Sunday, May 20, 2007

Good Words From Our Governor

"John Adams, one of our founders and a son of Massachusetts, as you know, took up the unpopular defense of British soldiers in 1770 in the wake of the so-called “Boston Massacre.” Despite outraged fellow colonists and the condemnation of such figures as Samuel Adams and Paul Revere, John Adams successfully argued that the soldiers had acted in their own self-defense, and won acquittals for all but two of them.

"His son, John Quincy Adams, another great statesman and lawyer, took up the unpopular defense of the African mutineers aboard the slave ship Amistad in 1841, and won their freedom. Here again is another early example of an active citizen tempering the passion of the time with reason and with courage.

"The willingness to face down passion and fear with reason and courage -- and to speak truth to power -- is the hallmark of the active citizen. It represents a deep and honorable tradition in our country.

"That’s your tradition, each one of you. That’s what you are also prepared to do – and what we must ask of you today. Because fear – as a device to manipulate and even to govern – is at large again in our own times."

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