Friday, June 13, 2008

Who said that?

An American President said this:

I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.

Without Googling, who said it?

Discuss.

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9 comments:

Justin said...

Comment with civility and with respect, please -- wherever you are in the world.

John said...

It's Lincoln, right?

And, speaking from the southland, let's be thoughtful before we canonize him. He wasn't Wilberforce...

Justin said...

Right, John.

Let me say right up -- I don't understand the quote. Or rather, I thought it was going to be a negative quote. But a quick Google search suggests that everyone I read thinks its a good philosophy!

Help me to know why this is a good approach...

John said...

Isn't that a bit ironic in light of a modern administration?

But seriously, the quote appeals to that rugged American indvidualism of the rogue cowboy. Not that Lincoln is John Wayne, but we Americans idolize people who don't care what anybody thinks about them. We even dub them "cool", the American version of knighthood.

That is as long as we like what they stand for. The quote from Lincoln is read in a postive light because we think that's the attitude that ended slavery (which is dubious history).

But the Bush administration provides a lovely counter example. Without quite the eloquence of Lincoln, President Bush has made similar statements. But instead of slavery, we associate President Bush with nepotism and a bungled war. If Lincoln converted us to civic religion, Bush has made atheists out of many.

So the lesson is that America will love you if you don't care what anybody thinks as long as it agrees with cultural opinion and history.

nathanjameslee said...

Is it not a comment on personal integrity? (Granted I don't know the context...)

Edo of the No-Blog said...

Jed Bartlett?

Benjamin Ady said...

It's definitely impossible. I'm positive there is no one who has zero friends who likes their self.

Lincoln is supposed to be this great hero, but I totally don't buy it. If Lincoln had failed to forcefully reunite the states, then would the U.S. have become the only nation to ever deploy nuclear weapons against civilian populations? I doubt it. My uncle says then Hitler would have won World War II. But I doubt that too, because the things that *led* to Hitler's rise, and the things that *led* to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor, would also have been different.

Anyway--again, it's impossible.

Edmo of the No-Blog said...

No, no, I've got it, Bill Clinton. But what is Monica...oh never mind. Sorry, my bad.

baker st jones said...

It's a nice quote. I don't think he either intends or expects to end his presidency friendless, he's just looking to put "right" before "popular".