“I came of age during the Vietnam War. At the time I didn’t care about politics. I wanted to be the next Tolstoy… But what we did to Vietnam was so barbaric, it made me want to get into politics. I said, why not be Gandhi instead of Tolstoy?”Read More
In years past, when national leaders talked about victory, they meant the United States — the entire United States — would defeat enemies overseas and overcome serious problems at home. Now their definition of victory is one political party winning over another.
Photo: DonkeyHoteyRead More »
To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this post will honor the memory of a neglected Irish-American statesman and orator: William Bourke Cockran (1854-1923).
Cockran was born in Country Sligo, Ireland. He emigrated to America at age 17, settling in New York. There, he became a successful lawyer, a member of Congress, and a friend and confidant of some of the leading men of the time, including inventor Thomas Edison, publisher Joseph Pulitzer and Presidents Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt. He also became known as America’s greatest living orator. (No less a rhetorical titan than Winston Churchill would call Cockran his “model.”)
Sometimes a speech succeeds before it even begins. That is precisely the intent of significant numbers of employees in political offices around the country—people who design backdrops, shape messages as if they were ice sculptures, and stay awake at night worrying about all the unpleasant unforeseeables that might damage a well-scripted event, and by extension, a well-scripted career as a communications adviser.Read More »
Actor Michael Sheen makes a ‘blistering’ speech about the UK National Health Service. Hurrah! If only our milksop politicians would have a bit of that passion and sincerity!
Or not.Read More »
The Congressional Republicans’ willingness to turn their backs on the sanctity of private property rights demonstrates a lack of genuine belief in anything beyond “feed the kitty.”
Among the most sacred rights enumerated in the U.S. Constitution is the ownership and control of private property. It’s not quite as sacred as our God-given right to cruise Main Street with military-style automatic weapons, of course, but still pretty sacred.Read More »
Partisan political rhetoric is constantly drawing lines in the dirt.
You’re on one side or the other.Read More »
February is Black History Month, so my post today is devoted to a notable speech by the great civil rights leader, Booker T. Washington.
The date was September 18, 1895. The occasion was the Cotton States and International Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. The organizers of the event wanted to impress visiting Northerners with the progress of race relations in the South. So Washington, the founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, was invited to speak at the opening ceremonies.Read More »