More 'lighthouses in a foggy world'
0 comment Tuesday, August 26, 2014 |
If the quote which is the title of this post is not recognizable to my readers, it's from the dialogue in the Frank Capra film classic, 'Meet John Doe.' In one memorable scene, 'Connell', as played by James Gleason, says these words to the 'John Doe' character:
Connell: Yessir. I'm a sucker for this country. I'm a sucker for the Star Spangled Banner´┐Żand I'm a sucker for this country.
I like what we got here! I like it! A guy can say what he wants -- and do what he wants -- without having a bayonet shoved through his belly.
Now that's all right, isn't it?
You betcha. All right. And we don't want anybody coming around and changing it, do we?
...No sir. No sir. And when they do, I get mad! I get b-boiling mad. And right now, John, I'm sizzling!
...I get mad for a lot of other guys besides myself--I get mad for a guy named Washington! And a guy named Jefferson--and Lincoln. Lighthouses, John! Lighthouses in a foggy world! You know what I mean?''
I suppose these words are always meaningful to me, because, like Connell, I am a sucker for this country, and like Connell, I get mad -- boiling mad -- at the idea of anybody changing it. Right now, of course, people are trying to change this country in various ways, and they are doing so without the consent of the people of this country.
And like Connell, I, too, get mad for a lot of other guys, for those Founding Fathers, and all the generations who went before us. But the Founding Fathers and all the good and great men who preceded us are 'lighthouses' in a fogbound world, beacons to those lost and adrift.
I hope there are some words here that ring true to some of my readers, or which provide some food for thought or some illumination.
"[I]f the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them." - 'Candidus', (Benjamin Austin) in the Boston Gazette, January 20, 1772
"When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil."- Thomas Jefferson
"It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it." - Patrick Henry
"Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no Constitution, no Law, no Court can save it...Where do you stand Citizen?" - Judge Learned Hand (1961)
''People crushed by law have no hopes but from power. If laws are their enemies, they will be enemies to laws; and those, who have much to hope and nothing to lose, will always be dangerous, more or less.'' Edmund Burke
"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."
- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas
''What has commonly been called rebellion has more often been nothing but a manly and glorious struggle in opposition to the power of kings and princes.'' - Samuel Adams
"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." - Patrick Henry
"If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption, indifferent and incapable of a wholesome care over so wide a spread of surface. This will not be borne, and you will have to choose between reform and revolution. If I know the spirit of this country, the one or the other is inevitable." - Thomas Jefferson
"There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from another quarter. From the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government, from their carelessness and negligence. I must confess that I do apprehend some danger. I fear that they may place too implicit a confidence in their public servants and fail properly to scrutinize their conduct; that in this way they may be made the dupes of designing men and become the instruments of their own undoing." - Daniel Webster
"In spite of failures which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge, or of the present aspect of affairs, do I despair the future? The truth is this: the march of Providence is so slow, our desires so impatient, the work of progress is so immense, and our means of aiding it so feeble, the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope." - Robert E. Lee
I like to end on a note of hope, so I will conclude with Lee's encouraging phrases.

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