Tue Mar 06 11:11:31 EST 2018 Tue Mar 06 11:11:31 EST 2018

"My Belief in People"

by Sargent Shriver Peace Institute | Tue Mar 06 11:11:31 EST 2018 | Quote of the Week | Politics | Public Service | Citizenship


"My Belief in People"

"My Belief in People"

One of the things that stands out about Sargent Shriver as a political leader and a public servant is his genuine belief that any problem, no matter how difficult, can be solved if people work together to find solutions. No matter how much political power he wielded and no matter what challenge he faced, Sarge never let cynicism or skepticism take hold. Quite the contrary: he consistently harnessed the enthusiasm, creativity, and energy of those around him so that together, they could achieve what at times seemed impossible. We celebrate this quality of Sarge's in our Quote of the Week, and we ask you to join us in bringing out this same quality in our leaders and in each other.

The quote comes from the Address at the Presidential Preview Dinner, a speech that Sargent Shriver gave one month into his bid to be the Democratic nominee in the 1976 presidential election. Throughout the speech, Sarge insists on the idea that in government as in all our endeavors, we must put people first. He says that government must be "on the side of the consumer, the taxpayer, and the individual" and that "only a national commitment to the human scale can restore a sense of community." He points to the Peace Corps, Head Start, and Community Action as examples of responsive institutions that he had created and that existed to empower people at the local level. When people are focused on each other's well-being and engaged in bringing about positive change, Sarge argues that we can create a more prosperous, more just society. Sarge closes the speech with these powerful words: "What we will need is a rallying together, a mutual struggle, not just a commitment to a candidate but a commitment to one another."

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