Meditating Monk in Forest, Redwood Valley, California, USA, 2004
"The idea that I want to believe America was founded on ... depended on challenging the world as it is and, by standing up to civilized society, redefining it."
The Arizona Idea
"Rest assured, if you come to Arizona, you'll find the frontier, and the American idea, alive and well here."
What is Liberty?
"In its religious roots, the American idea of freedom recognizes the free consciences of all."
"During the Vietnam War, the United States was widely unpopular around the world, as it is now... Yet despite unpopular government policies, our openness and self-criticism allowed the American idea to retain its appeal."
Joyce Carol Oates
The Human Idea
"How heartily sick the world has grown, in the first seven years of the 21st century, of the American idea!"
"In my recent travels as House speaker, I have met with presidents, prime ministers, and kings, but what has impressed me and inspired me the most are my encounters with young people."
"A great surprise of my brief time in Washington was how often members of Congress turned out to be more intelligent than they let themselves seem on television—better read, more reflective, more sensitive."
An Optimist's Worries
"I may be an incurable optimist, but at the age of 84—having lived through the Great Depression, Stalin, Hitler, World War II, the Holocaust, and the Cold War—I think today's world is not in bad shape."
The Freak Show
"The America that I love bears little relation to the freak show now peddled by Hollywood and the cable-news networks."
New New Things
"America's history of innovation has drawn on the inherent optimism of Americans, even when realities are discouraging."
Coming to America
"I began dreaming of coming to America when I was 10 years old, because it has no rival as a Land of Opportunity."
"The values that our Founders cherished as the universal inheritance of the Enlightenment are increasingly identified as American values—or worse still, as not real values at all, but simply a rhetorical blind for the advance of American power."
Anna Deavere Smith
"As I look out at this land, I find myself in doubt, about our environment and our society."
Laurence H. Tribe and Carolyn K. Tribe
Rekindling the Flame
"Our greatest national challenge is to reverse the profoundly misguided course the last two presidential elections have set"
"The American idea, as I understand it, is to trust people to know their own minds and to act in their own enlightened self-interest, with a necessary respect for others."