“Has It Come To This?”

Yesterday after reading various accounts of the efforts of certain European leaders to humiliate Greece, I happened to pick up my copy of Robert Remini’s biography of Henry Clay and randomly opened it to a page featuring this passage:

Suddenly he raised his fist high over his head. His eyes flashed, and the tone of his voice hardened. “Sir,” he shouted, “has it come to this? Are we so humbled, so low, so despicable, that we dare not express our sympathy for suffering Greece, lest, peradventure, we might offend some one or more of their imperial and royal majesties?”

–House Speaker Henry Clay, 1824, supporting a resolution to offer aid to Greek independence fighters resisting the Ottoman Empire.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.