”I never met a man I didn’t like.” – Will Rogers
I wish Will Rogers were alive today. I’d love to hear what he might have had to say about our current state of affairs. But….
I guess I can talk about his rough start in life, born half Cherokee on a ranch somewhere in Oklahoma in 1879 and his failed attempt to become a cowboy on the plains of Argentina.
I guess I could talk about his career on the stage. After all, his roping skills landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records and his shtick as the shy, joke telling cowboy made him a star in the Zeigfield Follies for over 10 years.
I guess I could talk about his career as an actor. After all he appeared in over 70 films and was probably the most popular actor in Hollywood during the 1920’s and 30’s. His silent film, Ropin’ Fool is considered a classic.
I guess I can talk about his career in journalism when he first started his column “Will Rogers Says” in the New York Times. It became so popular that he wound up being syndicated in over 500 newspapers throughout the country. He wound up writing over 2,800 little snippets of wisdom.
I guess I can talk about his career in radio where he had a weekly radio address. Estimates are that between his newspaper column and his radio broadcasts, Will Rogers voice and ideas reached over 40 million people in America. The entire population at the time was somewhere around 120 million. That means one out of every three Americans was probably influenced in some way by Will Rogers.
I guess I can talk about his career as an author. During his spare time, he managed to get six books published.
I guess I can talk about his reputation as “America’s Ambassador to the World”. During his heyday, he met with many leaders of Europe and Mexico and reported their take on things in the Saturday Evening Post.
I guess I can talk about his philanthropy. During the Great Depression, at his own expense, he organized a tour of 50 cities across the country to help the Red Cross feed those who were hungry.
I guess I can talk about all of that but why don’t I let Mr. Rogers own words do the talking. Here’s a sampling of some of his quotes and commentary that have stood the test of time.
“If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone, 'America died from a delusion that she has moral leadership.'"
"The only real diplomacy ever performed by a diplomat is in deceiving their own people after their dumbness has got them into a war."
"The Lord so constituted everybody that no matter what color you are you require the same amount of nourishment"
"There is only one thing that can kill the movies, and that is education."
"If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics."
"The Income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has."
"Old Hollywood is just like a desert water in Africa. Hang around long enough and every kind of animal in the world will drift in for refreshments."
"You shake a slogan at an American and it's just like showing a hungry dog a bone."
"I have a scheme for stopping war. It's this--no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one."
"I don't make jokes, I just watch the Government and report the facts..."
"We'll show the world we are prosperous, even if we have to go broke to do it."
"We can get all lathering at the time over some political campaign promise, or some conference pledge, but if the thing just drags along long enough we forget what it was that was originally promised. The short memories of the American voter is what keeps our politicians in office."
"Things in our country run in spite of government. Not by aid of it!"
"We shouldn't elect a President; we should elect a magician."
"If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven."
""That's one good thing about wars. It takes smarter men to figure out who loses 'em than it does to start 'em...The more ignorant you are the quicker you fight."
"I don't care how little your country is, you got a right to run it like you want to. When the big nations quit meddling, then the world will have peace."
"Now if there is one thing that we do worse than any other nation, it is try and manage somebody else's affairs."
"Nobody wants to be called common people, especially common people."
"Liberty don’t work as good in practice as it does in speeches."
"There is nothing as stupid as an educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in."
About the Scopes monkey trial..."I don't know why some of these states want to have their ancestry established by law. There must be a suspicion of doubt somewhere."
"Our Foreign dealings are an Open Book, generally a Check Book."
Will Rogers, probably the most popular American in his day, was killed in a plane crash with famed aviation pioneer Wiley Post in 1935. If you ask me, the country had lost something special.