Wit and Wisdom

Allies We will frighten no Russians by threatening our Allies. America America is much more than a geographical fact. It is a political and moral fact--the first community in which men set out in principle to institutionalize freedom, responsible government, and human equality. There is a New America every morning when we wake up. It is upon us whether we will it or not. Adlai E. Stevenson Jr. American Dream "Who shall say that the American dream is ended? For myself, I believe that all we have done upon this continent is but a prelude." Adlai E. Stevenson Jr(Fall, 1952) Atom There is no evil in the atom; only in men's souls. It is odd that one of the keys to abundance should have been handed to civilation on a platter of destruction. Beauty and Charm "A beauty is a woman you notice; a charmer is one who notices you."
Candidates The idea that you can merchandise candidates for high office like breakfast cereal - that you can gather votes like box tops - is, I think, the ultimate indignity to the democratic process. Stevenson 1956 Democratic Acceptance Speech Challenge The challenge to all of us is to prove that a free society can remain free, humane, and creative, even when it is under heavy and ruthless fire; that it can combat poverty, injustice, and intolerance in its own midst, even while resisting a monstrous foreign despotism; and that it can give men a glimpse of serenity and hope, even while calling on them for sacrifice. Communism Communism is the corruption of a dream of justice. Communism knows no God, and cannot satisfy the hungry heart. Confuse Only men who confuse themselfs with God would dare to pretend in this anguished and bloody era that they know the exact road to the promised land. Courage Courage to do the right thing in public office is often at the price of the office. It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them. Adlai Stevenson, 8-27-1952 Cowardice It's the hardest thing in the world. I can think, personally, of no worse punishment than somehow to be confronted with one's own cowardice. Defeat Defeat begins in the heart... we must not allow the recklessness of despair to find any lodging in our hearts. Democracy Self-criticism is the secret wepon of democracy, and the candor and confession are good for the public soul. Adlai Stevenson, Democratic National Convention, 1952 Democrat The Democratic Party is the people's party, not the labor party, not the farmer's party, not the employers' party-- It is the party of no one because it is the party of everyone.
Eggheads Eggheads, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your yolks. Education The university is the archive of the Western ideal, the keeper of the Western culture, the guardian of our heritage, the dwelling place of the free mind, the teacher of teachers. Adlai Stevenson
Elections There are worse things than losing an election. The worst thing is to lose one's convictions and not tell the people the truth. Stevenson 1956 Enonomy It is not possible for this nation to be at once politically internationalist and economically isolationist. This is just as insane as asking one Siamese twin to high dive while the other plays the piano. Adlai Stevenson, 1952
Faith and Fear The struggle between faith and fear will decide the destiny of our nation. Family The woman who started it all, the head of the greatest employment agency in America. Adlai Stevenson on Rose Kennedy. First Principle "The first principle of a free society is an untrammeled flow of words in an open forum." Adlai E. Stevenson Source: New York Times, 19 January 1962
Free Press A free society means a society based on free competition and there is no more important competition than competition in ideas, competition in opinion. This form of competition is essential to the preservation of a free press. The rock bottom foundation of a free press is the integrity of the people who run it. Our press may make a million mistakes without doing itself permanent harm so long as its proprietors are steadfast in their adherence to truth. An editor is one who separates the wheat from the chaff, and then prints the chaff. Adlai Stevenson The sources of information are the springs from which democracy drinks. Adlai Stevenson Forgiveness I believe in the forgiveness of sin and the redemption of ignorance. Adlai E. Stevenson Jr., retort to a heckler asking him to state his beliefs, Time, November 1, 1963
Hair It's awfully hard for a man in my condition to talk about hair. I'm at somewhat of a disadvantage, as you see. Idealism But I guess...I'm like the everlasting optimist who fell off the skyscraper. As he passed the twentieth floor, the horrified spectators in the windows heard him shout, 'So far so good!' " Adlai Stevenson Knowledge If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is no barking dog to be tethered on a ten-foot chain. Adlai Stevenson Speech at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, October 8, 1952 Liberty Most of us favor free enterprise for business. Let us also favor free enterprise for the mind. Adlai Stevenson, 8-27-52 My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular. Adlai Stevenson, 1952 Our strength lies, not alone in our proving grounds and our stockpiles, but in our ideals, our goals, and their universal appeal to all men who are struggling to breathe free. Adlai Stevenson The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions. Adlai Stevenson, 8-28-1952 Lie An abomination unto the Lord, but a very present help in time of trouble. Definition of a lie by Adlai Stevenson National Security There are no short cuts to national security. There are only short cuts to defeat. Our Mission Our mission is the prevention, not just the survival, of a major war... There are no Gibraltars, no fortresses impregnable to death or ideas any more. Presidency The Presidency is an office that "converts vanity to prayer". A funny thing happened to me on the way to the White House. Public Confidence Public confidence in the integrity of the Government is indispensable to faith in democracy; and when we lose faith in the system, we have lost faith in everything we fight and spend for. Adlai E. Stevenson Jr. Republicans If the Republicans stop telling lies about us, we will stop telling the truth about them. I have finally figured out what the Republican orators mean by what they call "moderate progressivism." All they mean is: "Don't just do something, Stand there." The Republicans have a "me too" candidate running on a "yes but" platform, advised by a "has been" staff. Retreat Retreat leads to retreat just as aggression leads to aggression in this still primitive international community.
Scapegoats Hunting scapegoats is not a foreign policy. Suckers You will find that the truth is often unpopular and the contest between agreeable fancy and disagreeable fact is unequal. For, in the vernacular, we Americans are suckers for good news. Adlai E. Stevenson Source:The Toastmaster's treasure Chest Thinking People During his 1956 presidential campaign, a woman called out to Adlai E Stevenson 'Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!' Stevenson called back 'That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!' Truth Let's talk sense to the American people. Let's tell them the truth, that there are no gains without pains, that we are now on the eve of great decisions, not easy decisions . . . but a long patient, costly struggle which alone can assure triumph over the great enemies of man -- war, poverty and tyranny -- and the assaults upon human dignity which are the most grievous consequences of each.'' Stevenson, 1952 Acceptance Speech
Tyranny The contest with tyranny is not a hundred-yard dash - It is a test of endurance. Words Words calculated to catch everyone may catch no one. Adlai Stevenson, 7-16-52 Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them. Adlai E. Stevenson Jr., quoted by Human Behavior, May 1978

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