The political conventions start this week. Many speeches will be given, and we’ll have to see whether any of them stack up with the greatest speeches ever delivered. Like Shakespeare’s speech about St. Crispin’s Day in Henry V. Or Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Or Winston Churchill’s “we shall fight on the beaches” stemwinder during the dark days of World War II.
But as we look forward to the gatherings of our gutsy political leaders, right and left, in this our nation’s hour of need, my thoughts turn to another famous oration — the Cowardly Lion’s remarks on “courage” prior to his first encounter with the Wizard of Oz:
What makes a King out of a slave? Courage!
What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage!
What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist, or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage!
What makes the Sphinx the Seventh Wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage!
What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the ape in ape-ricot? What have they got that I ain’t got? (Courage)
You can say that again!
Seems particularly apt these days, doesn’t it?