I love quotes. I love the power of words. They are inspiring, thought provoking and can be the first spark of awareness of an issue or the first snowflake to start an avalanche, metaphorically speaking. When looking back through history there are thousands of incredible quotes that we tend to apply to modern day issues, which is great for the most part, but it’s always worth investigating the context in which the words were first spoken, even if it is just to learn a little more about history. 

A great example of someone who is quoted everywhere is JFK. Although he served less than three years in office, President John F. Kennedy gave many great speeches that inspired people back in the early 1960's and still do today. Here are a few of my favorites:-

"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risk and costs of comfortable inaction" 

"Liberty without learning is always in peril; learning without liberty is always in vain.

"Our problems are man-made; therefore, they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."

"So, let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved"

The context of these may not be relevant today but the sentiment certainly is and can be applied to some issue we face now. A perfect example of that is this next one. 

"Today, every inhabitant on the planet must contemplate a day when this planet may no longer be habitable”

Powerful and relevant today, just in a different context. I'm sure nearly everyone would read it and apply it to our climate crisis and environmental threats. When JFK said this, climate change wasn't even on the table. He was talking about the cold war and threat of a nuclear holocaust. 

Sometimes there is a fabulous quote, but just isn't useable because of the source. Here is one that I would love to use but, well, it’s just untouchable as far as I’m concerned.

"All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people"

When you read it with positive movements in mind, such as campaigning for human rights or environmental issues its great isn’t it? Not so great when you find out who said it. I can’t even bring myself to type his name, so let’s just say, it’s from the Nazi warmonger with a stupid moustache. Suddenly that quote is hateful.

One last thought on quotes. Often they come from great speeches that the speaker didn't write. Of course JFK was part of the process and certainly had great delivery, but even he credited the mind behind the speeches as Ted Sorensen who he called his "intellectual blood bank".  

Kudos to you Ted, and thanks so much for your inspiring words. 

For more about Ted Sorensen see: -