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They shoot historians first

ksinger

Ideal_Rock
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I adore Ken Burns. He is not a filmmaker, he's a historian who happens to make films rather than writing books.

And through the lens historical knowledge, he gave this excellent and fiery speech at a Stanford commencement.

"For 216 years, our elections, though bitterly contested, have featured the philosophies and character of candidates who were clearly qualified," Burns said about halfway through his speech. "That is not the case this year. One is glaringly not qualified."

"So before you do anything with your well-earned degree, you must do everything you can to defeat the retrograde forces that have invaded our democratic process, divided our house, to fight against, no matter your political persuasion, the dictatorial tendencies of the candidate with zero experience in the much maligned but subtle art of governance; who is against lots of things, but doesn't seem to be for anything, offering only bombastic and contradictory promises, and terrifying Orwellian statements; a person who easily lies, creating an environment where the truth doesn't seem to matter; who has never demonstrated any interest in anyone or anything but himself and his own enrichment; who insults veterans, threatens a free press, mocks the handicapped, denigrates women, immigrants and all Muslims; a man who took more than a day to remember to disavow a supporter who advocates white supremacy and the Ku Klux Klan; an infantile, bullying man who, depending on his mood, is willing to discard old and established alliances, treaties and long-standing relationships. I feel genuine sorrow for the understandably scared and - they feel - powerless people who have flocked to his campaign in the mistaken belief that - as often happens on TV - a wand can be waved and every complicated problem can be solved with the simplest of solutions. They can't. It is a political Ponzi scheme. And asking this man to assume the highest office in the land would be like asking a newly minted car driver to fly a 747.

"As a student of history, I recognize this type. He emerges everywhere and in all eras. We see nurtured in his campaign an incipient proto-fascism, a nativist anti-immigrant Know Nothing-ism, a disrespect for the judiciary, the prospect of women losing authority over their own bodies, African Americans again asked to go to the back of the line, voter suppression gleefully promoted, jingoistic saber rattling, a total lack of historical awareness, a political paranoia that, predictably, points fingers, always making the other wrong. These are all virulent strains that have at times infected us in the past. But they now loom in front of us again - all happening at once. We know from our history books that these are the diseases of ancient and now fallen empires. The sense of commonwealth, of shared sacrifice, of trust, so much a part of American life, is eroding fast, spurred along and amplified by an amoral Internet that permits a lie to circle the globe three times before the truth can get started.

"We no longer have the luxury of neutrality or 'balance,' or even of bemused disdain. Many of our media institutions have largely failed to expose this charlatan, torn between a nagging responsibility to good journalism and the big ratings a media circus always delivers. In fact, they have given him the abundant airtime he so desperately craves, so much so that it has actually worn down our natural human revulsion to this kind of behavior. Hey, he's rich; he must be doing something right. He is not. Edward R. Murrow would have exposed this naked emperor months ago. He is an insult to our history. Do not be deceived by his momentary 'good behavior.' It is only a spoiled, misbehaving child hoping somehow to still have dessert.

"And do not think that the tragedy in Orlando underscores his points. It does not. We must 'disenthrall ourselves,' as Abraham Lincoln said, from the culture of violence and guns. And then 'we shall save our country.'

"This is not a liberal or conservative issue, a red state, blue state divide. This is an American issue. Many honorable people, including the last two Republican presidents, members of the party of Abraham Lincoln, have declined to support him. And I implore those "Vichy Republicans" who have endorsed him to please, please reconsider. We must remain committed to the kindness and community that are the hallmarks of civilization and reject the troubling, unfiltered Tourette's of his tribalism.

"The next few months of your 'commencement,' that is to say, your future, will be critical to the survival of our Republic. 'The occasion is piled high with difficulty.' Let us pledge here today that we will not let this happen to the exquisite, yet deeply flawed, land we all love and cherish - and hope to leave intact to our posterity. Let us 'nobly save,' not 'meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.'"
 

stracci2000

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Well said. I love Ken Burns.
 

minousbijoux

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Wow, nailed it.

Incredibly articulate - and spoken from someone who has studied history and certainly knows.
 

ksinger

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Dang, you pointed out that I left out the link I intended to include. :sick: Duh. And now I can't find it. Sorry about that, and thanks for the link to him actual speaking.

There is an article that had his entire speech, and it not all about Trump, and was totally excellent all the way. His delivery also reminds me of a local minister I really like.
 

kenny

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FWIW the video has more than the OP's quote.

Two minutes at the beginning and almost five minutes at the end are missing from the quote above.

Important stuff in there.
 

ksinger

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I said it was totally excellent all the way, but truth is, I ran the video on my (invisible :rolleyes: ) link, this morning, starting it where Burns started speaking. I never got to the part where he started talking about Trump. I was still in the pre-Trump section, so that was the section I was listening to when I ran out of time and had to leave.

I plan to run the whole speech when I get home - see what got left out of the transcript section I used.
 

kenny

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ksinger|1465851790|4043646 said:
I said it was totally excellent all the way, but truth is, I ran the video on my (invisible :rolleyes: ) link, this morning, starting it where Burns started speaking. I never got to the part where he started talking about Trump. I was still in the pre-Trump section, so that was the section I was listening to when I ran out of time and had to leave.

I plan to run the whole speech when I get home - see what got left out of the transcript section I used.
7 minutes is missing, but even more may be missing from the video I posted.
It does not show Burns walking up or beginning.
 

azstonie

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:appl: :appl: :appl:

Sadly, though, America is stupid, America is ignorant, and America is violent. So speeches like those by Mr. Burns will fly right over the heads of most of America. America is now mostly made up of sheep who are no more than hourly-wage slaves of 1%-ers and are complacent as long as they have their guns, fast food and TV. They are so removed from their own reality that they have not noticed that 'good' jobs no longer exist for them and even the crappy ones are headed overseas.
 
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