Nov 02

This "Restless Democracy of Ours" Is Rising Up

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | 11/02/2020 9:56AM


Our Quote of the Week may be 55 years old, but it is perfectly suited to describe the moment in which we find ourselves as the US awaits the results of the 2020 Presidential election.

This week's quote is from Sargent Shriver's 1965 University of South Carolina Commencement Address. Given while Shriver was leading both the Peace Corps and the War on Poverty, the speech underlines the importance of service in ensuring equity and opportunity for all. Shriver refers to the era of the time as a revolution for "property rights ... against financial poverty, [and for] for the dignity of all people." He adds: "Like it or not, you are part of this struggle. The battle lines are clearly drawn — between those who care, those are committed to the cause of human freedom and human equality, and those who stand opposed, or, apathetically by the wayside."

This quote seems particularly relevant in this moment. In the past four years, we've experienced sustained attempts at the stripping away of rights and protections for those at home, and at isolating the US from the international community. We've seen attacks on the rights of immigrants and the LGBTQ community, increasing levels of voter suppression, the fanning of the flames of racial hatred and injustice, a careless disregard for public health and safety, and a disdain for service, diplomacy, and collaboration. At the same time, we've seen a growing level of re-engagement of our citizens, as more and more of us are working to give voice to injustice and inequity. Many of us have discovered that in this current struggle for our democracy there lie opportunities to find new leaders, new ways of connecting with others, and innovative ways of embracing the talents and skills of an ever-more diverse population. This is a pivotal moment in time and space, and no matter the results of this election, we must continue to proactively seize it, to ensure a safer and more prosperous world for all of us.

Like this quote? Read the speech and subscribe to receive our Quote of the Week by email.

* Required Fields
500 characters remaining