Thursday, January 28, 2016

Churchill, Democracy...and Sarah Palin


I enjoy a sharp mind, especially when combined with an equally sharp wit. And none is better at combining these two qualities than the venerable Winston Churchill. He was often very astute and serious, even prescient at times; but he was also more often than not a hoot:

 "I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."

 

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."



"There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true."

 

http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1306133803p5/14033.jpgThere are many more quotes to be had by Sir Winston and I encourage you to seek them out on the internet. But beware, many sites misquote him. For example Churchill is often cited for this half-tongue-in-cheek criticism of  democracy:

"Indeed democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried."

What he actually said was: 
  
"Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

He is clearly quoting someone else.

And be warned that there are popular quotes out there attributed to him that he never said. One of the most famous is:

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
  
Evidently, he never said this. This demonstrates two caveats when using the internet as a source of information. First, information is not always reliable. And second, many sources do not realize that the information is not reliable. Thus, always remember the rule of Lincoln:
 
I'm actually disappointed that Winston Churchill didn't make that statement about the average voter. I had stumbled upon a wonderful quote attributed to Sarah Palin and it immediately caused me to think of this quote -- erroneously attributed to Churchill.

Recently she was on national television offering her endorsement of Donald Trump to be president of the United States. I found this quote by her on one of my favorite blogs. She is reputed to have said:
 
"Trump’s candidacy,” announced Ms. Palin, “it has exposed not just that tragic ramifications of that betrayal of the transformation of our country, but too, he has exposed the complicity on both sides of the aisle that has enabled it, okay?"
 
What is she saying? As the author of the article states "We don't know." I agree. I can't make heads or tails of it. But what is significant is that many American voters will find it meaningful! Hence my reference to that non-quote by Winston Churchill.

I hate to say this, but this upcoming election is a circus. This causes me to ask if our system is simply broken or is the current batch of candidates simply a reflection of what we've become as a nation?

You tell me. But it is for a reason that every year I seem to become less and less a participant and more and more an observer.