Quotations on Intellectualism

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“There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

                                                  Isaac Asimov

 

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“In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality was tacitly denied by their philosophy.”

                                                   George Orwell

 

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“I’m tired of ignorance held up as inspiration, where vicious anti-intellectualism is considered a positive trait, and where uninformed opinion is displayed as fact.”

                                                      Phil Plait

 

“For democracy to survive, Americans must learn to embrace intellectualism, reject cult-like behavior, employ analysis, understand and use science, and think for themselves.”

                                                      Charles F. French

                                                                                            

 

 

 

 

Quotations on Bigotry

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“What a sad era when it is easier to smash an atom than a prejudice.”

Albert Einstein

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“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

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“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

 

“Bigotry must never be accepted, must always be confronted, and must never become the way of our country. We must always recognize its past and the consequences of its present existence, and we should always strive to eliminate bigotry, in all forms, from the future.”

Charles F. French

Trump’s Attack On Democracy

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What happened the other night in Portland, Oregon should have all Americans who believe in the Constitution, Freedom, and Democracy outraged and frightened. Please do not divert the subject by speaking about “riots”. That is an issue that is addressed by local and state authorities, not the Federal Government.  The President does not seem to care about the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

The Fourth Amendment says, “The right of the people to  be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Having Federal agents, wearing police insignia without identification of person or office arresting people without warrants and taking them away in unmarked vehicles is a clear violation of both the Fourth Amendment and their oath to uphold the Constitution; it is, by its very nature, an assault on American freedom and democracy. Without a warrant and an authorized jurisdiction of policing, these actions are kidnapping.

Let me be very clear. What happened is what occurs in totalitarian dictatorships, such as Putin’s tactics in the Crimea. Putin is very likely extremely proud of his friend, Donald Trump.

Further, for those who are true conservatives and care about the separation of states and city rights from the Federal government, they should be horrified. This was a clear violation of state and city sovereignty and jurisdiction.

It is also ironic that with the turmoil in our country about the abuse of police power, that these actions, themselves, are abuse of police power.

Let me be clear. I am not speaking as a member of a political party. I am speaking as a proud American who holds our Constitution to be a sacred document. Regardless of political affiliation, no matter if you are Republican, Democratic, or Independent, you should decry these actions. Our land must never become one that is ruled by autocrats and dictators who use force as they wish and ignore the rule of law.

Let us also remember that many fought and died to preserve out democracy. Let us honor their memory by insisting on the government abiding by the Constitution of the United States of America.

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Rest In Peace Rep. John Lewis

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The United States of America lost an heroic figure with the passing of Representative John Lewis on Friday from pancreatic cancer.  (1940-2020)

Mr. Lewis was a major figure in the Civil Rights Movement and worked alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He participated, in the March on Washington, and he led the march, as a young man, across the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. This would come to be known as Bloody Sunday because of the violence the marchers encountered, including Mr. Lewis.

He would later be elected to the United States House of Representatives in which he served for 30 years; he was frequently considered  to be the Conscience of America. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2011.

Among Mr. Lewis’ quotations are “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to  say something, you have to do something.” and “I’m very hopeful. I am very optimistic about the future.”  and “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.”

Mr. John Lewis was a tireless fighter for justice and against injustice. He will be missed.

Rest In Peace

Trump as Dictator

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I try to avoid political posts in this blog, but I cannot remain silent. Our country and our democracy are under attack from the highest level of government–the President.

Today, Donald Trump used tear gas and military force to dispel peaceful protestors in Washington, DC, so he could have a photo-op holding a Bible. Please remember that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America guarantees the right of citizens to protest peacefully.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

He then held up the Bible in front of a church to justify his actions, and that is the highest level of hypocrisy.  All Americans who love this country, who admire our democracy, and who want to preserve freedom must oppose this would be dictator. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents must oppose him.

Please make no mistake–I am not condoning violence or rioting, not at all, but Trump is using this time to project strength, but the strength he projects is that which is reminiscent of Mussolini and Hitler, not of Reagan, FDR, JFK or President Bush.

Remember that freedom and democracy are fragile and precious, and they must not be sacrificed to the altar of a projection of power. America needs and deserves better.

 

Quotations On Presidential Responsibility

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In any time of crisis, the United States looks to its President for true leadership, for someone who can guide and understand the magnitude of the times, for someone who can also accept responsibility.

 

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“The Buck Stops Here!” (from desk sign)

Harry S. Truman

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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Abraham Lincoln

 

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“Let us not seek the Republican answer, or the Democratic answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”

                                                                          John F. Kennedy

 

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“Power always brings with it responsibility.”

                                                                         Teddy Roosevelt

 

Sometimes, leaders do not rise to the necessary levels during such times of need.

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“I don’t take responsibility at all.”

                                                                        Donald Trump

Quotations On Ignorance and Its Danger

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“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

                                                     Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

                                                                     Thomas Paine

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“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.”

                                                   Johann Wolfgang von Geothe

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“We must, especially now, be aware of the threat of tyranny and authoritarianism that is riding on the wave of ignorance, bigotry, and fear.”

                                                                    Charles F. French

Happy Birthday to Mr. Charles Dickens!

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Today is Charles Dickens’ 208th birthday, and I celebrate this extraordinary writer who gave the world a plethora of books, filled with dynamic and lasting characters, an attention to life, concern with the condition of the poor and suffering, and joy. In Dickens’ works is a celebration of humanity as well as a condemnation of the capacity of human beings to be inhumane to each other.

I have had the good fortune of not only reading many of his excellent books, but also I have taught them in various courses. Among his novels that I have used in my classes are A Christmas Carol, Hard Times, and A Tale Of Two Cities.

Dickens was not only an exceptional writer but also beloved by humanity. His was not work aimed at solely literary critics. Like Shakespeare, Dickens was loved and is loved by the mass of people, and I celebrate that love.

Happy Birthday to you, and I wish that your writings continue to be read and loved, Charles Dickens!

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2020

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Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and I would like to offer a few of this extraordinary American’s quotations as a tribute to him. He was one of the finest, most decent, and empathetic people in the history of the United States of America. We should all remember him and honor his teaching, his legacy, and his call for justice for everyone.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

 

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.”

 

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

 

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

 

“We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Quotations On The Need For Justice

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“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

                                                                      Elie Wiesel

 

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“No man is justified in doing evil on the ground of expediency.”

                                                                      Theodore Roosevelt

 

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“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?”

                                                                       Eleanor Roosevelt

 

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“An injustice to one person is a crime against everyone, and we must always try to achieve true justice in the world.”

                                                                     Charles F. French