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Ralph Nader

Consumer Crusader

Ralph Nader: That's what life was all about: the struggle for decency and fairness and opportunity and justice. We were taught that a long time ago that that's what's important in life. It doesn't mean you don't go out and play ball or ride a bicycle or have fun. It means that the reason why you can sit there in a living room in a nice town is because there were people before you who paid some attention to reducing or eliminating injustice in society and we have the same obligation to do that for our and future generations. We were taught that indirectly by our parents and our friends as small children.
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Paul Nitze

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Paul Nitze: There were certain people on the U.S. side who made it difficult to persuade the Europeans that we were really trying to negotiate on their behalf. I was persuaded that this negotiation on INF -- in that negotiation we were really representing the interests of our European partners more than the interest of the United States. Our European partners were all on the front line. They were right next to the Soviet forces. They were the only ones who were threatened by the Soviet intermediate range forces. They were subject to destruction by those forces overnight. We weren't. They couldn't reach the United States. Our interest in the INF business was because of our interest in our European partners, what the world would look like in the event they were defeated. So that we were really negotiating, or should be negotiating on behalf of their interest. Therefore, it was important to consult with them regularly, take into account their interest. You can't lead somebody unless the people you are leading feel that you are representing their interests. That was the important thing, and I think the walk in the woods contributed to giving them the feeling that we were negotiating, trying to take care of their interests.
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Paul Nitze

Presidential Medal of Freedom

Paul Nitze: I've gotten fired from the government for instance, which normally is a bad thing. But, I've resigned from the government a number of times. The New York Times once looked at all the people who had resigned in anger from the American government who were presidential appointees and made a big thing of their resignation. Did they ever come back to government in the United States? In England, the case has been that all the great men in English politics have resigned at one time or another on matters of principle. But, in the U.S. government, was that true? And, they looked and found perhaps 180 people who had resigned from presidential appointments and they could find only three that had ever been re-appointed after having resigned. One of them is Dean Acheson. I forget who the other two were. But, it just isn't the tradition in American politics that somebody who resigns from government is valued thereafter. Loyalty, we have so little loyalty in politics, that if you're trying to run a government, the one thing you want are people who are going to be loyal to you -- loyal to the party and loyal to whoever is president. So, loyalty is a very important asset in the politics of the United States, more so than it is in England. So, to resign from the government was a risky thing to do. To be fired from the government was -- but I managed to weave through those. I've developed some talent at being able to separate my career from party politics and from the short-range issues of policy, and concentrate upon the longer range issues. That came about in part from my having been fired so often, resigned so often.
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Jessye Norman

Legendary Opera Soprano

Jessye Norman: I decided years ago that I would never ever work as an adjudicator. As a kid, going around singing in various competitions and various contests and so on, I decided long ago that I would never do that. I've been asked several times, not for that particular thing, but to adjudicate a vocal competition, and I was very flattered to be asked to do this for a jazz organization just a couple of years ago. And I said I won't do that, because I've seen judges make so many mistakes that people that have had potential have been discouraged, because a judge said, "Oh well, you're just not what we're looking for," or "You don't have the right look," or "You don't have the right sound," or whatever, and they've been discouraged. And people who really were kind of the one-pony show have been chosen, and they haven't sort of gone beyond that one-pony show. So I determined very early in my professional life that it would take more than is, I think, available to simple humans, to be able to determine that a person at age 18 is going to still be singing or playing the violin or playing the piano at age 40. Your own experience can't determine that. You're a completely different person from that youngster that is on stage singing the waltz from Puccini's Bohème or something.
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