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The Jesters Speak More Truly than The Courtiers

This morning, as I was surfing about the Internet, I ran across the following stunning quote on Simply Left Behind:

“Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act. What did Conservatives do? They opposed them on every one of those things – every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, ‘Liberal,’ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.”

Holy cow! That just about said it all for me. But there was no attribution after this fine quotation. Who was the statesman with the presence of mind, the self-possession, the courage to stand up and publicly lay claim to the word “liberal” as a badge of honor associated with the best in 20th Century American policy? I had to look it up.

And so I did. This statement was made by a fictional character on The West Wing, a TV show.

Sigh. It’s too bad that the scriptwriter is not one of our elected officials in actuality. And it is a downright shame that none of our actual elected officials managed to speak these words first.

6 thoughts on “The Jesters Speak More Truly than The Courtiers”

  1. Terry S. Gannon says:

    If former president Reagan could use fictional anecdotes form old movies and recieve aclaim from his sicophantic followers, there should be no reason for Liberals to adopt this speech as their badge of honor. I certaily will, and I will forward copies of it to my member of congress and Senator (both of whom are conservative republicans)

    Maybe one of our t-shirt guys could do something here?

  2. Scott says:

    Didn’t George Clooney say something very similar to this recently? Maybe at the Academy Awards?

  3. Jim says:

    Yes, somewhat similar, in that another actor speaks more boldly than a politician would:

    We are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood every once in a while. We were the ones who talked about AIDS when it was being whispered. We talked about civil rights when it wasn’t really popular. I’m proud to be part of this Academy. I’m proud to be part of this community. I’m proud to be out of touch.

    Although he was really celebrating the Hollywood community as much as he was any brand of politics, which is neither here nor there for me.

  4. Mike says:

    Not only is the statement a noble one, but it is also historically correct…something that the “conservative” element seems to have problems with…

  5. randy ray haugen says:

    yes, but, the conservatives have never met
    a war-monger they didn’t like.
    where is the texas hoosier to dispute this?
    hopefully, time and history will see the liberals’
    secular humanism as the origin of true enlightenment.
    conservative religion certainly has’nt done that well
    for any of us. unless you’re in the billionaire’s club.

  6. Actor212 says:

    I’m the blogger in question who yanked that quote, kicking and screaming to my blog header. Yes, it was Matt Santos on the West Wing who said it, and yes, it SHOULD have been Al Gore or John Kerry who said it.

    My website is dedicated to the proposition that Democrats, whether moderate or conservative or liberal, are far too beholden to the status quo and need a wake-up call. This is no longer about saving the party. It’s about saving the nation.

    My suspicion is that Janeane Garofalo actually wrote that, as my understanding from crew members is that the two factions of the WW debate were to prep for the debate as unscripted as possible, to improvise from large themes, to form public opinion of their characters, just like real candidates would. The scriptwriters assisted each side, but tried hard to give Santos and Vinick their own voices.

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