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 â€“ every one. So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, â€˜Liberal,â€™ as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it wonâ€™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.