I was in New Zealand during the presidential campaign and election, so I was not bludgeoned and spewed upon 24/7 by the campaigns.
Still, what little I heard and saw from Down Under was bad enough to leave me depressed, despondent and feeling dirty.
I think now would be a good time to find solace in commentary and humor of the past.
These quotes put things in perspective, and remind us that Democracy has never, ever been neat and tidy.
It’s barely tolerable.
But it beats all the rest, warts and all…
- “Democracy is worth dying for because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man.” — Ronald Reagan
- “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from inside the monkey cage.” — H.L. Mencken
- “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” — Winston Churchill
- “Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” – George Bernard Shaw
- “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” — Winston Churchill
- “Democracy means the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people.” — Oscar Wilde
- “Democracy is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.” — Plato
- “Tyranny naturally results out of democracy.” — Plato
- “To acquire immunity to eloquence is of the utmost importance for the citizens of democracy.” — Bertrand Russell
- “I confess to enjoy democracy immensely. It is comparably idiotic and hence incomparably amusing.” — H.L. Mencken
- “Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.” — James Bovard
- “Our country’s founders cherished liberty, not democracy.” — Ron Paul
- “The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is no neat, orderly or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion.” — Molly Ivins
- “Television has made dictatorship impossible but democracy unbearable.” — Shimon Peres
- “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” – H. L. Mencken
- “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” — John Adams.
- “The government, which was designed for the people, has got into the hands of the bosses and their employers, the special interests. An invisible empire has been set up above the forms democracy.” — Woodrow Wilson
- “The death of democracy is not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a slow extinction from apathy, indifference and under-nourishment.” — Robert Maynard Hutchins
- “Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.” — George Bernard Shaw
- “Our form of democracy is bribery on the highest scale.” — Gore Vidal
- “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” — Thomas Jefferson
- “I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy — but that could change.” — Dan Quayle
And while no humorist can really follow Dan Quayle, if anyone could, it would be Will Rogers, who said:
- “Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated.”
- “A fool and his money are soon elected.”
- “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘Nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”
- “Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing, and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even.”
- “Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”
- “About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation.”
- “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”
- “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.”
- “I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him ‘father’.”
- “The difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the Democrat is a cannibal they have to live off each other, while the Republicans, why, they live off the Democrats.”
- “This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.”
- “The more you observe politics, the more you’ve got to admit that each party is worse than the other.”
- “There ought to be one day – just one – when there is open season on senators.”
- “I’m not a member of any organized political party…. I’m a Democrat.”
- “Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they’d be Republicans.
- “On account of being a democracy run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government for four years, not matter what it does.”
- “There is only one redeeming thing about this whole election. It will be over at sundown, and let everybody pray that it’s not a tie, for we couldn’t go through with this thing again.”