Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
written by Sidney Buchman & Lewis R. Foster
Jefferson: "--We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain Unalienable Rights--that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such pr inciples and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness--" Now that's pretty swell, isn't it? I always get such a kick outta those parts of the Declaration--especially when I can read 'em out loud to somebody.
You see, that's what I had in mind about camp--except those men said it a little better than I can. Now, you're not gonna have a country that makes these kind of rules work, if you haven't got men who've learned to tell human rights from a punch i n the nose. And funny thing about men--they start life being boys. That's why it seemed like a pretty good idea to take kids out of a crowded cities and stuffy basements for a few months a year--and build their bodies and minds for a man-sized job. Tho se boys'll be sitting at these desks some day. Yes--it seemed a pretty good idea--boys coming together--all nationalities and ways of living--finding out what makes different people tick the way they do. 'Cause I wouldn't give you a red cent for all your fine rules, without there was some plain everyday, common kindness under 'em--and a little looking-out for the next fella. Yes--pretty important, all that. Just happens to be blood and bone and sinew of this democracy that some great man handed down to the human race! That's all! But, of course, if you need to build a dam where a camp like that ought to be--to make some graft and pay off your political army or something--why, that's different!
[Suddenly, he becomes very strong and passionate]
No sir! If anybody here thinks I'm going back to those boys and say to 'em: "Forget it, fellas. Everything I've told you about the land you live in a lotta hooey. It isn't your country--it belongs to the James Taylors!" No, sir, anybody that thinks that has got another thing coming!
[Jefferson slows down again, apologetically]
I-I'm sorry to be coming back to that and--I'm sorry I have to stand here--it's pretty disrespectful to this honorable body. When I think--this was where Clay and Calhoun and Webster spoke--Webster stood right here by this desk--why, nobody like me ought to get in here, in the first place--an' I hate to go on trying your patience like this--but--well, I'm either dead right or I'm crazy!
[ please return to the main movie monologue page ]