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Coaches Hot Seat Quotes of the Day – Saturday, December 15, 2012 – Robert F. Kennedy

Coaches Hot Seat Quotes of the Day – Saturday, December 15, 2012 – Robert F. Kennedy

“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

And

“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”

And

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

And

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.”

And

“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”

And

“The problem of power is how to achieve its responsible use rather than its irresponsible and indulgent use — of how to get men of power to live for the public rather than off the public.”

And

“Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on.”

And

“A revolution is coming — a revolution which will be peaceful if we are wise enough; compassionate if we care enough; successful if we are fortunate enough — But a revolution which is coming whether we will it or not. We can affect its character; we cannot alter its inevitability.”

And

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation.”

And

“Every dictatorship has ultimately strangled in the web of repression it wove for its people, making mistakes that could not be corrected because criticism was prohibited.”

And

Something about the fact that I made some contribution to either my country, or those who were less well off. I think back to what Camus wrote about the fact that “perhaps this world is a world in which children suffer, but we can lessen the number of suffering children, and if you do not do this, then who will do this? I’d like to feel that I’d done something to lessen that suffering.”

And

The below speech was given by Robert F. Kennedy the day after the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination. Delivered at the City Club of Cleveland, Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968.

“This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs.”

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far-off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire whatever weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others.
Some Americans who preach non-violence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear: violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is the slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.
I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this, there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is not what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of others. We must admit in ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanquish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.”

And

“Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why’? I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not’?” Robert Kennedy made this quotation famous during his 1968 Presidential campaign. Although he apparently used it on several occasions as a kind of slogan, the only occasion for which we have been able to find documentation is his speech at the University of Kansas on March 18, 1968. In its original form, the quotation was said by the serpent in George Bernard Shaw’s play Back to Methuselah , and was used by President Kennedy in his Speech to the Irish Parliament on June 28, 1963: “Speaking as an Irishman [Shaw] summed up an approach to life: ‘Other people,’ he said, ‘see things and say: why – but I dream things that never were and say: why not.'”

And

“On this generation of Americans falls the burden of proving to the world that we really mean it when we say all men are created free and are equal before the law. All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.” Speech, Law Day Exercises of the University of Georgia Law School, May 6, 1961.

And

“The future is not a gift: it is an achievement. Every generation helps make its own future. This is the essential challenge of the present.” Address, Seattle World’s Fair, August 7, 1962.

And

“Since the days of Greece and Rome when the word ‘citizen’ was a title of honor, we have often seen more emphasis put on the rights of citizenship than on its responsibilities. And today, as never before in the free world, responsibility is the greatest right of citizenship and service is the greatest of freedom’s privileges.” Speech, University of San Francisco Law School, San Francisco, California, September 29, 1962.

And

“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” Speech, Athens, Georgia, May 6, 1961.”All great questions must be raised by great voices, and the greatest voice is the voice of the people – speaking out – in prose, or painting or poetry or music; speaking out – in homes and halls, streets and farms, courts and cafes – let that voice speak and the stillness you hear will be the gratitude of mankind.” Address, New York City, January 22, 1963.

And

“When he shall die take him and cut him out into stars and he shall 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.” Quoting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at the Democratic National Convention, 8/27/64.

And

“President Kennedy’s favorite quote was really from Dante : ‘The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.'” Columbia University/Barnard Democratic Club, 10/5/64.

And

“And as long as America must choose, that long will there be a need and a place for the Democratic Party. We Democrats can run on our record but we cannot rest on it. We will win if we continue to take the initiative and if we carry the message of hope and action throughout the country. Alexander Smith once said, ‘A man doesn’t plant a tree for himself. He plants it for posterity.’ Let us continue to plant, and our children shall reap the harvest. That is our destiny as Democrats.” Testimonial Dinner for Lieutenant Governor Patrick J. Lucey of Wisconsin, August 15, 1965.

And

“Democracy is no easy form of government. Few nations have been able to sustain it. For it requires that we take the chances of freedom; that the liberating play of reason be brought to bear of events filled with passion; that dissent be allowed to make its appeal for acceptance; that men chance error in their search for the truth.” Statement on Vietnam, February 19, 1966.

And

“Only those who dare to fail greatly, can ever achieve greatly.” Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966.

And

“We must recognize the full human equality of all our people – before God, before the law, and in the councils of government. We must do this not because it is economically advantageous – although it is; not because the laws of God and man command it – although they do command it; not because people in other lands wish it so. We must do it for the single and fundamental reason that it is the right thing to do.” Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown, South African, June 6, 1966.

And

“Nations, like men, often march to the beat of different drummers, and the precise solutions of the United States can neither be dictated nor transplanted to others. What is important is that all nations must march toward a increasing freedom; toward justice for all; toward a society strong and flexible enough to meet the demands of all of its own people, and a world of immense and dizzying change.” Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown, South African, June 6, 1966.

And

“This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.” Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966.

And

“Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of the events, and in the total of all these acts will be written the history of this generation…It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown, South Africa, June 6, 1966.

And

“The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the great enterprises and ideals of American society.” Address, University of California at Berkeley, October 22, 1966.

And

“The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country.” Address, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 24, 1967.

And

“If we fail to dare, if we do not try, the next generation will harvest the fruit of our indifference; a world we did not want – a world we did not choose – but a world we could have made better, by caring more for the results of our labors. And we shall be left only with the hollow apology of T.S. Eliot: ‘That is not what I meant at all. That is not it, at all’.” 8/23/67, Americana Hotel, New York, N.Y.

And

“Perhaps we cannot prevent this world from being a world in which children are tortured. But we can reduce the number of tortured children. And if you don’t help us, who else in the world can help us do this?” From Albert Camus. Appears on the dedication page of Robert F. Kennedy’s last book, To Seek a Newer World (Doubleday, 1967).

And

“Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product…if we should judge American by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

And

“Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.” Address, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, March 18, 1968.

And

“I am glad to come to the University of Alabama. I’m delighted to see the inside of this building. I didn’t think it meant anything that they snuck me around the back way. They said someone was waiting out in front there.” March 21, 1968.

And

“Aeschylus wrote: In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God. What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or they be black. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of the world. Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.” Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Indianapolis, Indiana, April 4, 1968. Additional detail .

And

“What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.
“No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason.

And

“Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.” On the Mindless Menace of Violence, Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968.

And

“I think we can end the divisions within the United States. What I think is quite clear is that we can work together in the last analysis. And that what has been going on with the United States over the period of that last three years, the divisions, the violence, the disenchantment with our society, the divisions- whether it’s between blacks and whites, between the poor and the more affluent, or between age groups, or in the war in Vietnam – that we can work together. We are a great country, and unselfish country and a compassionate country. And I intend to make that my basis for running.” California Victory Speech, Los Angeles, California, June 4, 1968.

Wikipedia:  Robert F. Kennedy

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