Does the name Will Rogers mean anything to you? The older you are, the more likely it is that you will remember him as someone your parents and grandparents talked about, since he died in 1935. Though Will Rogers has been dead for that long, his wise cracks and folksy observations live on and are worth being repeated as often as they are.
He dropped out of school after the 10th grade and often admitted that he regretted it. Yet, he never stopped learning. He became a popular radio broadcaster and published more than two million words in the six books and 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns he wrote. As much as he joked about government, he befriended presidents, senators, and kings. In fact, his son Will Rogers Jr. went on to become a congressman.
Will Rogers may be best known for his quotation, "I never met a man I didn't like," which he also wove into the epitaph he provided for himself:
When I die, my epitaph or whatever you call those signs on gravestones is going to read: "I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I didn't like." I am so proud of that I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved. And when you come to my grave you will find me sitting there, proudly reading it.
He made pithy comments and one-liners about government and government workers, lawyers, diplomats, and life itself that are still relevant today. At this time of primary elections here in the USA, I pass on some of my favorites:
Will Rogers quotations
"I was born on Nov. 4, which is election day.… My birthday has made more men and sent more back to honest work than any other day in the year."
"It's easy being a humorist when you've got the whole government working for you."
"Alexander Hamilton started the U.S. Treasury with nothing, and that was the closest our country has ever been to being even."
"If you make any money, the government shoves you in the creek once a year with it in your pockets, and all that don't get wet you can keep."
"It's a good thing we don't get all the government we pay for."
"We can get all lathering at the time over some political campaign promise, or some conference pledge, but if the thing just drags along long enough we forget what it was that was originally promised. The short memories of the American voter is what keeps our politicians in office."
"On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does."
"About all I can say for the United States Senate is that it opens with a prayer and closes with an investigation."
"Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate, now what's going to happen to us with both a House and a Senate?"
"There ought to be one day - just one - when there is open season on senators."
"The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets."
"We don't seem to be able to check crime, so why not legalize it and then tax it out of business?"
"The man with the best job in the country is the vice-president. All he has to do is get up every morning and say, 'How is the president?'"
"Politics has become so expensive that it takes a lot of money even to be defeated."
"A fool and his money are soon elected."
"Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, that don't hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous."
"If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these acceptance speeches there wouldn't be any inducement to go to heaven."
"One-third of the people in the United States promote, while the other two-thirds provide."
"Liberty don't work as good in practice as it does in speeches."
"Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke."
"I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts."
"Make crime pay. Become a lawyer."
"The only way you can beat the lawyers is to die with nothing."
"I have a scheme for stopping war. It's this — no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one."
"A diplomat tells you what he don't believe himself, and the man he's tellin' it to don't believe him, so it balances. Diplomats meet and eat, then rush out and wire their government they've completely fooled the other fella."
"You can't say civilization don't advance ... in every war they kill you in a new way."
"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock."
"Nobody wants to be called common people, especially common people."
"All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that's an alibi for my ignorance."
"Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need."
"If advertisers spent the same amount of money on improving their products as they do on advertising then they wouldn't have to advertise them."
"Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."
"There is nothing as stupid as an educated man if you get him off the thing he was educated in."
"When ignorance gets started it knows no bounds."
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."
"The schools ain't what they used to be and never was."
"Don't let yesterday use up too much of today."
"Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip."
"People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing."
"The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them."
"It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so."
"You've got to go out on a limb sometimes because that's where the fruit is."
"Worrying is like paying on a debt that may never come due."
"What the country needs is dirtier fingernails and cleaner minds."
"Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else."
Do you have a favorite Will Rogers quotation that isn't in my list? Please share it in a comment.
"Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier 'n puttin' it back in." - Will Rogers (I think a lot about this one in reference to my blog, and always try to be careful about what I publish.)
"The short memories of the American voter is what keeps our politicians in office." - Will Rogers (I know I quoted it earlier in this post, but since memories are short.... As you vote in the primaries, please try remember why you said you weren't going to vote again for some of the people running.)
I'm ivman, and I approve this message.
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