I’ve been quiet on Southern Exposure for the past few weeks.
I’ll confess that for much of that time, I knew there was nothing I could say that would be half as riveting and certainly not even a millionth as horrifying as the events on the news.
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent many hours reading newspapers or watching television news. While Inauguration Day is supposed to be a joyous, hopeful occasion, many people–too many of whom we previously elected to office–have made sure this one can’t be. Instead of joy we have more troops offering protection in our nation’s capital this week than we have in Iraq and Afghanistan.
So in honor of this occasion, brought to us by the same democracy that rioters tried to destroy on January 6th, I’m sharing quotes from our former presidents. History hasn’t always dealt kindly with these men, but their bits of wisdom are worth a lot. Some of them are particularly relevant today.
And yes, there’s one humorous quote, which was meant to be funny when George W Bush uttered it. His words gave me a smile and reminded me how tough the job can be.
“Ninety-nine percent of failures come from people who make excuses.” ― George Washington
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams
“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” ― Thomas Jefferson
“It’s easier to do a job right, than to explain why you didn’t.” ― Martin Van Buren
“I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.” — Abraham Lincoln
“There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It really matters very little whether they are behind the wheel of a truck or running a business or bringing up a family. They teach the truth by living it.” ― James Garfield
“An honorable defeat is better than a dishonorable victory.” — Millard Fillmore
“Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.” — Calvin Coolidge
“The only man who makes no mistake is the man who does nothing.” — Theodore Roosevelt
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”
“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” — Harry S. Truman
“Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.” — John F. Kennedy
“A president’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right.” — Lyndon Johnson
“We become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams.” ― Jimmy Carter
“I frankly felt like the reception we received on the way in from the airport was very warm and hospitable. And I want to thank the Canadian people who came out to wave — with all five fingers — for their hospitality.” ―
“The future rewards those who press on. I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I don’t have time to complain. I’m going to press on.” — Barack Obama
Let’s all press on together now. One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Welcome Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the most difficult jobs in the world.