Mario Cuomo


American Politician, Governor of New York

Author Quotes

We believe we must be the family of America, recognizing that at the heart of the matter we are bound one to another, that the problems of a retired school teacher in Duluth are our problems; that the future of the child ? that the future of the child in Buffalo is our future; that the struggle of a disabled man in Boston to survive and live decently is our struggle; that the hunger of a woman in Little Rock is our hunger; that the failure anywhere to provide what reasonably we might, to avoid pain, is our failure.

We know that the price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that they might someday force theirs on us.

We must get the American public to look past the glitter, beyond the showmanship, to the reality, the hard substance of things. And we'll do it not so much with speeches that will bring people to their feet as with speeches that bring people to their senses.

When you?ve parked the second car in the garage, and installed the hot tub, and skied in Colorado, and wind-surfed in the Caribbean, when you?ve had your first love affair and your second and your third, the question will remain, where does the dream end for me?

Yeah. Just think, if I had been there the speeches would have gone on even longer. Maybe two hours!

You have these people who don't like the government they're supposed to be running.

You want calamities? What about the Ice Age? ... God made this world, but didn't complete it.

You will not be able to tell that they are capable of greatness until you provide them with a packed house, a 3-and-2 count and the game is on the line.

We believe in only the government we need, but we insist on all the government we need.

I talk and talk and talk, and I haven?t taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week.

Our public morality, then ? the moral standards we maintain for everyone, not just the ones we insist on in our private lives ? depends on a consensus view of right and wrong. The values derived from religious belief will not ? and should not ? be accepted as part of the public morality unless they are shared by the pluralistic community at large, by consensus. That those values happen to be religious values does not deny them acceptability as a part of this consensus. But it does not require their acceptability, either.

Decide exactly what you want to achieve. Do you want to help people, or do you want to be powerful?

I think it's already apparent that a good part of this Nation understands ? if only instinctively ? that anything which seems to suggest that God favors a political party or the establishment of a state church, is wrong and dangerous.

People expect Byzantine, Machiavellian logic from politicians. But the truth is simple. Trial lawyers learn a good rule: 'Don't decide what you don't have to decide.' That's not evasion, it's wisdom.

Do we have the right now to tell them that when Saint Francis begged the Lord to teach him to want to console instead of seeking to be consoled ? to teach him to want to love instead of desiring to be loved ? that he was really being selfish? Because he knew the only way to be fulfilled and pleased and happy was to give instead of trying to get.

I told them that my grandfather had died in the Great Crash of 1929 ? a stockbroker jumped out of a window and crushed him and his pushcart down below.

Scott Stringer has a record of standing up to special interests and getting results for the people of Manhattan. I know a real reformer when I see one and Scott Stringer is the real deal.

Do you blame me, ladies and gentlemen, for being reluctant to deliver to them the message that is traditional on commencement day?

I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work fifteen and sixteen hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.

Tell me, ladies and gentlemen, are we the ones to tell them what their instructors have tried to teach them for years? That the philosophers were right. That Saint Francis, Buddha, Muhammad, Maimonides ? all spoke the truth when they said the only way to serve yourself is to serve others; and that Aristotle was right, before them, when he said the only way to assure yourself happiness is to learn to give happiness.

Entertainers and sports figures achieve fame and wealth but find the world empty and dull without the solace and stimulation of drugs.

I wish I could say he was the product of a developed politics here that is so strong, but he wasn't, ... And, neither was Hillary. Hillary was an import from Washington who chose, to our benefit, to come to New York. Yeah, they are New Yorkers now and very much so, but not a product of New York politics.

The American people need no course in philosophy or political science or church history to know that God should not be made into a celestial party chairman.

Every time I've done something that doesn't feel right, it's ended up not being right.

I would like to tell them, the graduates, all of this, and I know that if we thought they would not be embarrassed by hearing it, we would all be telling them about how proud we are of them and how much we believe in them and their future. But again maybe we don't have to tell them; maybe they know. Maybe they can tell just by seeing the love in our eyes today.

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American Politician, Governor of New York