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The trouble is, they are half right and half wrong – “All the King’s Men” – Robert Penn Warren 

July 4th, 2012 · No Comments · Means and Ends, Morality, Politics

“Jesus Christ,” he exclaimed, “you work for Stark and you call somebody a son-of-a-bitch.”

I just looked at him. I’d been over all that ground before. I had been over it a thousand times with a thousand people. Hotel lobbies and dinner tables and club cars and street corners and bedrooms and filling stations. Sometimes they didn’t say it just exactly that way and sometimes they didn’t say it at all, but it was there. Oh, I’d fixed them, all right. I knew how to roll with that punch and give it right back in the gut. I ought to have known, I’d had plenty of practice.

But you get tired. In a way it is too easy, and so it isn’t fun anymore. And then you get so you don’t get mad anymore, it has happened so often. But those aren’t the reasons. It is just that those people who say that to you – or don’t say it – aren’t right and they aren’t wrong. If it were absolutely either way, you wouldn’t have to think about it, you could just shut your eyes and let them have it in the gut. But the trouble is, they are half right and half wrong, and in the end that is what paralyses you. Trying to sort out the one from the other. You can’t explain it to them, for there isn’t ever time and there is always that look on their faces. So you get to a point in the end where you don’t even let them have it in the gut. You just look at them, and it is like a dream or something remembered from a long time back or like they weren’t there at all.

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