Happy Indepence Day, America from The West Wing!
Today, for the first time in history, one in five Americans living in poverty are children. One in five children live in the most abject, dangerous, hopeless, backbreaking, gut wrenching, poverty, one in five, and they’re children. If fidelity to freedom and democracy is the code of our civic religion then surely, the code of our humanity is faithful service to that unwritten commandment that says ‘We shall give our children better than we ourselves received.’ I voted against the bill ’cause I didn’t want it to be hard for people to buy milk. I stopped some money from flowing into your pocket. If that angers you, if you resent me, I completely respect that. But if you expect anything different from the President of the United States, I suggest you vote for somebody else. Thanks very much.
Donna: Why are you a Republican?
Cliff: Because I hate poor people. I hate them, Donna. They’re all so poor, and many of ’em talk funny, and don’t have proper table manners… my father slaved away at the Fortune 500 company he inherited so that I could go to Choate, Brown and Harvard and see that this country isn’t overrun by poor people and lesbians. No… I’m Republican because I believe in smaller government. This country was founded on the principle of freedom, and freedom stands opposed to constraints, and the bigger the government, the more the constraints.
Bartlet: We’re for freedom of speech everywhere. We’re for freedom to worship everywhere. We’re for freedom to learn… for everybody. And because in our time, you can build a bomb in your country and bring it to my country, what goes on in your country is very much my business. And so we are for freedom from tyranny, everywhere, whether in the guise of political oppression, Toby, or economic slavery, Josh, or religious fanaticism, CJ. That most fundamental idea cannot be met with merely our support. It has to be met with our strength. Diplomatically, economically, materially. And if Pharaoh still don’t free the slaves, then he gets the plagues or my cavalry, whichever gets there first. The USTR will go crazy and say that we’re not considering global trade. Committee members will go crazy and say I haven’t consulted enough. And the Arab world will just go indiscriminately crazy. No country has ever had a doctrine of intervention when only humanitarian interests were at stake. That streak’s gonna end Sunday at noon.
Happy Independence Day from The West Wing.