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Social security must be achieved by co-operation between the State and the individual. The State should offer security for service and contribution. The State in organising security should not stifle incentive, opportunity, responsibility ; in establishing a national minimum, it should leave room and encouragement for voluntary action by each individual to provide more than that minimum for himself and his family.
One of the most profound and universal realizations of later childhood, a realization that probably is never totally integrated, is the discovery that one's parents are not necessarily representative of the human species, that one has grown up in an idiosyncratically structured family with its own peculiarities and dramas.
For all of us here, for the millions who have sent us, for the whole two billion members of the human family, our land is now, more than ever before, the last best hope on earth. And I know that we can, and I know that we shall began [sic] here the fuller and richer realization of that hope — that promise of a land where all men are truly free and equal, and each man uses his freedom and equality wisely well.
People don't dream [in Estonia]. People don't have dreams. When your kid wants to be a superstar in America, the whole family supports the kid. If someone has talent it's appreciated and recognized. But in Estonia people will say: What, do you think you're better than us? We here, we are miserable, you're gonna be miserable too, because nobody can be different.
It took me over three years to get the beret and the most enriching part of the experience was getting to know men for whom you would have given your life on the battlefield. It is a big thing to say there are people who are not your family for whom you would give up your life. But that is how close we became.
Most people who offer their help do it to make themselves feel better, not us. To be honest, I don't blame them. It's superstition: If you give assistance to the family in need... if you throw salt over your shoulder... if you don't step on the cracks, then maybe you'll be immune. Maybe you'll be able to convince yourself that this could never happen to you.
One circumstance that helped our character development: we were needed. I often think today of what an impact could be made if children believed they were contributing to a family's essential survival and happiness. In the transformation from a rural to an urban society, children are — though they might not agree — robbed of the opportunity to do genuinely responsible work.
The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you'll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don't you forget it — whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.
Sparklers are the gay cousins of the fireworks family. I think a flashlight is more dangerous than a sparkler. My friends got M-80s, bottle rockets, ammonium nitrate, manure, a rented van. They're blowing shit up, getting things done. I'm walking around with a sparkler like the Special Olympics torch-boy.
It would be another two decades before I came upon the words that made me think I had a story to tell—the opening words of Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior: You must not tell anyone, my mother said, what I am about to tell you. The immigrant mother's prohibition to her daughter reminded me of my own mother's warning about spreading family secrets. In the face of California's fame for blatancy—in the face of pervasive light, ingenuousness, glass-and-aluminum housing, bikinis, billboards—Mrs. Hong recommended concealment.
I must try to be alone for part of each year...and part of each day...in order to keep my core, my center...Women must be still as the axis of a wheel in the midst of her activities. She must be the pioneer of achieving this stillness, not only for her own salvation, but for the salvation of family life, of society, perhaps even of our civilization.
I remembered that when the shah was hospitalized, many foreign journalists came to gather negative reactions from the people of Cairo. But the opposite happened, the shop owners in the streets along with the general population were extremely glad to have the Iranian shah in their country. They considered us family who helped them in difficult times.