“Whenever politics gets dumb and mean in America, which it does now… We still live in a time of fear in our Country. And when we live in fear, our candidates go through this ritual of strutting in front of us and showing how tough they are. And promising to deal harshly with those people whoever they may be. Build a wall. Keep them out. Search them down. To hell with Habeus Corpus. Use enhanced interrogation techniques. We’re hearing a lot about that in this presidential race, which has started about a year too early. We’re hearing all of it. Cracking down on lenient judges, not coddling criminals, no shilly-shallying with appeals and all that judicial nonsense just throw the bastards in there and deal with them however we may have to. Get the job done. When politics turns mean and nasty in our Country you can recover your civic happiness by walking into your local library and looking at those heads bent down over those books. All those Mung and Somali and Vietnamese teenagers. The public library. One of the noblest expressions of democracy still. Though very few candidates are ever going to mention this. The ceremonial strut of candidates competing to show how tough they are to me is pornographic politics. The thrill of talking about torture without using the actual word. To me this is obscene. But all you need do is walk into a library and they are all there: Franklin, Jefferson and Lincoln. They are all there. You don’t need to listen to the noise around you.”
“In most of the world, people are trying to get your attention. I don’t want
to give them my attention. I need to get locked up in a library. The future
of our Country depends more on [librarians] then on me. I’m retired. I’m out
of it now. But I choose to believe it is not in the hands of bullies. It is
not in the hands of braggarts and promoters. ”
6/26/07 – Garrison Keillor, American Library Association Conference, Washington D.C.