Everett Dirksen

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I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.
The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!

Everett McKinley Dirksen (4 January 18967 September 1969) was an Illinoisan Republican Senator and civil rights proponent.

Quotes[edit]

  • I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times.
    • As quoted in Caught Between the Dog and the Fireplug, or, How to Survive Public Service (2001) by Kenneth H. Ashworth, p. 11
  • When I face an issue of great import that cleaves both constituents and colleagues, I always take the same approach. I engage in deep deliberation and quiet contemplation. I wait to the last available minute and then I always vote with the losers. Because, my friend, the winners never remember and the losers never forget.
    • As quoted in Business Wit & Wisdom (2005) by Richard S. Zera, p. 164

1960s[edit]

  • Stronger than all the armies is an idea that's time has come. … The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing in government, in education, and in employment. It will not be stayed or denied. It is here!
  • We have been through this biennial convulsion four or five different times over the past 10 or 12 years, and now it appears that we are going through this quiet agony all over again.
    • Remarks in the Senate on a resolution to amend Senate Rule 22 (cloture), Congressional Record (January 11, 1967), vol. 113, p. 182


Misattributed[edit]

  • A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon, you're talking real money.
    • Although often quoted, it seems Dirksen never actually said this. The Dirksen Congressional Research Center made an extensive search when fully 25% of enquiries to them were about the quotation. They could find Dirksen did say "a billion here, a billion there", and things close to that, but not the "pretty soon you're talking real money" part. They had one gentleman report to them he had asked Dirksen about it on an airflight and received the reply: "Oh, I never said that. A newspaper fella misquoted me once, and I thought it sounded so good that I never bothered to deny it."

Funny, I remember Senator Dirksen, in his gravily voice, saying it on TV in the 1960's quite distinctly. Perhaps, either it wasn't recorded, or any TV station with him saying it, has never come forward, despite the claim of the man who said he talked with Senator Dirksen on a flight about it. I remember him saying it in his often theatrical, exaggerated style, for the purpose of mockedly belittling the notion of a billion dollars being a "small" sum of money.

Tgdf (talk)Except if you look at the years when this was supposedly said, I believe Dirksen (or at least the actual speaker) said "a million here, a million there, pretty soon you're talking real money". This was already inflated to billions decades ago. But at the time, there was NOTHING that individually cost a billion dollars. Even hundreds of millions was VERY RARE in the 1960s. I don't know if I actually saw tape of him saying this, but I do remember the correction of billions to millions in the '70s or '80s. And when you think of it, the confusion of millions & billions alone makes the quote all that more outré. I could swear that I heard him say it on TV also....but the 1960s were a long time ago.Tgdf (talk)

Quotes about Dirksen[edit]

  • Little known by many today is the fact that it was Republican Senator Everett Dirksen from Illinois, not Johnson, who pushed through the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In fact, Dirksen was instrumental to the passage of civil rights legislation in 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965 and 1968. Dirksen wrote the language for the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Dirksen also crafted the language for the Civil Rights Act of 1968 which prohibited discrimination in housing.
  • Democrats today ignore the pivotal role played by Senator Dirksen in obtaining passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act, while heralding President Johnson as a civil rights advocate for signing the bill. The chief opponents of the 1964 Civil Rights Act were Democrat Senators Sam Ervin, Albert Gore, Sr., father of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and Robert Byrd who filibustered against the bill for 14 straight hours before the final vote.

External links[edit]