. This name obliges us all. This name costs us all. Perhaps at times we envy the French, the Germans or the Americans because their name is not tied to such a historical price and because they are so easily free: while our Polish freedom costs so much. My dear ones, I will not make a comparative analysis. I will only say that it is what costs that constitutes value. It is not, in fact, possible to be truly free without an honest and profound relationship with values. We do not want a Poland which costs us nothing. We watch, instead, beside all that makes up the authentic inheritance of the generations, seeking to enrich it.
A nation, then, is first of all rich in its people. Rich in man. Rich in youth. Rich in every individual who watches in the name of truth: it is truth, in fact, that gives form to love. My dear young friends! Before our common Mother and the Queen of our hearts, I desire finally to say to you that she knows your sufferings, your difficult youth, your sense of injustice and humiliation, the lack of prospects for the future that is so often felt, perhaps the temptations to flee to some other world. Even if I am not among you every day, as was the case for many years in the past, nevertheless I carry in my heart a great solicitude. A great, enormous solicitude.
A solicitude for you. Precisely because 'on you depends tomorrow'. I pray for you every day. It is good that we are here together at the hour of the call of Jasna Gora. In the midst of the trials of the present time, in the midst of the trial through which your generation is passing, this call of the millennium continues to be a programme. In it is contained a fundamental way out. Because the way out in whatever dimension - economic, social, political - must happen first in man. Man cannot remain with no way out. Mother of Jasna Gora, you who have been given to us by Providence for the defence of the Polish nation, accept this evening this call of the Polish youth together with the Polish Pope, and help us to persevere in hope! Amen.
Richard Nixon: 'Farewell Speech'
You are here to say goodbye to us, and we don't have a good word for it in English - the best is au revoir. We will see you again. Sure, we have done some things wrong in this Administration, and the top man always takes the responsibility, and I have never ducked it. But I want to say one thing: We can be proud of it - five and a half years. No man or no woman came into this Administration and left it with more of this world's goods than when he came in. No man or no woman ever profited at the public expense or the public till. That tells something about you.
Mistakes, yes. But for personal gain, never. You did what you believed in. Sometimes right, sometimes wrong. And I only wish that I were a wealthy man - at the present time, I have got to find a way to pay my taxes and if I were, I would like to recompense you for the sacrifices that all of you have make to serve in government. But you are getting something in government - and I want you to tell this to your children, and I hope the Nation's children will hear it, too - something in government service that is far more important than money. It is a cause bigger than yourself.
It is the cause of making this the greatest nation in the world, the leader of the world, because without our leadership, the world will know nothing but war, possibly starvation or worse, in the years ahead. With our leadership it will know peace, it will know plenty.... We think sometimes when things happen that don't go the right way; we think that when you don't pass the bar exam the first time - I happened to, but I was just lucky; I mean, my writing was so poor the bar examiner said, 'We have just got to let the guy through.' We think that when someone dear to us dies, we think that when we lose an election, we think that when we suffer a defeat that all is ended. Not true. It is only a beginning, always.
The young must know it; the old must know it. It must always sustain us, because the greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but the greatness comes and you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes, because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.
Tony Benn: 'The Importance of Democracy' (1)
Some people genuinely believe that we shall never get social justice from the British Government, but we shall get it from Jacques Delors; They believe that a good king is better than a bad Parliament. I have never taken that view. Others believe that the change is inevitable, and that the common currency will protect us from inflation and will provide a wage policy. They believe that it will control speculation and that Britain cannot survive alone. None of those arguments persuade me because the argument has never been about sovereignty.
I do not know what a sovereign is, apart from the one that used to be in gold and the Pope who is sovereign in the Vatican. We are talking about democracy. No nation - not even the great United States which could, for all I know, be destroyed by a nuclear weapon from a third-world country - has the power to impose its will on other countries. We are discussing whether the British people are to be allowed to elect those who make the laws under which they are governed. The argument is nothing to do with whether we should get more maternity leave from Madame Papandreou than from Madame Thatcher.
That is not the issue. I recognize that when the members of the three Front Benches agree, I am in a minority. My next job therefore is to explain to the people of Chesterfield what we have decided. I will say first, 'My dear constituents, in future you will be governed by people whom you do not elect and cannot remove. I am sorry about it. They may give you better creches and shorter working hours but you cannot remove them.' I know that it sounds negative but I have always thought it as positive to say that the important thing about democracy is that we can remove without bloodshed the people who govern us.
We can get rid of a Callaghan, a Wilson or even a Right Hon. Lady by internal processes. We can get rid of a Right Hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr Major). But that cannot be done in the structure that is proposed. Even if one likes the policies of the people in Europe one cannot get rid of them. Secondly, we say to my favourite friends, the Chartists and suffragettes, 'All your struggles to get control of the ballot box were a waste of time. We shall be run in future by a few white persons, as in 1832.' The instrument, I might add, is the Royal Prerogative of treaty making. For the first time since 1649 the Crown makes the laws - advised, I admit, by the Prime Minister.
We must ask what will happen when people realize what we have done. We have had a marvellous debate about Europe, but none of us has discussed our relationship with the people who sent us here. Hon. Members have expressed views on Albania and the Baltic states. I have been dazzled by the knowledge of the continent of which we are all part. NO one has spoken about how he or she got here and what we were sent here to do.
Tony Benn: 'The Importance of Democracy' (2)
If people lose the power to sack their Government one of several things happens. First, people may just slope off. Apathy could destroy democracy. When the turnout drops below 50 per cent, we are in danger... The second thing that people can do is to riot. Riot is an old-fashioned method for drawing the attention of the Government to what is wrong. It is difficult for an elected person to admit it, but the riot at Strangeways produced some prison reforms. Riot has historically played a much larger part in British politics than we are ever allowed to know. Thirdly, nationalism can arise. Instead of blaming the Treaty of Rome, people say, 'It is those Germans' or 'It is the French'. Nationalism is built out of frustration that people feel when they cannot get their way through the ballot box. With nationalism comes repression.
I hope that it is not pessimistic - in my view it is not - to say that democracy hangs by a thread in every country of the world. Unless we can offer people a peaceful route to the resolution of injustices through the ballot box they will not listen to a House that has blocked off that route. There are many alternatives open to us. One Hon. Member said that he was young and had not fought in the war. He looked at a new Europe. But there have been five Europes this century.
There was one run by the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar - they were all cousins so that was very comfortable. They were all Queen Victoria's grandsons. And there was no nonsense about human rights when Queen Victoria's grandsons repressed people. Then there was the Russian revolution. Then there was the inter-war period. Then there was the Anglo-Soviet alliance. Then there was the cold war. Now we have a Boris Yeltsin who has joined the Monday Club. There have been so many Europes. This is not the only Europe on offer. I understand that my Hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, South (Mr Mulliri) is a democratic federalist, as is my Hon.
Friend the Member for Derbyshire, North-East (Mr Barnes). They want an American-type constitution for Europe. It could be that our laws would hang on which way the Albanian members voted. I could not complain about that because that is democracy. However, it is unworkable. It is like trying to get an elephant to dance through a minefield. But it would be democratic.
Tony Benn: 'The Importance of Democracy' (3)
Another way would be to have a looser, wider Europe. I have an idea for a Commonwealth of Europe. I am introducing a bill on the subject. Europe would be rather like the British Common-wealth. We would work by consent with people. Or we could accept this ghastly proposal, which is clumsy, secretive, centralized, bureaucratic and divisive. That is how I regard the Treaty of Rome. I was born a European and I will die one. But I have never put my alliance behind the Treaty of Rome. I object to it. I hate being called an anti-European. How can one be anti-European when one is born in Europe? It is like saying that one is anti-British if one does not agree with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
What a lot of nonsense it is. I ask myself why the House is ready to contemplate abandoning its duties, as I fear that it is. I was elected forty-one years ago this month. This Chamber has lost confidence in democracy. It believes that it must be governed by someone else. It is afraid to use the powers entrusted to it by its constituents.
It has traded power for status. One gets asked to go on the telly if one is a Member of Parliament. The Chamber does not want to use its power. It has accepted the role of a spectator and joined what Bagehot called the dignified part of the constitution, leaving the Crown, under the control of the Prime Minister, to be the Executive part. If democracy is destroyed in Britain it will be not the communists, Trotskyists or subversives but this House which threw it away. The rights that are entrusted to us are not for us to give away.
Even if I agree with everything that is proposed, I cannot hand away powers lent to me for five years by the people of Chesterfield. I just could not do it. It would be theft of public rights. Therefore, there is only one answer. If people are determined to submit themselves to Jacques Delors, Madame Papandreou and the Council of Ministers, we must tell the people what is planned. If people vote for that, they will all have capitulated. Julius Caesar said, 'We are just merging our sovereignty.' So did William the Conqueror.
It is not possible to support the Government's motion. I have told the Chief Whip that I cannot support the Labour motion. I invite the House to vote against the Government's motion and not to support a motion which purports to take us faster into a Community which cannot reflect the aspirations of those who put us here. That is not a nationalist argument nor is it about sovereignty. It is a democratic argument and it should be decisive in a democratic Chamber.
Sir Geoffrey Howe: 'resignation speech' (1)
As long ago as 1962 it was Lord Stockton, formerly Harold Macmillan, who first put the central point clearly. He argued that we had to place and keep ourselves within the Community. He saw it as essential then as it is today not to cut ourselves off from the realities of power, not to retreat into a ghetto of sentimentality about our past and so diminish our control over our own destiny in the future. The pity is that the Macmillan view had not been perceived more clearly a decade before in the fifties. It would have spared so many of the struggles of the past twenty years had we been in the Community from the outset, had we been ready, in the much too simple phrase, to surrender some sovereignty at a much earlier stage. Had we been in from the start we should have had more not less influence over the Europe in which we live today.
We should never forget the lesson of that isolation, of being on the outside looking in, for the conduct of today's affairs. We have done best when we have seen the Community not as a static entity to be resisted and contained, but as an active process which we can shape often decisively provided we allow ourselves to be fully engaged in it with confidence and enthusiasm and in good faith. We must at all costs avoid presenting ourselves yet again with an over-simplified choice, a false antithesis, a bogus dilemma, between one alternative starkly labelled 'cooperation between independent sovereign states' and a second equally crudely labelled alternative 'a centralized federal super-state' as if there were no middle way in between
We commit a serious error if we think always in terms of surrendering sovereignty and seek to stand pat for all time on a given deal by proclaiming, as the prime minister did two weeks ago, that we have surrendered enough. The European enterprise is not and should not be seen like that, as some kind of zero sum gain. Sir Winston Churchill put it much more positively forty years ago when he said: 'Is it not possible and not less agreeable to regard this sacrifice or merger of national sovereignty as the gradual assumption by all the nations concerned of that larger sovereignty which can alone protect their diverse and distinctive customs and characteristics and their national traditions?' I find Winston Churchill's perception a good deal more convincing and encouraging for the interests of our nation than the nightmare image sometimes conjured up by the prime minister who sometimes seems to look out on a Continent that is positively teeming with ill-intentioned people scheming, in her words, to extinguish democracy, to dissolve our national identity, to lead us through the back door into a federal Europe.
Sir Geoffrey Howe: 'resignation speech' (2)
What kind of vision is that for our business people who trade there each day, for our financiers who seek to make London the money capital of Europe, or for all the young people of today? These concerns are especially important as we approach the crucially important topic of EMU. We must be positively and centrally involved in this debate and not fearfully and negatively detached. The cost of disengagement here could be very serious indeed... The tragedy is - and it is for me personally, for my party, for our whole people, for the prime minister herself a very real tragedy - that the prime minister's perceived attitude towards Europe is running increasingly serious risks for the future of our nation. It risks minimizing our influence and maximizing our chances of being once again shut out.
We have paid heavily in the past for late stars and squandered opportunities in Europe. We dare not let that happen again. If we detach ourselves completely as a party or as a nation from the middle ground of Europe, the effects will be incalculable and very hard ever to correct. In my letter of resignation, which I tendered with the utmost sadness and dismay, I said that cabinet government is about trying to persuade one another from within. That was my commitment to government by persuasion, persuading colleagues and nation.
I have tried to do that as foreign secretary and since, but realize now that the task has become futile, of trying to stretch the meaning of words beyond what was credible, of trying to pretend there was a common policy when every step forward risked being subverted by some casual comment or impulsive answer. The conflict of loyalty is loyalty to the prime minister - and after more than two decades together that instinct of loyalty is still very real - and the loyalty to what I perceive to be the true interests of this nation.
That conflict of loyalty has become all too great. I no longer believe it is possible to resolve that conflict from within this government. That is why I have resigned. In doing so I have done what I believe to be right for my party and my country. The time has come for others to consider their response to the tragic conflict of loyalty with which I have myself wrestled for perhaps too long.
Mario Cuomo: 'Speech about fairness' (1)
Ten days ago. President Reagan admitted that although some people in this country seemed to be doing well nowadays, others were unhappy, and even worried, about themselves, their families and their futures. The President said he didn't understand that fear. He said 'Why, this country is a shining city on a hill.' The President is right. In many ways we are 'a shining city on a hill.' But the hard truth is that not everyone is sharing in this city's splendor and glory.
A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there's another part of the city, the part where some people can't pay their mortgages and most young people can't afford one, where students can't afford the education they need and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children, evaporate.
In this part of the city there are more poor than ever, more families in trouble, more and more people who need help but can't find it. Even worse: there are elderly people who tremble in the basements of the houses there. There are people who sleep in the city's streets, in the gutter, where the glitter doesn't show.
There are ghettos where thousands of young people, without an education or a job, give their lives away to drug dealers every day. There is despair, Mr President, in faces you never see, in the places you never visit in your shining city. In fact, Mr President, this nation is more a 'tale of two cities' than it is a 'shining city on a hill'. Maybe if you visited more places, Mr President, you'd understand.
Mario Cuomo: 'Speech about fairness' (2)
Maybe if you went to Appalachia where some people still live in sheds, and to Lackawanna where thousands of unemployed steel workers wonder why we subsidized foreign steel while we surrender their dignity to unemployment and to welfare checks, maybe if you stepped into a shelter in Chicago and talked with some of the homeless there: maybe Mr President, if you asked a woman who'd been denied the help she needs to feed her children because you say we need the money to give a tax break to a millionaire or to build a missile we can't even afford to use - maybe then you'd understand. Maybe, Mr President.
But I'm afraid not. Because, the truth is, this is how we were warned it would be. President Reagan told us from the beginning that he believed in a kind of social Darwinism, survival of the fittest. 'Government can't do everything,' we were told, 'so it should settle for taking care of the strong and hope that economic ambition and charity will do the rest. Make the rich richer and what falls from their table will be enough for the middle class and those trying to make it into the middle class.' The Republicans called it trickle-down when Hoover tried it. Now they call it supply side. It is the same shining city for those relative few who are lucky enough to live in its good neighborhoods. But for the people who are excluded - locked out - all they can do is to stare from a distance at that city's glimmering towers.
It's an old story. As old as our history. The difference between Democrats and the Republicans has always been measured in courage and confidence. The Republicans believe the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of our old, some of our young, and some of our weak are left behind by the side of the trail. The strong will inherit the land! We Democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact. We have. More than once. Ever since Franklin Roosevelt lifted himself from his wheelchair to lift this nation from its knees, wagon train after wagon train.
Mario Cuomo: 'Speech about fairness' (3)
To new frontiers of education, housing, peace. The whole family aboard, constantly reaching out to extend and enlarge that family. Lifting them up into the wagon on the way. Blacks and Hispanics, people of every ethnic group, and native Americans - all those struggling to build their families and claim some small share of America. For nearly fifty years we carried them to new levels of comfort, security, dignity, even affluence. Some of us are in this room today only because this nation had that confidence.
It would be wrong to forget that. So, we are here at this convention to remind ourselves where we come from and to claim the future for ourselves and for our children. Today our great Democratic Party, which has saved this nation from depression, from Fascism, from racism, from corruption, is called upon to do it again ... This time to save the nation from confusion and division, from the threat of eventual fiscal disaster and most of all from a fear of a nuclear holocaust. . . We must win this case on the merits. We must get the American public to look past the glitter, beyond the showmanship ... to reality, to the hard substance of things. And we will do that not so much with speeches that sound good, as with speeches that are good and sound ... We must make the American people hear our 'tale of two cities.' We must convince them that we don't have to settle for two cities, that we can have one city, indivisible, shining for all its people... To succeed we will have to surrender small parts of our individual interests, to build a platform we can all stand on, at once, comfortably - proudly singing out the truth for the nation to hear, in chorus, its logic so clear and commanding that no slick commercial, no amount of geniality, no martial music will be able to muffle it.
We Democrats must unite so that the entire nation can. Surely the Republicans won't bring the convention together, their policies divide the nation ... into the lucky and the left-out, the royalty and the rabble. The Republicans are willing to treat that division as victory.
Mario Cuomo: 'Speech about fairness' (4)
They would cut this nation in half, into those temporarily better off and those worse off than before, and call it recovery. We should not be embarrassed or dismayed if the process of unifying is difficult, even at times wrenching. Unlike any other party, we embrace men and women of every colour, every creed, every orientation, every economic class. In our family are gathered everyone from the abject poor of Essex County in New York, to the enlightened affluent of the gold coasts of both ends of our nation. And in between is the heart of our constituency, the middle class . . . The people not rich enough to be worry free but not poor enough to be on welfare. Those who work for a living because they have to.
White collar and blue collar. Young professionals, men and women in small business desperate for the capital and contracts they need to prove their worth. We speak for the minorities who have not yet entered the main-stream. For ethnics who want to add their culture to the mosaic that is America. For women indignant that we refuse to etch into our governmental commandments the simple rule 'Thou shalt not sin against equality,' a commandment so obvious it can be spelled in three letters . . . ERA! For young people demanding an education and a future. For senior citizens terrorized by the idea that their only security . . . their social security ... is being threatened. For millions of reasoning people fighting to preserve environment from greed and stupidity and fighting to preserve our very existence from a macho intransigence that refuses to make intelligent attempts to discuss the possibility of nuclear holocaust with our enemy.
Refusing because they believe we can pile missiles so high that they will pierce the clouds and the sight of them will frighten our enemies into submission ... That struggle to live with dignity is the real story of the shining city. It's a story I didn't read in a book, or learn in a classroom.
I saw it, and lived it, like many of you. I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work fifteen and sixteen hours a day, I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.
Mario Cuomo: 'Speech about fairness' (5)
I learned about our kind of democracy from my father. I learned about our obligation to each other from him and from my mother. They asked only for a chance to work and to make the world better for their children and to be protected in those moments when they would not be able to protect themselves. This nation and its government did that for them. And that they were able to build a family and live in dignity and see one of their children go from behind their little grocery store on the other side of the tracks in South Jamaica where he was born, to occupy the highest seat in the greatest state of the greatest nation in the only world we know, is an ineffably beautiful tribute to the Democratic process.
We Democrats still have a dream. We still believe in this nation's future. And this is our answer - our credo. We believe in only the government we need but we insist on all the government we need. We believe in a government characterized by fairness and reasonableness, a reasonableness that goes beyond labels, that doesn't distort or promise to do what it knows it can't do.
A government strong enough to use the words 'love' and 'compassion' and smart enough to convert our noblest aspirations into practical realities. We believe in encouraging the talented, but we believe that while survival of the fittest may be a good working description of the process of evolution, a government of humans should elevate itself to a higher order, one which fills the gaps left by a chance or a wisdom we don't understand. We would rather have laws written by the patron of this great city, the man called the 'world's most sincere democrat' - St Francis of Assisi - than laws written by Darwin.
We believe, as Democrats, that a society as blessed as ours, the most affluent democracy in the world's history, that can spend trillions on instruments of destruction, ought to be able to help the middle class in its struggle, ought to be able to find work for all who can do it, room at the table, shelter for the homeless, care for the elderly and infirm, hope for the destitute. We proclaim as loudly as we can the utter insanity of nuclear proliferation and the need for a nuclear freeze, if only to affirm the simple truth that peace is better than war because life is better than death.
Mario Cuomo: 'Speech about fairness' (6)
We believe in firm but fair law and order, in the union movement, in privacy for people, openness by government, civil rights, and human rights. We believe in a single fundamental idea that describes better than most textbooks and any speech what a proper government should be. The idea of family, mutuality, the sharing of benefits and burdens for the good of all. Feeling one another's pain. Sharing one another's blessings.
Reasonably, honestly, fairly - without respect to race, or sex, or geography or political affiliation. We believe we must be the family of America, recognizing that at the heart of the matter we are bound one to another, that the problems of a retired schoolteacher in Duluth are our problems. That the future of the child in Buffalo is our future. The struggle of a disabled man in Boston to survive, to live decently is our struggle. The hunger of a woman in Little Rock, our hunger. The failure anywhere to provide what reasonably we might, to avoid pain, is our failure.
For fifty years we Democrats created a better future for our children, using traditional Democratic principles as a fixed beacon, giving us direction and purpose, but constantly innovating, adapting to new realities: Roosevelt's Alphabet programmes; Truman's Nato and the GI Bill of Rights; Kennedy's intelligent tax incentives and the Alliance for Progress; Johnson's Civil Rights; Carter's Human Rights and the nearly miraculous Camp David Peace Accord. We will have America's first woman Vice-President: the child of immigrants, a New Yorker, opening with one magnificent stroke a whole new frontier for the United States. It will happen - if we make it happen. I ask you - ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters - for the good of all of us - for the love of this great nation, for the family of America - for the love of God, please, make this nation remember how futures are built.
King Edward VIII: ' Abdication Speech'
At long last I am able to say a few words of my own. I have never wanted to withhold anything, but until now it has not been constitutionally possible for me to speak. A few hours ago I discharged my last duty as king and emperor, and now that I have been succeeded by my brother, the duke of York, my first words must be to declare my allegiance to him. This I do with all my heart. You all know the reasons which have impelled me to renounce the throne. But I want you to understand that in making up my mind I did not forget the country or the empire, which, as prince of Wales and lately as king, I have for twenty-five years tried to serve. But you must believe me when I tell you that I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love. And I want you to know that the decision I have made has been mine and mine alone. This was a thing I had to judge entirely for myself.
The other person most nearly concerned has tried up to the last minute to persuade me to take a different course. I have made this, the most serious decision of my life, only upon the single thought of what would, in the end, be best for all. This decision has been made less difficult to me by the sure knowledge that my brother, with his long training in the public affairs of this country and with his fine qualities, will be able to take my place forthwith without interruption or injury to the life and progress of the empire. And he has one matchless blessing, enjoyed by so many of you, and not bestowed on me-a happy home with his wife and children. During these hard days I have been comforted by Her Majesty my mother and by my family. The ministers of the crown and, in particular, Mr. Baldwin, the prime minister, have always treated me with full consideration.
There has never been any constitutional difference between me and them, and between me and Parliament. Bred in the constitutional tradition by my father, I should never have allowed any such issue to arise. Ever since I was prince of Wales, and later on when I occupied the throne, I have been treated with the greatest kindness by all classes of the people wherever I have lived or journeyed throughout the empire. For that I am very grateful. I now quit altogether public affairs, and I lay down my burden. It may be some time before I return to my native land, but I shall always follow the fortunes of the British race and empire with profound interest, and if at any time in the future I can be found of service to His Majesty in a private station, I will not fail. And now, we all have a new king. I wish him and you, his people, happiness and prosperity with all my heart. God bless you all! God save the king!
Edward Kennedy: 'Speech at 1980 Democratic Party Convention'
There were hard hours on our journey, and often we sailed against the wind. But always we kept our rudder true, and there were so many of you who stayed the course and shared our hope. You gave your help; but even more, you gave your hearts. Because of you, this has been a happy campaign. You welcomed Joan, me and our family into your homes and neighbourhoods, your churches, your campuses, your union halls. When I think back of all the miles and all the months and all the memories, I think of you. I recall the poet's words, and I say: What golden friends I have. Among you, my golden friends across this land, I have listened and learned.
I have listened to Kenny Dubois, a glassblower from Charleston, West Virginia, who has ten children to support but has lost his job after thirty-five years, just three years short of qualifying for his pension... I have listened to the grandmother in East Oakland who no longer has a phone to call her grandchildren because she gave it up to pay the rent on her small apartment. I have listened to young workers out of work, to students without the tuition for college, and to families without the chance to own a home. I have seen the closed factories and the stalled assembly lines of Anderson, Indiana and South Gate, California, and I have seen too many, far too many idle men and women desperate to work.
I have seen too many, far too many working families desperate to protect the value of their wages from the ravages of inflation. Yet I have also sensed a yearning for new hope among the people in every state where I have been. And I have felt it in their handshakes, I saw it in their faces, and I shall never forget the mothers who carried children to our rallies. I shall always remember the elderly who have lived in an America of high purpose and who believe that it can all happen again.
Tonight, in their name, I have come here to speak for them. And for their sake, I ask you to stand with them. On their behalf I ask you to restate and reaffirm the timeless truth of our party. I congratulate President Carter on his victory here. I am confident that the Democratic Party will reunite on the basis of Democratic principles, and that together we will march towards a Democratic victory in 1980. And someday, long after this convention, long after the signs come down, and the crowds stop cheering, and the bands stop playing, may it be said of our campaign that we kept the faith. May it be said of our party in 1980 that we found our faith again.
And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now: 'I am a part of all that I have met/ Tho'much is taken, much abides/That which we are, we are -/One equal temper of heroic hearts/strong in will/To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield...' For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end. For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.
Abraham Lincoln: 'Second Inaugural Address'
Fellow Countrymen: At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it; all sought to avert it.
While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war- seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained.
Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men would dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.
Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether." With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.