23 Quotes on Civil Disobedience, For the “Medicaid 23”

During the week of August 15, 2016, 23 people, including clergymen and women from Kansas City, are on trial for civil disobedience. In May 2014, the group refused to leave the capitol building in Jefferson City, Missouri. 300 people, with song and chants, were peacefully protesting, urging the legislature to expand Medicaid — healthcare for the very poor. It is estimated hundreds of Missourians will die without the expansion. The 23 refused to leave when ordered, and were arrested and charged with misdemeanors. They face up to 6 months in jail and $500 in fines.

In solidarity, here are quotes on civil disobedience, one for each of the “Medicaid 23.”

 

 

1. HOWARD ZINN

“Civil disobedience…is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience… Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country.”

 

2. HENRY DAVID THOREAU

“Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison.”

 

3. ROSA PARKS

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”

 

4. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”

 

5. EDMUND BURKE

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

 

6. GANDHI

“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless and corrupt.”

 

7. THOMAS JEFFERSON

“If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.”

 

8. CESAR CHAVEZ

“The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.”

 

9. DESMOND TUTU

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

 

10. ORIANA FALLACI

“I have always looked on disobedience toward the oppressive as the only way to use the miracle of having been born.”

 

11. JUVENAL

“Dare to do things worthy of imprisonment if you mean to be of consequence.”

 

12. RALPH WALDO EMERSON

“Every actual state is corrupt.  Good men must not obey laws too well.”

 

13. LEMUEL K. WASHBURN

“It is necessary to distinguish between the virtue and the vice of obedience.”

 

14. GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

“Disobedience [is] the rarest and most courageous of the virtues.”

 

15. LOUIS D. BRANDEIS

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.”

 

16. CHINESE PROVERB

“Laws control the lesser man.  Right conduct controls the greater one.”

 

17. JOAN BAEZ

“That’s all nonviolence is — organized love.”

 

18. EMMELINE PANKHURST

“We are here, not because we are law-breakers; we are here in our efforts to become law-makers.”

 

19. ELIE WIESEL

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”

 

20. ALICE WALKER

“Resistance is the secret of joy!”

 

21. MARK TWAIN

“Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man. To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.”

 

22. ALBERT EINSTEIN

“Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it.”

 

23. BETTY WILLIAMS

“I always say that non-violence is not the weapon of the weak. It is the weapon of the strong.”

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