In my teen years, I took a summer school class in typing at the Chicago public high school, Carl Schurz, where my father worked as head football coach. If recollection serves, I was the only male in a sea of female students, 20 or so. Nonetheless I loved learning how to type and later, writing for The Associated Press, my typing speed soared into the 90 words-per-minute range.
A great asset and one that serves me well to this day.
In that summer school class, the sentence we typed over and over for practice was the following: Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.
In our politically correct mode these days, “men” would probably be substituted for with “people.” Nonetheless, the sentence has been stuck in my mind all these years, and with the rash of scandalous revelations about the Trump presidency, my old typing practice axiom seems to capture a critical need of our times.
Thus have I been moved to rustle up a clutch of classic quotes from yesteryear. The quotes provide counterpoints to much of what our 45th president, Donald J. Trump, has been doing, saying and trying to defend.
For Trump’s unmatched track record of nearly 14,000 lies since taking office (according to The Washington Post’s fact checkers), we have this:
“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.” – Sir Walter Scott.
For his slams on the free press and the bringing to light of so much underhanded dealing in matters both domestic and foreign (the quid pro quo — “arms for dirt” — with Ukrainian authorities being only the latest), I am happy to cite:
“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should unhesitatingly prefer the latter.” — Thomas Jefferson.
For the Trumpian goal of building a wall across our entire southern border and limiting the flow into our country of even legal immigrants, we have the crystalizing lyrics of Emma Lazarus’ poem etched into the base of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor:
“Here at our sea-washed sunset gates shall stand/
“A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame/
“Is the imprisoned lighting and her name/
“Mother of Exiles. From her beacon hand/
“Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command/
“The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame/
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she/
“With silent lips, “Give me your tired, your poor/
“Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free/
“The wretched refuse of your teeming shores/
“Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me/
“I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”
For all the challenges to the rule of law and adherence to the U.S. Constitution, we have my favorite lines from our patriotic anthem “America the Beautiful.”
“Confirm thy soul in self control, thy liberty in law.”
And in defense of our signal post-war alliances with the UK and other NATO nations and our partnership with the Kurds in combatting the terrorist group known as ISIS, let us not forget:
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” — John F. Kennedy