The final speech of Charlie Chaplin’s amnesiac Jewish barber in The Great Dictator is quite timely today.
In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.
Isn’t this what we want? To help one another, to care for one another? That all people should have the basics to live a decent life? Imagine that world…we don’t want a world of ‘rugged individualists,’ each living and working only for themselves.
You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth the future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie! They do not fulfill their promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people! Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.
Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Well, the 1% aren’t going to give up without a struggle, nor will the religious fanatics, but there are more of us than there are of them, and we have little left to lose. We will fight them with education and persistent non-violence, wave after wave after wave. We must, for the sake of our children and grandchildren, and all future generations.
In the words of Thom Hartmann, despair is not an option. We’ve got a big job in front of us, so let’s get busy. Each of us has something to give to the cause.
This is our daily open thread — Discuss!