My country, 'tis of thee,Sweet land of liberty,Of thee I sing;Land where my fathers died,Land of the pilgrims' pride,From every mountainsideLet freedom ring!My native country, thee,Land of the noble free,Thy name I love;I love thy rocks and rills,Thy woods and templed hills;My heart with rapture thrills,Like that above.Let music swell the breeze,And ring from all the treesSweet freedom's song;Let mortal tongues awake;Let all that breathe partake;Let rocks their silence break,The sound prolong.Our father's God to Thee,Author of liberty,To Thee we sing.Long may our land be bright,With freedom's holy light,Protect us by Thy might,Great God our King.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.
I wish it were different. I wish that we privileged knowledge in politicians, that the ones who know things didn't have to hide it behind brown pants, and that the know-not-enoughs were laughed all the way to the Maine border on their first New Hampshire meet and greet. I wish that in order to secure his party's nomination, a presidential candidate would be required to point at the sky and name all the stars; have the periodic table of the elements memorized; rattle off the kings and queens of Spain; define the significance of the Gatling gun; joke around in Latin; interpret the symbolism in seventeenth-century Dutch painting; explain photosynthesis to a six-year-old; recite Emily Dickinson; bake a perfect popover; build a shortwave radio out of a coconut; and know all the words to Hoagy Carmichael's "Two Sleepy People," Johnny Cash's "Five Feet High and Rising," and "You Got the Silver" by the Rolling Stones. After all, the United States is the greatest country on earth dealing with the most complicated problems in the history of the world--poverty, pollution, justice, Jerusalem. What we need is a president who is at least twelve kinds of nerd, a nerd messiah to come along every four years, acquire the Secret Service code name Poindexter, install a Revenge of the Nerds screen saver on the Oval Office computer, and one by one decrypt our woes.