A TRIBUTE TO THOSE WARRIORS OF THE AMERICAN POLITICAL PROCESS

I have just been reminded by a scene in a television show of the words of a speech made by President Theodore Roosevelt which I offer tonight as a tribute to all the happy, and not so happy, warriors who participated in the recent presidential election as candidates, workers, or simply as voters.   Winners, losers, participants lend me your ears as we are all winners.  We are winners not because our particular candidate won but rather because (to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt) we have spent ourselves in a worthy cause; and for those whose efforts resulted in a winning candidate they best know the triumph of high achievement, and for those whose efforts resulted in a losing candidate they at least have failed while daring greatly.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.[1]

As for those of us who have been disappointed let us never surrender our principles.  Let us respect the Office of President while at the same time advocating vigorously for what we believe to be the best way to achieve a great America.  An America in which the poor, the sick and the helpless have nothing to fear, in which all are afforded the opportunity to prosper and engage in the pursuit of happiness regardless of race, religious affiliation, or ethnicity and in which greed and overreaching by the powerful and wealthy is regulated and held in check.  To this end I enlist your continued advocacy for those principles in which you truly believe.  To add emphasis to this urging I employ the words of another great statesman: Sir Winston Churchill quoting from the peroration[2] portion of his speech of 16 June 1940:

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. [3]

I urge that you apply the stirring words of this speech “metaphorically”.  I am not making a call to war or physical violence but war in the sense of advocating for heartfelt principle via peaceful lawful means.

Respect the President elect and grant him the opportunity to rule and be the kind of President who represents all of the United States and who does so in a manner worthy of respect here and in the world community.  But, also, in the words of Sir Winston “…go on to the end” advocating for your heartfelt principles and your vision of what government should be never surrendering to bullying or trick.

May the Lord Almighty bless this land and bring it to its true promise.

 

[1] “The Man in the Arena” an excerpt from the speech “Citizenship in a Republic” Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

[2]  The peroratio (“peroration”), as the final part of a speech, had two main purposes in classical rhetoric: to remind the audience of the main points of the speech (recapitulatio) and to influence their emotions (affectus). The role of the peroration was defined by Greek writers on rhetoric, who called it epilogos; but it is most often associated with Roman orators, who made frequent use of emotional appeals.

[3] Winston Churchill, Peroration of his 4 June 1940 to the House of Commons delivered while  Prime Minster.

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