Gallant Quotations From Everett Dirksen; And: Fire Congress

When I was a teenager, a young one at that, some elder statesman in my family gave me Everett Dirksen’s vinyl LP, Gallant Men. It featured Senator Dirksen’s reading of sacred American documents and of sentimental patriotic verse. Now, of course, it is perched at the heights of camp, and the LP cover is perched atop a shelf in my office. If memory serves (it rarely does), Dirksen’s LP broke into the top 100 of both the “pop” and “country” charts.

Here are a few quotations from the marigold-loving, gravelly voiced senator:

I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.

The oil can is mightier than the sword.

There is no force so powerful as an idea whose time has come.

When a member of the House moves over to the Senate, he raises the IQ of both bodies.

All are borrowed from the “brainyquotes” site. The last quotation is pretty darned funny, and it brings to mind an idea that might dovetail nicely with the third quotation. The idea is this: Fire Congress. The whole thing. Every Rep. and Senator. So every citizen’s charge is to insure that every incumbent faces a challenger, and to vote for the challenger, and/or to vote against the incumbent no matter what: primary, general.

It is an idea whose time has come. I doubt if the outcome, if achieved, would improve government, but it couldn’t hurt, and it would certainly send lobbyists, corporations, the two parties, pundits, propagandists, and operators scrambling. It would have the effect of airing out Congress, getting all those smells out.

Of course, the firing would have to occur over several elections, but fairly quickly, we could get it done. A key is not to be distracted by party loyalty, ideology, and other nonsense. Stay focused. Insure that your principles are, like Everett Dirksen’s, unbending (but flexible). Fire Congress. It is the gallant thing to do.


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