HARVARD SQUARE COMMENTARY

October 8, 2007
Wisdom from Polonius


With Thoughts to Barack and His Pin


Lewis H. Lapham

Talk about the flag or drugs or crime (never about race or class or justice) and follow the yellow brick road to the wonderful land of “consensus.” In place of honest argument among consenting adults the politicians substitute a lullaby for frightened children: the pretense that conflict doesn’t really exist, that we have achieved the blessed state in which ... we no longer need politics.


William Manchester

Men … do not fight for flag or country, for the Marine Corps or glory or any other abstraction. They fight for one another. [And] if you came through this ordeal, you would age with dignity.


Victoria Secunda

The Depression era generation of mothers, reared on the values of flag, Mom, and apple pie, believed in self-sacrifice and commitment to others. For them, the worst fate was to be independent: a spinster, or married to a man who couldn’t support his family on his salary alone, and have to work. Their daughters, jolted by Vietnam, the sexual revolution, and feminism, were largely committed to themselves. For them, the worst fate was to be dependent.


William Shakespeare

Though I do hate him as I do hell pains,
Yet, for necessity of present life,
I must show out a flag and sign of love,
Which is indeed but sign.


Rufus Choate

We join ourselves to no party that does not carry the flag and keep step to the music of the Union.


Herbert Gold

Sometimes he advertises himself assiduously, writing a few words and then rushing to the talk show to wave his flag.


Ronald Reagan

Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn’t get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying—go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I’m trying to get … I’ll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future.


Anna Howard Shaw

What is Americanism? Every one has a different answer. Some people say it is never to submit to the dictation of a King. Others say Americanism is the pride of liberty and the defence of an insult to the flag with their gore. When some half-developed person tramples on that flag, we should be ready to pour out the blood of the nation, they say. But do we not sit in silence when that flag waves over living conditions which should be an insult to all patriotism?


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