United States Of America Quotes

Quotes tagged as "united-states-of-america" (showing 1-30 of 138)
Colson Whitehead
“And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes--believes with all its heart--that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.”
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“You may have heard the talk of diversity, sensitivity training, and body cameras. These are all fine and applicable, but they understate the task and allow the citizens of this country to pretend that there is real distance between their own attitudes and those of the ones appointed to protect them. The truth is that the police reflect America in all of its will and fear, and whatever we might make of this country’s criminal justice policy, it cannot be said that it was imposed by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are the product of democratic will. And so to challenge the police is to challenge the American people who send them into the ghettos armed with the same self-generated fears that compelled the people who think they are white to flee the cities and into the Dream. The problem with the police is not that they are fascist pigs but that our country is ruled by majoritarian pigs.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Lyndon B. Johnson
“Ask him about the cemeteries, Dean!"

In 1966 upon being told that President Charles DeGaulle had taken France out of NATO and that all U.S. troops must be evacuated off of French soil President Lyndon Johnson mentioned to Secretary of State Dean Rusk that he should ask DeGaulle about the Americans buried in France. Dean implied in his answer that that DeGaulle should not really be asked that in the meeting at which point President Johnson then told Secretary of State Dean Rusk:

"Ask him about the cemeteries Dean!"

That made it into a Presidential Order so he had to ask President DeGaulle.

So at end of the meeting Dean did ask DeGaulle if his order to remove all U.S. troops from French soil also included the 60,000+ soldiers buried in France from World War I and World War II.

DeGaulle, embarrassed, got up and left and never answered.”
Lyndon B. Johnson

Thurgood Marshall
“We cannot play ostrich. Democracy just cannot flourish amid fear. Liberty cannot bloom amid hate. Justice cannot take root amid rage. America must get to work. In the chill climate in which we live, we must go against the prevailing wind. We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust. We must dissent from a nation that has buried its head in the sand, waiting in vain for the needs of its poor, its elderly, and its sick to disappear and just blow away. We must dissent from a government that has left its young without jobs, education or hope. We must dissent from the poverty of vision and the absence of moral leadership. We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better.”
Thurgood Marshall

Sierra D. Waters
“No amount of me trying to explain myself was doing any good. I didn't even know what was going on inside of me, so how could I have explained it to them?”
Sierra D. Waters, Debbie.

Charles M. Blow
“Trump’s America is not America: not today’s or tomorrow’s, but yesterday’s.

Trump’s America is brutal, perverse, regressive, insular and afraid. There is no hope in it; there is no light in it. It is a vast expanse of darkness and desolation.

And that is a vision of America that most of the people in this country cannot and will not abide.”
Charles M. Blow

“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please but as the opportunity to do what is right.”
Peter Marshall

Sierra D. Waters
“Today I wore a pair of faded old jeans and a plain grey baggy shirt. I hadn't even taken a shower, and I did not put on an ounce of makeup. I grabbed a worn out black oversized jacket to cover myself with even though it is warm outside. I have made conscious decisions lately to look like less of what I felt a male would want to see. I want to disappear.”
Sierra D. Waters, Debbie.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
“For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up. We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace--business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Paul Beatty
“Dumbfounded, I stood before the court, trying to figure out if there was a state of being between “guilty” and “innocent.” Why were those my only alternatives? I thought. Why couldn’t I be “neither” or “both”?

After a long pause, I finally faced the bench and said, “Your Honor, I plead human.”
Paul Beatty, The Sellout

Kurt Vonnegut
“I think it's terrible the way people don't share things in this country. I think it's a heartless government that will let one baby be born owning a big piece of the country, the way I was born, and let another baby be born without owning anything. The least a government could do, it seems to me, is to divide things up fairly among the babies.”
Kurt Vonnegut, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

James  Jones
“They shouldnt teach their immigrants' kids all about democracy unless they mean to let them have a little bit of it, it ony makes for trouble. Me and the United States is dissociating our alliance as of right now, until the United States can find time to read its own textbooks a little.”
James Jones, From Here to Eternity

James T. Farrell
“America is so vast that almost everything said about it is likely to be true, and the opposite is probably equally true.”
James T. Farrell

Robert H. Jackson
“Struggles to coerce uniformity of sentiment in support of some end thought essential to their time and country have been waged by many good as well as by evil men. Nationalism is a relatively recent phenomenon but at other times and places the ends have been racial or territorial security, support of a dynasty or regime, and particular plans for saving souls. As first and moderate methods to attain unity have failed, those bent on its accomplishment must resort to an ever-increasing severity. . . . Those who begin coercive elimination of dissent soon find themselves exterminating dissenters. Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard.

It seems trite but necessary to say that the First Amendment to our Constitution was designed to avoid these ends by avoiding these beginnings. There is no mysticism in the American concept of the State or of the nature or origin of its authority. We set up government by consent of the governed, and the Bill of Rights denies those in power any legal opportunity to coerce that consent. Authority here is to be controlled by public opinion, not public opinion by authority.

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
Robert H. Jackson

James  Jones
“I like it too," Angelo said. "I love this country. Much you and anybody, and you know it."

"I know it," Prew said.

"But I still hate this country. You love the Army. But I dont love the Army. This country's Army is why I hate this country. What did this country ever do for me? Gimme a right to vote for men I cant elect? You can have it. Gimme a right to work at a job I hate? You can have that too. Then tell I'm a Citizen of the greatest richest country on earth, if I dont believe it look at Park Avenue. Carnival prizes. All carnival prizes. [..] They shouldnt teach their immigrants' kids all about democracy unless they mean to let them have a little bit of it, it ony makes for trouble. Me and the United States is dissociating our alliance as of right now, until the United States can find time to read its own textbooks a little."

Prew thought, a little sickly, of the little book, The Man Without A Country that his mother used to read to him so often, and how the stern patriotic judge condemned the man to live on a warship where no one could ever mention home to him the rest of his whole life, and how he had always felt that pinpoint of pleased righteous anger at seeing the traitor get what he deserved.”
James Jones, From Here to Eternity

Martin Luther King Jr.
“We are going to win our freedom because both the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of the Almighty God are embodied in our echoing demands. So however difficult it is during this period, however difficult it is to continue to live with the agony and the continued existence of racism, however difficult it is to live amidst the constant hurt, the constant insult and the constant disrespect, I can still sing we shall overcome. We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice.

We shall overcome because Carlisle is right. "No lie can live forever." We shall overcome because William Cullen Bryant is right. "Truth crushed to earth will rise again." We shall overcome because James Russell Lowell is right. "Truth forever on the scaffold, wrong forever on the throne."   Yet that scaffold sways the future. We shall overcome because the Bible is right.  "You shall reap what you sow." With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when all of God's children all over this nation - black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old negro spiritual, "Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, We are Free At Last.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Tod Wodicka
“The country was a dreamland; and perhaps it even reminded my wife's grandfather of the night he woke up drunk in his friend's house, beside his friend's wife, everything similar but new, different, better. The United States of America was like an eternity of those first disorientating seconds of not knowing and not wanting to.”
Tod Wodicka, All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well

David Hackett Fischer
“Fiddlesticks!” Rall replied. “These clodhoppers will not attack us, and should they do so, we will simply fall on them and rout them.”58 (on describing that they had nothing to fear from the COlonists of New Jersey before the night of December 25, 1776; when Washington and his men crossed the Deleware.)”
David Hackett Fischer

James Weldon Johnson
“And this is the dwarfing, warping, distorting influence which operates upon each and every colored man in the United States. He is forced to take his outlook on all things, not from the viewpoint of a citizen, or a man, or even a human being, but from the viewpoint of a colored man. It is wonderful to me that the race has progressed so broadly as it has, since most of its thought and all of its activity must run through the narrow neck of this one funnel.”
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Nikki Giovanni
“This country is a land mass that could be called anything, and for people to act like this is some kind of sacred territory is an insanity. It's just a bunch of people trying to live together, and if we're not going to be part of a dream of equality--a part of a dream of that which is the best of us, the idea that people help one another--if we're not going to do that, then this land mass doesn't any more deserve to be revered than anything else.”
Nikki Giovanni, Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Like My Sister Kate: Looking At The Harlem Renaissance Through Poems

“The combined effects of growing inequality, a faltering education system, demographic headwinds, and the strong likelihood of a fiscal correction imply that the real median disposable income will grow much more slowly in the future than in the past.”
Robert J. Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War

“Since 2000, we have seen a sharp decline in growth in output per person and its two components—growth in productivity and in hours of work per person—after corrections for the ups and downs of the business cycle. Because the basic data are unambiguous in registering a significant and deepening growth slowdown, the book’s title, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, has become a statement of fact.”
Robert J. Gordon, The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War

“I came to realize that this was about more than not offering up what some of his opponents craved—the picture of the angry black man, or the lectures on race that fuel a sense of grievance among white voters. Obama also didn’t want to offer up gauzy words to make well-meaning white people feel better. The fact that he was a black president wasn’t going to bring life back to an unarmed black kid who was shot, or alter structural inequities in housing, education, and incarceration in our states and cities. It wasn’t going to change the investment of powerful interests in a system that sought to deny voting rights, or to cast people on food stamps working minimum wage jobs as “takers,” incapable of making it on their own. The “last person who ever thought that Barack Obama’s election was going to bring racial reconciliation and some “end of race” in America was Barack Obama. That was a white person’s concept imposed upon his campaign. I know because I was once one of them, taking delight in writing words about American progress, concluding in the applause line “And that is why I can stand before you as president of the United States.” But he couldn’t offer up absolution for America’s racial sins, or transform American society in four or eight years.”
Ben Rhodes, The World As It Is: Inside the Obama White House

“Racism was a constant presence and absence in the Obama White House. We didn’t talk about it much. We didn’t need to—it was always there, everywhere, like white noise. It was there when Obama said that it was stupid for a black professor to be arrested in his own home and got criticized for days while the white police officer was turned into a victim. It was there when a white Southern member of Congress yelled “You lie!” at Obama while he addressed a joint session of Congress. It was there when a New York reality show star built an entire political brand on the idea that Obama wasn’t born in the United States, an idea that was covered as national news for months and is still believed by a majority of Republicans. It was there in the way Obama was talked about in the right-wing media, which spent eight years insisting that he hated America, disparaging his every move, inventing scandals where there were none, attacking him for any time that he took off from work. It was there in the social media messages I got that called him a Kenyan monkey, a boy, a Muslim. And it was there in the refusal of Republicans in Congress to work with him for eight full years, something that Obama was also blamed for no matter what he did. One time, Obama invited congressional Republicans to attend a screening of Lincoln in the White House movie theater—a Steven Spielberg film about how Abraham Lincoln worked with Congress to pass the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery. Not one of them came.”
Ben Rhodes, The World As It Is: Inside the Obama White House

Howard Zinn
“I was a Shoemaker, & got my living by my Labor. When this Rebellion come on, I saw some of my Neighbors got into Commission, who were no better than myself. I was very ambitious, & did not like to see those Men above me. I was asked to enlist as a private Soldier. . . I offered to enlist upon having a Lieutenants Commission; which was granted. I imagined my self now in a way of Promotion: if I was killed in Battle, there would be an end of me, but if my Captain was killed, I should rise in Rank, & should still have a Chance to rise higher. These Sir! were the only Motives of my entering into the Service; for as the Dispute between Great Britain & the colonies, I know nothing of it. . .”
Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States

Howard Zinn
“Speaking of California, the Illinois State Register asked: "Shall this garden of beauty be suffered to lie dormant in its wild and useless luxuriance? . . . myriads of enterprising Americans would flock to its rich and inviting prairies; the hum of Anglo-American industry would be heard in its valleys; cities would rise upon its plains and sea-coast, and the resources and wealth of the nation increased in an incalculable degree.”
Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States

Howard Zinn
“Some newspapers, at the very start of the war, protested. Horace Greeley wrote in the New York Tribune, May 12, 1846:

We can easily defeat the armies of Mexico, slaughter them by thousands, and pursue them perhaps to their capital; we can conquer and "annex" their territory; but what then? Have the histories of the ruin of Greek and Roman liberty consequent on such extensions of empire by the sword no lesson for us? Who believes that a score of victories over Mexico, the "annexation" of half her provinces, will give us more Liberty, a purer Morality, a more prosperous Industry, than we now have? . . . Is not Life miserable enough, comes not Death soon enough, without resort to the hideous enginery of War?”
Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States

Howard Zinn
“In 1868, the Georgia legislature voted to expel all its Negro members-two senators, twenty-five representatives-and Turner spoke to the Georgia House of Representatives (a black woman graduate student at Atlanta University later brought his speech to light):

Mr. Speaker. . . I wish the members of this House to understand the position that I take. I hold that I am a member of this body. Therefore, sir, I shall neither fawn or cringe before any party, nor stoop to beg them for my rights. . . I am here to demand my rights, and to hurl thunderbolts at the men who would dare to cross the threshold of my manhood.”
Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“America has always been aspirational to me.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A.K. Kuykendall
“Everything is going according to plan in this strategically fathomed notion of "country" where the population wholeheartedly believes in that fabled myth known as democracy. The corporations that profit from our endless war campaigns, who have a multifarious number of politicians at the top of their covert letterheads and on payroll always get what they pay for - a route to even more of our tax dollars. The status quo doesn't change with the election of any given politician, whether it be in the Senate, the Congress, or even the White House. This nation (i.e. notion) is, in and of itself, nothing but an ingeniously designed corporation that uses you and I to further perpetuate the myth of country, the myth of united, the myth of democracy, and the myth of patriotism. We have long passed the point where we the people sat on the tongue of this monstrosity. We now reside in the belly of the beast.”
A.K. Kuykendall

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