Respite: A Political Breath Of Fresh Air


Man, have I been busy!

I’ve been trying to keep up, but it’s been very hectic for me/us lately with all of the travel and commitments I’ve been doing/keeping.

Today, I’m off to Dillon to address the New Gay-Straight Alliance, Bulldog Pride, at UM-Western. I couldn’t be more excited to encourage this community to embrace diversity and hopefully give them some encouragement from a local boy…. I’m also going to give them information about Pride Foundation’s scholarships for LGBTQ students in Montana. If you know interested parties in Dillon- spread the word.

So, on to the breath of fresh air. This is one of the most powerful speeches of all time about political idealism, humanity and personal values. It should be required viewing/reading for any politician, pundit or citizen. It’s certainly a product of the time, but I find it refreshingly wholesome and simple and welcome right now- as well as topical. It might have been written over half a century ago, but I think it can still be applied today.

Charlie Chaplin from the end of film The Great...

Image via Wikipedia

From Charlie Chaplin’s fabulous movie The Great Dictator (1940) comes this memorable quote from the mouth of a Jewish barber:

“…I’m sorry but I don’t want to be an Emperor – that’s not my business – I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another- human beings are like that.

We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful.

But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls – has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in: machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little: More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say “Do not despair”.

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people, will return to the people and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish…

Soldiers – don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you – who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder.

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate – only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers – don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty.

In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written ” the kingdom of God is within man ” – not one man, nor a group of men – but in all men – in you, the people.

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let’s use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers – in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

Look up! Look up! The clouds are lifting – the sun is breaking through. We are coming out of the darkness into the light. We are coming into a new world. A kind new world where men will rise above their hate and brutality.

The soul of man has been given wings – and at last he is beginning to fly. He is flying into the rainbow – into the light of hope – into the future, that glorious future that belongs to you, to me and to all of us.

Look up.

Look up.”

2 comments on “Respite: A Political Breath Of Fresh Air

  1. froggy12 says:

    I can say that I have been to Dillon and thought it a neat place, some nice book stores, espresso all over the place – gas station out in Wisdom was selling the stuff! – but a fine dining experience, alas, I did not encounter. I will pass the word about the scholarship to my contacts in the area. I toured the campus – UM-W – at the south end of town. Nice blend. But I found that Montana was an eye opener for this here yankee tourist and the experience was positive, except for the occasional yahoo one reads about in “Montana Cowgirl” (my reading is catholic – small c ).

    Things could be worse: you could be in Michigan with it’s new form of dictatorship. If you watch MSNBC you know what I mean.

    gg

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  2. d.g. says:

    Albert Schweitzer: “Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which man ceases to live unreflectively and begins to devote himself to his life with reverence in order to raise it to its true value. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will to live. At the same time the man who has become a thinking being feels a compulsion to give to every will-to-live the same reverence for life that he gives to his own. He experiences that other life in his own. He accepts as being good: to preserve life, to promote life, to raise to its highest value life which is capable of development; and as being evil: to destroy life, to injure life, to repress life which is capable of development. This is the absolute, fundamental principle of the moral, and it is a necessity of thought”. – From: Out of My Life and Thought

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