On Real Public Service

In an excellent speech by Mick Wright, candidate for Alderman in Bartlett, Tennessee, to a local Rotary Club in the Memphis area, we are reminded that a Republic functions by our active participation. It does not run itself. It is not only the spirit of Elizabeth Powel that preserves and renews but also the outlook and wisdom of Calvin Coolidge, whose diligent and practical application of principle into genuine public service still speaks. We must not assume that someone else will exercise for us the unique and personal responsibilities already in our hands. Mr. Wright understands that if public affairs are going to change for the better, it starts with you and with me in our homes, our neighborhoods, our local governments. It demands a public service at its most practical and personal. There simply is no substitute for an informed and involved citizenship. As Coolidge once said, “Naturally the question arises, what shall we do to defend our birthright? In the first place everybody must take a more active part in public affairs. It will not do for men to send, they must go. It is not enough to draw a check. Good government cannot be bought, it has to be given…Unless good citizens hold office bad citizens will.” After all, we are not impotently at the mercy of circumstances as they are, “We are the possessors of tremendous power, both as individuals and as states. The great question of the preservation of our institutions is a moral question. Shall we use our power for self-aggrandizement or for service?” To which end are we exerting the tremendous power each one of us possesses?

79287-004-946746F8 young Coolidge

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