I found this interesting; Theodore Roosevelt Quotes on Citizenship. Excerpt:
Enter the words of Theodore Roosevelt. Below you’ll find a small treasury of excerpts from some of the addresses he gave during his lifetime. When you look at anthologies of all his speeches, you find that the themes he hits in these selections were the ones he offered, with only slight alterations, over and over and over again, in every town and city he visited on country-crossing whistle stop tours. You’ll likely be surprised to find how much they resonate, and yet how almost foreign this kind of rhetoric sounds. One finds it impossible to imagine any modern politician speaking this way — using this lost language of virtue, and charging citizens towards both noble ideals and practical common sense.
TR’s words call to us from the dust — challenge us to revive what we haven’t even fully realized we’re missing, and to take responsibility for that which we claim to loathe in politics.
During this election, there has been plenty of head-shaking and tsk-tsking; all that seems foul is the fault of that “other” party, those “other” people who do not share one’s values. Or the problem is the poor slate of candidates, all of whom the average voter finds repugnant to varying degrees. Yet a people invariably gets exactly the candidates it deserves, and they emerge not from one segment of the population, but from the cultural milieu to which every single individual, on every side of the aisle, contributes.
Here are a few gems from the Bull Moose himself:
“No law will ever make a coward brave, a fool wise or a weakling strong. All the law can do is to shape things that no injustice shall be done by one to another and so that each man shall be given the chance to show the stuff that is in him.”
“The very last thing that an intelligent and self-respecting member of a democratic community should do is to reward any public man because that public man says he will get the private citizen something to which this private citizen is not entitled, or will gratify some emotion or animosity which this private citizen ought not to possess.”
“Remember that the greatness of the fathers becomes to the children a shameful thing if they use it only as an excuse for inaction instead of as a spur to effort for noble aims.“
“We live in a rough world, and good work in it can be done only by those who are not afraid to step down into the hurly burly to do their part in the dust and smoke of the arena. The man who is a good man, but who stays at home in his own parlor, is of small use. It is easy enough to be good, if you lead the cloistered life, which is absolutely free from temptation to do evil because there is no chance to do it.”
But here’s the real kicker, one of my favorite quotes from the man who has long been one of my personal heroes:
“The most successful politician is he who says what the people are thinking most often in the loudest voice.”
Think on that quote for a moment. Isn’t that what we just saw happen last fall? One man stood out in the 2016 Presidential election by giving voice, roughly, crudely and loudly, to what (obviously) a large enough plurality of voters were thinking – and that man now sits in the Imperial Mansion.
It’s probable – nay, likely – that a man of TR’s caliber would not today subject himself to the non-stop scrutiny and abuse that constitutes public life today. And that’s a shame, especially when you look at the general run of pols we have in the halls of power at this juncture; it would be hard to name a larger body of nitwits, poltroons and nincompoops that those that infest the halls of Congress today.
We still have Teddy’s words and deeds as a reminder. Would that more people took them to heart.