When he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
And those words will be forever associated in my mind with one man, who used them to describe his own deeply personal loss many decades ago. That is why, aside from paying respect to the victims of Newtown, this post is also a riddle. Nearly every word of this post comes from the speeches of one our nation's greatest lost leaders. I hope it can serve as a reminder that there used to be a time when our politicians spoke of humanity and hope instead of buffers. There was a time when our politicians were gladiators for liberty rather than community facilitators. There was a time when our environmental organizations weren't building their fortunes on the shattered dreams of others. There was a time when at least some of our leaders gave a damn about people.
Below is excerpted text from (what is in my opinion) one of the greatest speeches of the 20th century. I wonder how many can guess the identity of the speaker (or the speech title and location) without googling the answer. The answer will probably surprise some ... perhaps it will surprise many:
At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value, and all society, groups, the state, exist for his benefit. Therefore the enlargement of liberty for individual human beings must be the supreme goal and the abiding practice of any Western society.
The first element of this individual liberty is the freedom of speech: the right to express and communicate ideas, to set oneself apart from the dumb beasts of field and forest; to recall governments to their duties and obligations; above all, the right to affirm one's membership and allegiance to the body politic - to society - to the men with whom we share our land, our heritage, and our children's future.
Hand in hand with freedom of speech goes the power to be heard, to share in the decisions of government which shape men's lives. Everything that makes man's life worthwhile - family, work, education, a place to rear one's children and a place to rest one's head - all this depends on decisions of government; all can be swept away by a government which does not heed the demands of its people. Therefore, the essential humanity of men can be protected and preserved only where government must answer - not just to the wealthy, not just to those of a particular religion, or a particular race, but to all its people.
And even government by the consent of the governed, as in our own Constitution, must be limited in its power to act against its people; so that there may be no interference with the right to worship, or with the security of the home; no arbitrary imposition of pains or penalties by officials high or low; no restrictions on the freedom of men to seek education or work or opportunity of any kind, so that each man may become all he is capable of becoming.
These are the sacred rights of Western society.The posture of our current Council, and that of several candidates in our current election, is a betrayal of the principles espoused by those words.