I think that the so-called ‘white backlash’ is destructive, not only of the interests of Negro Americans, but of all those who stand to gain from humane and farsighted government. And those that stand to gain from humane and farsighted government is everybody. Nevertheless, there are those who try to stimulate suspicion into hatred, and to make fear and frustration their springboard into public office. Many of them do it openly. Some let their henchmen do it for them. Their responsibility is the same… Racism — whether it comes packaged in the Nazi’s brown shirt or a three-button suit — destroys the moral fiber of a nation. It poisons public life. So I would urge every American to ask himself before he goes to the polls on Tuesday: Do I want to cast my vote on the basis of fear? Do I want to follow the merchants of bigotry?
This is less a party than a personality cult. Law and order is a strange theme for a candidate who radiates conflict and disorder. Some rich children are careless that way; they break things and other people have to clean up the mess.
More than any time in my career, I think our country is in danger. It has a disturbed man as president, whose job description — to be a healer of the country in times of great national hurt and to pull us together to do big hard things that can be done only together — conflicts with his political strategy, which is to divide us and mobilize his base with anger and fear. And time and again he has chosen the latter.
When a person is promoted to a top job in life, usually one of two things happens: He either grows or he swells — he either evolves and grows into that job or all of his worst instincts and habits become swollen and just expand over a wider field. I don’t have to tell you what happened with President Trump. He is a shameless liar and an abusive bully — only now he is doing it from the bully pulpit of the presidency… And remember what President Charles de Gaulle of France once observed: Patriots put love of their own people first, while nationalists put hate for other people first.
There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour…At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour forth a stream, a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and the crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.
The United States is one of the richest, most technologically advanced nations in the history of humanity. And yet it accepts — proudly defends, even — a degree of social dysfunction that would be intolerable in any other rich society.
Tyranny, according to ancient, pre-theoretical understanding, was the form of government in which the ruler had monopolized for himself the right of action and banished the citizens from the public realm into the privacy of the household where they were supposed to mind their own, private business. Tyranny, in other words, deprived men of public happiness and public freedom without necessarily encroaching upon the pursuit of personal interests and the enjoyment of private rights. Tyranny, according to traditional theory, is the form of government in which the ruler rules out of his own will and in pursuit of his own interests, thus offending the private welfare and the personal liberties of his own subjects. The eighteenth century, when it spoke of tyranny and despotism, did not distinguish between these two possibilities, and it learned of the sharpness of the distinction between the private and the public, between the unhindered pursuit of private interests and the enjoyment of public freedom or of public happiness, only when, during the course of the revolutions, these two principles came into conflict with each other.
In most books, the I, or first person, is omitted; in this it will be retained;... We commonly do not remember that it is, after all, always the first person that is speaking. I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. — Henry David Thoreau