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Don’t quote me on this, but…

Two years ago, I started collecting quotes on a daily basis. My sources were many: newspaper stories, magazine articles, essays, books, or intentional Internet searches seeking words of wisdom from specific sources or about various topics.

For much of that time, I posted a quote daily on Facebook, a practice I adhered to religiously until I decided to stop earlier this summer. I still collect the quotes and use them as prompts for daily writing exercises.

What follows is a sampling of those quotes. From those, you can get an idea of where my mind has been wandering or what type of reading I’ve been doing. Some of the quotes are provocative, some are merely humorous.

I don’t necessarily agree with all of these quotes although it’s likely that most intrigued me because I saw value in them. My motivation for collecting these quotes is less important than the fact that you may gain some enjoyment by reading them and, even better, that some may pique your interest and cause you to rethink your view of the world.

Let’s get on with it:

“It’s kind of selfish to say that you’re only going to fight for a victory that you will live to see.” – Ta-Nehisi Coates

“I was made for the library, not the classroom. The classroom was the jail of other people’s interest. The library was open, unending, free.” – Ta-Nehisi Coates

“You can cage the singer but not the song.” – Harry Belafonte

“America’s health care system is neither healthy, caring, nor a system.” – Walter Cronkite

“Great satire comes from anger. It comes from a sense of injustice, that there are wrongs that need to be fixed.” – Carl Hiaasen

“A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule.” – Michael Pollan

“I think a lot about how, fifty years from now, I’m going to explain to young people what happened, when we’re all huddled around a tire fire for warmth after the climate collapse. I’m convinced I’ll have to tell them that a lot of people worked really hard to build political consensus to fight the climate crisis. We passed half a trillion dollars in funding. And then we kept using fossil fuels because we couldn’t figure the permitting.” – Lucas Merrill Brown

“I sit on a man’s back, choking him and making him carry me, and yet assure myself that I am sorry for him and wish to lighten his load by all means possible – except by getting off his back.” – Leo Tolstoy

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” – Albert Einstein

“Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong.” — James Bryce

“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.” — George Carlin

“When you are accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” – Ezra Klein

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.” — Noam Chomsky

“Overcoming poverty is not an act of charity, it is an act of justice.” — Nelson Mandela

“President Eisenhower was a fine general and a good, decent man but if he had fought World War II the way he fought for civil rights, we would all be speaking German today.” Roy Wilkins, NAACP

“There is no snare set by the fiend for the mind of man more dangerous than the illusion that our enemies are also the enemies of God.” – John Ruskin

“The United States had, in 2012, the highest child poverty rate of any wealthy country after Romania.” – Andrea Elliott, Invisible Child

“He was like a cock who thought the sun had risen to hear him crow.” — George Eliot

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” – Socrates

“I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse.” – Isaac Asimov

“Many of the students who fled certain buildings on campus the night of the shooting were just following the protocols they’d been taught prior to coming to Michigan State, because teaching children and young adults how not to be killed in mass shootings is now a staple of America’s egregious routine.” – Jemele Hill

“When people who are overlooked for their entire lives are given a modicum of power, they will wield it with great force.” – Joey Hartstone, The Local

“How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg does not make it a leg.” – Abraham Lincoln

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.” – Voltaire

“It is what we already know that often keeps us from learning.” – Claude Bern

“What they call you is one thing. What you answer to is something else.” – Lucille Clifton

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Flint

“Love takes off the mask we fear we cannot live without and knows we cannot live within.” — James Baldwin

“Dear God,” she prayed, “let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.” – A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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