Let us at least be real

We hear much of visions and I trust we shall continue to have visions and dream dreams of a fairer future for the race. But visions are one thing and visionaries are another, and the mechanical appliances of the rhetorician designed to give a picture of a present which does not exist and of a future which no man can predict are as unreal and shortlived as the steam or canvas clouds, the angels suspended on wires and the artificial lights of the stage. They pass with the moment of effect and are shabby and tawdry in the daylight. Let us at least be real.

Henry Cabot Lodge

Washington DC, 12 August 1912

Interestingly, this was part of a speech made in US Congress against Woodrow Wilson’s proposition of the League of Nations. Lodge’s reservations about handing over power to international influences were later codified in the Security Council vetoes granted to the major powers of the UN. I guess time will tell if this was ‘A Good Thing’.

Wilson embarked on a speaking tour of the US in support of the Treaty, which was defeated by a few votes, and this turned out to be his undoing. He collapsed a month after this speech in Colorado and on his subsequent return to the White House suffered the massive stroke that ended his active presidency.