Monday, May 14, 2007

Crossing off the quotables

Recently, Texas Rep. Ted Poe, a Republican and a widely respected former judge, made a speech on the House floor. In it, he quoted Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest on how to win a war: "Get there firstest with the mostest," Poe quoted, and advising "Congress needs to send the generals the mostest, Mr. Speaker."

Good advice, I think we can agree. Unfortunately for Poe, Gen. Forrest was also an early figure in the post-war Ku Klux Klan, and the politically correct forces leapt into action to decry Poe, who was labeled by Bill O'Reilly's doppelganger Keith Olbermann as the "worst person in the world." A little overstatemnent perhaps, but that's how he --- and O'Reilly -- make their dough.

The reaction (or overreaction) to Poe's quoting a KKK figure, even though he was quoting him about military strategy in the Civil War, made me think A) Poe needs to employ a better speechwriter, but B) how many great men must we eliminate from our quotation list because they made a couple really bad choices in their lives?


"We have nothing to fear but fear itself."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt PHILANDERER!

"All men are created equal ..."
Thomas Jefferson SLAVE OWNER!

"I have a dream ..."
Martin Luther King Jr. PHILANDERER!

"Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes."

"All we are saying is give peace a chance."

"It is time for us to turn to each other, not on each other."
Jesse Jackson PHILANDERER!

And you can add to this list: John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant ... and so many more.

This politically correct hollering has gotten out of hand.


Chancelucky said...

I don't know that these personal sins compare to starting the Klan. I do agree in principle that there has to be some separation between deed, quote, and person simply because all humans are flawed in some significant way.

I'd point out that Forrest's side ultimately lost the war and that some see Gettysburg as Lee's attempt at a "surge", though obviously the circumstances were very different.

I frankly find it very strange that so many Republican politicians identify so strongly with the Confederacy in general though. I had always thought they took pride in being Lincoln's party.

Jill said...

I seem to remember a newspaper cartoon years ago called "pogo". In one episode the character said that "we have met the enemy, he is us." Hum...

Anonymous said...

To all of you who seem to think that Forrest was a hero, I hve two words: Fort Pillow.

Is it okay to quote Lt. William Calley?

Ron Franscell said...

All I know about Nathan Bedford Forrest is ... well, probably as much as you know. If Rep. Poe were quoting him on race relations, that'd be an undeniable faux pas, but he wasn't. He was quoting the general on a rather folksy military strategy: Firstest with the mostest.

I just don't want the forces of political correctness telling me whose wisdom is worth repeating. I quote MLK all the time ... although I probably wouldn't invoke him on issues of marital fidelity. I have occasionally quoted Bill Clinton, but probably never on how to get chicks.

So, yeah, if Lt. William Calley said something notable about the irrationality of war, or how to run a convenience store, you bet yer ass I'd quote him.

Roget's would be a one-page dictionary if all its quotations had to come only from unflawed men and women who passed muster with the insufferable know-it-alls who run PC-dom.

And you can quote me on that.