Quotations for State Senate Walls

The senate chamber in the state house is under reconstruction and there is a thought to add highly memorable quotations from Massachusetts people to the walls.

There are locations for three 80 character quotations. If you have suggestions, please offer them as comments on this post and I will forward them to the historians and others who are doing the vetting and selection.

Please include not only the 80 character saying, but the identify and any background information on the source.

Please respond by Monday, March 12.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

40 replies on “Quotations for State Senate Walls”

  1. “Hot Dogs And Applesauce!”
    -Rob Potylo
    Boston Comedian/Musician who has sang this song at many protests/ABC’s The Gong Show, and is a local Boston artist.

  2. Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority , it is time to pause and reflect !! “Mark Twain”

  3. The “hooker” entrance to the State House was actually named after Civil War General Joseph Hooker and for no other reason!
    Quoted by many.

  4. John F. Kennedy

    And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.

    Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

  5. John Adams

    Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.

    Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.

  6. “Thou shalt not follow a multitude into evil.”

    –New Testament

    “We should never negotiate out of fear, but we should never fear to negotiate.”

    —John F. Kennedy

    “Nobody has a right to strike against the public at any time.”

    —Calvin Coolidge

  7. “It is easier to throw stones than it is to build something” Mayor Thomas Michael Menino during the BPS school assignment reconfiguration discussions. It gave me a way to approach public policy- trying to come up with solutions to problems and not just criticize. I love this quote- it changed my life.

  8. Daniel Webster

    God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.

    1. No Please.
      God Alla and all the rest, thought there may well be good intentions, grant no one liberty or anything else.
      We have to discus amongst ourselves and make it so.

  9. “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

  10. Those words, temperate and moderate, are words either of political cowardice, or of cunning, or seduction. A thing, moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper, is always a virtue; but moderation in principle, is a species of vice.
    Thomas Paine

  11. Louisa May Alcott

    We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving, and we all have the power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing.

  12. This is from Rumi (who was not from Massachusetts) but it would work well on the wall of an institution of democracy: “Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
    ? Jalaluddin Mevlana Rumi

  13. Not all those who wander are lost.

    All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

    Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends.

    J R R Tolkien

  14. John Powers, Massachusetts Senate President, ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Boston twice. His opponent the second time around was John F. Collins
    who used the phrase:
    “Stop Power Politics”
    in his campaign.

  15. “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.“ Fyodor Dostoevsky, The House of the Dead, 1862, transl. Constance Garnett (78 characters)

  16. Do not speak to me of party or faith for
    It’s not what God or master you worship.
    It’s the friends & family you have that matter and you should never forget we are all one family no matter how distant it can seem.
    If we lose site of that then we are truly lost.

    David Aitcheson
    Watertown MA.
    Sunday March 4, 2018

    1. Edited –
      Do not speak to me of party or faith for
      It’s not what God or master you worship.
      It’s the friends & family you have that matter
      no matter how distant it can seem.
      If we lose site of that then we are truly lost.

      David Aitcheson

  17. Leo Tolstoy
    “Writing laws is easy, but governing is difficult.”

    “When you are writing laws you are testing words to find their utmost power. Like spells, they have to make things happen in the real world, and like spells, they only work if people believe in them.”
    ? Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall


    “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.”
    ? Abraham Lincoln


    “Good laws make it easier to do right and harder to do wrong.”
    ? William Ewart Gladstone

  18. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

    The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

    Life is either a great adventure or nothing.

    -Helen Keller
    Perkins [Institute] for the Blind/ Radcliff College

  19. Do the day’s work. If it be to protect the rights of the weak, whoever objects, do it. If it be to help a powerful corporation better to serve the people, whatever the opposition, do that. Expect to be called a stand-patter, but don’t be a stand-patter. Expect to be called a demagogue, but don’t be a demagogue. Don’t hesitate to be as revolutionary as science. Don’t hesitate to be as reactionary as the multiplication table. Don’t expect to build up the weak by pulling down the strong. Don’t hurry to legislate. Give administration a chance to catch up with legislation.
    Have Faith in Massachusetts as delivered by Calvin Coolidge to the Massachusetts State Senate, 1914.[33]

  20. “Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs.” The notary in “Evangeline” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, p. 69.

    The full context is: “Daily injustice is done, and might is the right of the strongest. … Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs.”

  21. “Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs.” The notary in “Evangeline” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, p. 69.

    The full context is: “Daily injustice is done, and might is the right of the strongest. … Man is unjust, but God is just; and finally justice triumphs.”

  22. Well-behaved women seldom make history. -Professor Lauren Ulrich

    The safety of the people shall be the highest law. (Salus populi suprema lex esto.) -Cicero

  23. “If there is no struggle, there is no progress” -Frederick Douglass, abolitionist, lived in New Bedford MA

  24. A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.
    Jackie Robinson

  25. “Liberty, once lost, is lost forever”.
    Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 7 July 1775


    “A government of laws, not of men.”
    Also John Adams – 1780 Massachusetts state constitution

  26. i want to know more about water reffilling business water staion in our area please give me a quotation of equepment and other related items. thank.you very much.

  27. Suggestions from a person who contact me offline:

    “Government is the art of the passable.”

    “Campaigning for civil rights is all well and good, until someone you dislike claims theirs.”

    “All healthy republics are based on the Golden Rule. Government acts when the citizenry fails to observe it, and the citizenry acts when the government does so.”

    “Traffic laws in the Commonwealth apply to everyone except the driver of the car in which you’re a passenger.”

    How about H. L. Mencken:

    Liberty means self-reliance, it means resolution, it means enterprise, it means the capacity for doing without. The free man is one who has won a small and precarious territory from the great mob of his inferiors, and is prepared and ready to defend it and make it support him. All around him are enemies, and where he stands there is no friend. He can hope for little help from other men of his own kind, for they have battles of their own to fight. He has made of himself a sort of god in his little world, and he must face the responsibilities of a god, and the dreadful loneliness.

    Or any of the following:

    If liberty and equality, as is thought by some are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.
    Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), Politics

    The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid.
    Art Spander

    Democracy means government by discussion, but it is only effective if you can stop people talking.
    Clement Atlee

    Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time.
    EB White (1899 – 1985), New Yorker, July 3, 1944

    Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

    Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.
    George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950), Man and Superman (1903) “Maxims for Revolutionists”

    The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.
    Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880)

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.
    HL Mencken (1880 – 1956)

    Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right.
    HL Mencken (1880 – 1956)

    The idea of an election is much more interesting to me than the election itself…The act of voting is in itself the defining moment.
    Jeff Melvoin, Northern Exposure, Democracy in America, 1992

    Democracy is a process by which the people are free to choose the man who will get the blame.
    Laurence J Peter (1919 – 1988)

    Democracy is the name we give the people whenever we need them.
    Marquis de Flers Robert and Arman de Caillavet

    In democracy it’s your vote that counts; In feudalism it’s your count that votes.
    Mogens Jallberg

    Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
    Sir Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965), Hansard, November 11, 1947

    It’s not the voting that’s democracy, it’s the counting.
    Tom Stoppard (1937 – ), Jumpers (1972) act 1

    On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.
    Will Rogers (1879 – 1935)

    I always liked what John Adams wrote into Article V of the Commonwealth Constitution.

    “All power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government, vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them.”

  28. The 3 pillars of wisdom:

    No fear of death.
    Understanding that everything is connected to everything else.
    The ability to discern the sense in nonsense.

  29. Another offline group of suggestions came to me — native American sayings:

    1. We are all poor because we are all honest. (Red Dog : Oglala Sioux)

    2. No person among us desires any other reward for performing a brave and worthy action,
    that the consciousness of having served his nation.
    ( Joseph Brant [Thayendanegea] : Mohawk )

    3. (of the white man:)
    The earth is not his brother– but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on.

    3.1 Continue to contaminate your own bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste.

    3.2 All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.

    (Chief Seattle: Sukwamish, Duwamish)

    4. I was born where there were no enclosures and where everything drew free breath. I
    want to die there and not within walls.
    (Ten Bears: Yamparika Comanche)

    5. Every soul must meet the morning sun, the new, sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone! (on death)

    5.1 Silence is the absolute poise or balance of body mind and spirit.

    Charles Alexander Eastman [Ohiyesa]: Santee Sioux

    6. “Civilization” has been thrust upon me since the days of the reservations and it has not added
    one whit to my sense of justice, to ,my reverence for the rights of life, to my love for truth, honesty, and
    generosity, or to my faith …”
    (Chief Luther Standing Bear: Oglala Sioux)

    7. It is not the color of the skin that makes me good or bad.
    (White Shield: Arikara Chief)

    8. You must speak straight so that your words may go as sunlight into our hearts.
    ( Cochise [“like ironwood”]: Chiricahua Chief

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