“Super Sunday Thoughts”

super-bowl-i-1967I have no statistics to prove it, but I’m sure the American workplace will be adversely affected on Monday, the day after XXIV. The game will be the focus of conversation, and distractions happy and sad will be the order of the day, not to mention millions of hangovers. I wouldn’t buy a toaster or a parachute manufactured the day after Super Bowl XXIV. You cannot engender such torrid anticipation for an event so great that it requires Roman numerals as a suffix, then expect there to be no social repercussions at its end.’

–Robert Klein, “America’s Pastime: Selling the Big Game,” 1990 January 28th, The New York Times

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“Sunday Thoughts”

On Friday, January 20th, 2017; Donald J. Trump was sworn in as our 45th President of The United States of America. Today’s “Sunday Thoughts” features thoughts from a few of our past Presidents including a quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower from his own inauguration.

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“In executing the duties of my present important station, I can promise nothing but purity of intentions, and, in carrying these into effect, fidelity and diligence.”

–George Washington

“I believe it is an established maxim in morals that he who makes an assertion without knowing whether it is true or false, is guilty of falsehood; and the accidental truth of the assertion, does not justify or excuse him.”

–Abraham Lincoln

“Here in America we are descended in spirit from revolutionists and rebels – men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower

“You do not lead by hitting people over the head.  That’s assault, not leadership.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower, first inaugural address, 20 January 1953

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MLK, Jr: Remembering The Man and The Message

martin-luther-king-being-arrested“Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 88 years old today – an age where, had he lived, I can imagine his singularly powerful voice still contributing to the betterment of American democracy. Can you imagine what he would have to say in these troubled times? Tomorrow we will celebrate his birthday as a national holiday, one I strongly support.

And yet I fear that the elevation of Dr. King to the pantheon of great Americans who have national birthday celebrations has come at a subtle cost. These days no public official dares speak ill of Dr. King. For most it would be political suicide. However I worry that this universal acclaim has deadened the radicalism of Dr. King’s message. We must remember that he was a deeply contentious person at the time of his death. The clarity of the morality of his message about racial prejudice and social justice was not welcome in many corridors of power. He not only preached powerfully about the necessity of racial healing and integration. He also issued stirring rhetoric from his pulpit on the need for economic fairness across racial lines.

To re-listen to his speeches in today’s political climate is to reconnect with the hard truths he eloquently hurled at the American establishment. If he had survived the assassin’s bullet and continued on his life path, I am convinced that he would have remained a divisive figure. I fear that many who now pay homage to his legacy with florid paeans would be singing different tunes if he was still actively rallying civil disobedience toward the twin causes of racial and economic fairness for the marginal and dispossessed.

I had the supreme fortune of covering Dr. King in the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. There weren’t many reporters around him in those days, and he understood the power of the press as a megaphone for his message, particularly the images that television could transmit. He was always cordial, but never overly familiar. He knew we had a job to do and so did he. He would be the first to admit that he was not a perfect man. That made him more interesting, and the power of his message all the more difficult to ignore.

So today, please don’t revere Dr. King the American saint. Please engage with Dr. King as the unique vessel for a message America was long overdue to hear. And please reflect on how that message, with all its fervor, is still one of great urgency.”

–Dan Rather

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“Sunday Thoughts”

mlkattackedIf… the machine of government… is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.”

–Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

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