Our strength lies, not alone in our proving grounds and our stockpiles, but in our ideals, our goals, and their universal appeal to all men who are struggling to breathe free.
I’m not an old, experienced hand at politics. But I am now seasoned enough to have learned that the hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.
In youth, everything seems possible; but we reach a point in the middle years when we realize that we are never going to reach all the shining goals we had set for ourselves. And in the end, most of us reconcile ourselves, with what grace we can, to living with our ulcers and arthritis, our sense of partial failure, our less-than-ideal families—and even our politicians!
We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.
What do I believe? As an American I believe in generosity, in liberty, in the rights of man. These are social and political faiths that are part of me, as they are, I suppose, part of all of us. Such beliefs are easy to express. But part of me too is my relation to all life, my religion. And this is not so easy to talk about. Religious experience is highly intimate and, for me, ready words are not at hand.
We should be careful and discriminating in all the advice we give. We should be especially careful in giving advice that we would not think of following ourselves. Most of all, we ought to avoid giving counsel which we don’t follow when it damages those who take us at our word.
It’s hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.
If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. The free mind is not a barking dog, to be tethered on a ten-foot chain.
Freedom is not an ideal, it is not even a protection, if it means nothing more than freedom to stagnate, to live without dreams, to have no greater aim than a second car and another television set.
Understanding human needs is half the job of meeting them.
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Madeleine Albright Czech-born American Diplomat
- Henry Kissinger American Diplomat
- Carlos P. Romulo Philippine Diplomat
- Lyndon B. Johnson American Head of State
- Hubert Humphrey American Head of State
- R. James Woolsey, Jr. American Diplomat
- John Foster Dulles American Lawyer
- Douglas MacArthur American Military Leader
- Romain Gary French Diplomat
- Pablo Neruda Chilean Poet