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Quotes about dissent

We may be so eager to protect the right to dissent that we lose sight of the difference between dissent and subversion.

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People may believe that there can be a society where dissent is not permitted, but which is nonetheless not a fear society because everyone agrees with one another and therefore no one wants to dissent.

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Dwight D. Eisenhower

Here in America we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionists and rebels - men and women who dare to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion.

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Doesnt Allow Dissent!

they're using our attacks
on our own students,
on our own children....

for daring to raise a voice of dissent,
for daring to question....

as an excuse in Egypt
to crackdown on their own....

apparently, freedom
...doesnt allow dissent!

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Blazing Through All Precedents

Blazing through all precedents,
Supreme Court Justices have customarily abused
omnipotence until as decedents
they are compelled by death, an act of God, to be recused.

Of corporate money there’s no dearth
in politics, said John Paul Stevens, arguing in dissent;
decisions with some moral worth
are lacking in the Highest Court, should have been his lament.

Inspired by a comment by Justice John Paul Stevens, cited by Adam Liptak in an article on him in the NYT, January 25,2010 (“After 34 Years, a Plainspoken Justice Gets Louder”) :
The Supreme Court announced its big campaign finance decision at 10 in the morning last Thursday. By 10: 30 a.m., after Justice Anthony M. Kennedy had offered a brisk summary of the majority opinion and Justice John Paul Stevens labored through a 20-minute rebuttal, a sort of twilight had settled over the courtroom. It seemed the Stevens era was ending. Justice Stevens, who will turn 90 in April, joined the court in 1975 and is the longest-serving current justice by more than a decade. He has given signals that he intends to retire at the end of this term, and his dissent on Thursday was shot through with disappointment, frustration and uncharacteristic sarcasm.He seemed weary, and more than once he stumbled over and mispronounced ordinary words in the lawyer’s lexicon — corruption, corporation, allegation. Sometimes he would take a second or third run at the word, sometimes not. But there was no mistaking his basic message. “The rule announced today — that Congress must treat corporations exactly like human speakers in the political realm — represents a radical change in the law, ” he said from the bench. “The court’s decision is at war with the views of generations of Americans.”..
“It is difficult to convey how thoroughly egregious counsel’s closing argument was, ” Justice Stevens wrote of a defense lawyer’s work. “Suffice it to say that the argument shares far more in common with a prosecutor’s closing than with a criminal defense attorney’s. Indeed, the argument was so outrageous that it would have rightly subjected a prosecutor to charges of misconduct.” In the second case, Justice Stevens did vote to uphold the death sentence, saying that even a closing argument worthy of Clarence Darrow would not have spared the defendant. That carefully calibrated distinction was of a piece with the view he announced in 2008 in Baze v. Rees, when he said he had come to the conclusion that the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment. But he went on to say that his conclusion did not justify “a refusal to respect precedents that remain a part of our law.”


1/25/10

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How Does It Feel To Be Alone?

How does it feel to be alone
with no one round with whom you can
hang out, e-mail and telephone
now silent from your loverman?

How does it feel to get no kicks
from your beloved? Who is left,
for you to mix with, will you nix
your lovelife, loverman bereft?

Stone cold and lonely, lady, will
you roll, or will you gather moss?
On empty running, will you fill
your life again, make up your loss?

I knew that you were bound to fall
when first you fell for me. D’you feel
there’s someone else now you can call
and hope that you can make a deal?

[...] Read more

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The Pennsylvania Pilgrim

Prelude

I sing the Pilgrim of a softer clime
And milder speech than those brave men's who brought
To the ice and iron of our winter time
A will as firm, a creed as stern, and wrought
With one mailed hand, and with the other fought.
Simply, as fits my theme, in homely rhyme
I sing the blue-eyed German Spener taught,
Through whose veiled, mystic faith the Inward Light,
Steady and still, an easy brightness, shone,
Transfiguring all things in its radiance white.
The garland which his meekness never sought
I bring him; over fields of harvest sown
With seeds of blessing, now to ripeness grown,
I bid the sower pass before the reapers' sight.


The Pennsylvania Pilgrim

[...] Read more

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James Russell Lowell

A Fable For Critics

Phoebus, sitting one day in a laurel-tree's shade,
Was reminded of Daphne, of whom it was made,
For the god being one day too warm in his wooing,
She took to the tree to escape his pursuing;
Be the cause what it might, from his offers she shrunk,
And, Ginevra-like, shut herself up in a trunk;
And, though 'twas a step into which he had driven her,
He somehow or other had never forgiven her;
Her memory he nursed as a kind of a tonic,
Something bitter to chew when he'd play the Byronic,
And I can't count the obstinate nymphs that he brought over
By a strange kind of smile he put on when he thought of her.
'My case is like Dido's,' he sometimes remarked;
'When I last saw my love, she was fairly embarked
In a laurel, as _she_ thought-but (ah, how Fate mocks!)
She has found it by this time a very bad box;
Let hunters from me take this saw when they need it,-
You're not always sure of your game when you've treed it.
Just conceive such a change taking place in one's mistress!
What romance would be left?-who can flatter or kiss trees?

[...] Read more

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James Thurber

Discussion in America means dissent.

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In a democracy, dissent is an act of faith.

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