Quotes on America
...both postive and negative.
“I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.” James Baldwin
“What the people want is very simple - they want an America as good as its promise.” Barbara Jordan
“We Americans have no commission from God to police the world.” Benjamin Harrison, address to Congress, 1888
“Four sorrows are certain to be visited on the United States. Their cumulative effect guarantees that the U.S. will cease to resemble the country outlined in the Constitution of 1787.
First, there will be a state of perpetual war, leading to more terrorism against Americans wherever they may be and a spreading reliance on nuclear weapons among smaller nations as they try to ward off the imperial juggernaut.
Second is a loss of democracy and Constitutional rights as the presidency eclipses Congress and is itself transformed from a co- equal ‘executive branch’ of government into a military junta.
Third is the replacement of truth by propaganda, disinformation, and the glorification of war, power, and the military legions.
Lastly, there is bankruptcy, as the United States pours its economic resources into ever more grandiose military projects and shortchanges the education, health, and safety of its citizens.” Chalmers Johnson, Sorrows of Empire
“The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and these are ignorance, superstition and incompetence.” Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), American editor, publisher and writer
“Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.” Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969), American 34th President (1953-61)
“America did not invent human rights. In a very real sense, it is the other way around. Human rights invented America.” Jimmy Carter, American 39th US President (1977-81), Nobel Prize for Peace in 2002. b.1924)
“We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” Thomas Jefferson
“Throughout the history of the United States, war has been the primary impetus behind the growth and development of the central state. It has been the lever by which presidents and other national officials have bolstered the power of the state in the face of tenacious popular resistance.” Bruce D. Porter
“Most Americans aren’t the sort of citizens the Founding Fathers expected; they are contented serfs. Far from being active critics of government,
they assume that its might makes it right.” Joseph Sobran (1946- ), columnist
“Americans cannot escape a certain responsibility for what is done in our name around the world. In a democracy, even one as corrupted as ours, ultimate authority rests with the people. We empower the government with our votes, finance it with our taxes, bolster it with our silent acquiescence. If we are passive in the face of America’s official actions overseas, we in effect endorse them.” Mark Hertzgaard
“America cannot have an empire abroad and a Republic at home.” Mark Twain
Let America Be America Again
O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.
I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one’s own greed!
I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today—O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.
Yet I’m the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That’s made America the land it has become.
O, I’m the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I’m the one who left dark Ireland’s shore,
And Poland’s plain, and England’s grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa’s strand I came
To build a “homeland of the free.”
By Langston Hughes
“The United States is the most powerful among the technically advanced countries in the world today. Its influence on the shaping of international relations is absolutely incalculable. But America is a large country, and its people have so far not shown much interest in great international problems, among which the problem of disarmament occupies first place today.
This must be changed, if only in America’s own interest. The last war has shown that there are no longer any barriers between the continents and that the destinies of all countries are closely interwoven. The people of this country must realize that they have a great responsibility in the sphere of international politics. The part of passive spectator is unworthy of this country and is bound in the end to lead to disaster all round.” Albert Einstein, from an interview in the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant, 1921
“We’re not a democracy. It’s a terrible misunderstanding and a slander to the idea of democracy to call us that. In reality, we’re a plutocracy: a government by the wealthy.” Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General
“It would be some time before I fully realized that the United States sees little need for diplomacy. Power is enough. Only the weak rely on diplomacy … The Roman Empire had no need for diplomacy. Nor does the United States.” Boutros Boutros-Ghali
“From 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair.” William Blum
“We need a type of patriotism that recognizes the virtues of those who are opposed to us. We must get away from the idea that America is to be the leader of the world in everything. She can lead in some things. The old “manifest destiny” idea ought to be modified so that each nation has the manifest destiny to do the best it can - and that without cant, without the assumption of self-righteousness and with a desire to learn to the uttermost from other nations.” Francis John McConnell
“If there is one principle more deeply rooted in the mind of every American, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest.” Thomas Jefferson
“The Framers of the Bill of Rights did not purport to ‘create’ rights. Rather, they designed the Bill of Rights to prohibit our Government from infringing rights and liberties presumed to be preexisting.” Justice William J. Brennan, 1982