In my quest to truly understand the American experience, I turned to the world of politics in 2015. The subject, which causes some to yawn and others to ‘dig in their heels,’ has a great byproduct — quotes. And in a presidential election year (no, wait that’s 2016), plenty of asinine statements have been spewed from all sides. But, since not everyone enjoys politics, I included a couple quotes from non-political figures to balance out the list.
Here are my 10 favorite 2015 quotes:
10.) If They’re Christian, Let Them In
GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, a big fan of the Second Amendment, but not so much the first, fanned the flame of religious intolerance concerning the Syrian refugee crisis. Bush, it seems, was okay with some of the refugees coming in — as long as they passed a test proving they were Christian. In a country founded largely by Protestant Christians Bush, though, did not specify his preferred brand — Protestant or Catholic.
There are a lot of Christians in Syria that have no place now. They’ll be either executed or imprisoned, either by Assad or by ISIS. We should focus our efforts as it relates to the refugees for the Christians that are being slaughtered. – GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush.
9.) Those ‘Damn Emails’
I’ve long felt that that the never-ending Benghazi Investigation, which has cost Americans $4.5 million, was just a replay of the Gang of Seven’s Banking Scandal. It was as if former House Speaker John Boehner, part of the Gang, presumed that since the public relations tactic worked in the 90s, it would still relate to voters in the 2010s. In the 1990s, the grossly oversold banking scandal reversed the balance of power in Congress, but the 2015-version hasn’t gain enough traction for a repeat performance. During a presdential debate, Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders spoke for millions when he told presidential contender Hilary Clinton,
Let me say something that may not be great politics. But I think the secretary is right, and that is that the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails. – Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
8.) He Won’t Throw Any More Grenades
Although Sander’s statement drew applause that night, it was not the best quote of the evening. That distinction goes to former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb who puzzled many in attendance with a reference to his Vietnam War fighting days. When the moderator asked Webb what enemy he was most proud of making, Webb responded, with a smirk,
I’d have to say the enemy soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me, but he’s not around right now to talk to. – former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb
7.) A Separation By Any Name Is Still A Separation
It’s all ‘about the spin’ is a well-known truism for politicians, but the same holds true for some celebrities. Gwyneth Paltrow, known for some quirky beliefs and practices, is not afraid to just invent a new phrase. Decribing her split from husband Chris Martin as ‘consciously uncoupling‘ she said,
It’s working, but it is kind of a goofy term. – Gwyneth Paltrow
6.) Fight For Your Right To Live
From pyramids used for corn storage to advising an armer robber to point the gun at the store clerk, the list of nonsense falling out of Ben Carson’s mouth could fill a small book, but his most ludicrous comment (so far) dealt with the tragic shooting event at Umpqua Community College that claimed the lives of 10 (including the gunman). Carson seems to blame the shooting victims when he said,
Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me, I would say, ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all. — GOP presidential contender and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson
5.) Even In Death, Some Find No Empathy
This year a handful of my Facebook friends posted memes about ‘inbreds — those third-world immigrants who destroyed their own country’ or variations on the “I hate Muslims’ theme to their walls (and by default staining my wall) — suggesting that to be a real ‘Merican one must be white, preferably male and speak English. But one of the most horrific pictures in 2015 was of a dead three-year-old refugee whose body washed up on a Turkish beach. His aunt posted a question many of us are asking.
Where is the humanity in the world? — Tima Kurdi
4.) Answer To Violence — Armed Citizenry
Despite his lack of war experience — former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich singlehandedly knew the solution to counter the orchestrated terrorist attack in Paris — arm the citizenry. Even though in reality well-trained soldiers (let alone private citizens) rarely perform perfectly in their first gun battle, Gingrich was not deterred. He knew private citizens could take on trained soldiers ladened with explosives. Taking to Twitter, Gingrich offered a simple solution to a complex problem.
Imagine a theater with 10 or 15 citizens with concealed carry permits. We live in an age when evil men have to be killed by good people. — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
3.) Making It All Disappear
Perennial politician Hillary Clinton, mired for years in scandalous accusations, decided it was time to poke fun at the GOP’s obsession with her emails. Speaking to a crowd of supporters in Iowa, Clinton joked about the launching of her Snapchat account.
I love it. I love it. Those messages disappear all by themselves. — Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
2.) Revisionist History
When Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly speaks, people listen — and when he gets caught in a lie (or lies) he just focuses and ramrods his ego-inflated blather directly at anyone who dare question his greatness. But, Pulitzer Prize–winner and conservative political commentator George Will was up to the task — calling into question some of O’Reilly’s research tactics and questioning the truthfulness of O’Reilly’s lastest book ‘Killing Reagan.’ Will comes out swinging, opening his column by writing,
Were the lungs the seat of wisdom, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly would be wise, but they are not and he is not. So it is not astonishing that he is doubling down on his wager that the truth cannot catch up with him. It has, however, already done so. — Opinion writer George Will
1.) It’s Too Personal To Say
It is no surprise that the top of the heap would belong to modern marketeer and demagogue Donald Trump. His insulting, assinine and hate-filled lines leaves no stone unturned. Despite, like Gingrich, avoiding the Vietnam War through deferral, Trump took aim at former POW John McCain and then through the course of his presidential campaign perpetuated a vast number of stereotypes — too numerous to list. Although it is extremely difficult to pinpoint his most memorable — and ludicrous — statement, hedging his bet with Christians gets the top vote for me. When asked what his favorite Bible verse was, the always boisteroud Trump was somewhat taken back, before answering,
I wouldn’t want to get into it. Because to me, that’s very personal. The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics. — GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump