“THIS I BELIEVE” ,by Robert A. Heinlein

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May 11, 2021, 11:33:56 AMMay 11

by Robert A. Heinlein
Robert A. Heinlein wrote these words in 1952 and delivered them to a
national radio audience in a broadcast interview by Edward R. Murrow.
His wife, Virginia Heinlein, read them when she accepted on his behalf
NASA’s Distinguished Public Service Medal on October 6, 1988, awarded
him posthumously.
I am not going to talk about religious beliefs, but about matters so
obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them.

I believe in my neighbors.

I know their faults and I know that their virtues far outweigh their
faults. Take Father Michael down our road a piece –I’m not of his creed,
but I know the goodness and charity and loving kindness that shine in
his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike; if I’m in trouble, I’ll go
to him. My next-door neighbor is a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out
of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat. No fee — no prospect of a
fee. I believe in Doc.

I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town say,
‘I’m hungry,’ and you will be fed. Our town is no exception; I’ve found
the same ready charity everywhere. For the one who says, ‘To heck with
you — I got mine,’ there are a hundred, a thousand, who will say, ‘Sure,
pal, sit down.’

I know that, despite all warnings against hitchhikers, I can step to the
highway, thumb for a ride and in a few minutes a car or a truck will
stop and someone will say, ‘Climb in, Mac. How how far you going?’

I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime,
yet for every criminal there are 10,000 honest decent kindly men. If it
were not so, no child would live to grow up, business could not go on
from day to day. Decency is not news; it is buried in the obituaries
–but it is a force stronger than crime.

I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses…in the tedious sacrifices
of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against
desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land.

I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There
never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence
Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square
by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.

I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed
alderman there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all,
doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work.
If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen

I believe in Rodger Young. You and I are free today because of endless
unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River.”

“I believe in — I am proud to belong to — the United States. Despite
shortcomings, from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has
had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies
to be found anywhere in history.

And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow, white, black, red,
brown –in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability….and
goodness…..of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters
everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe
that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth, that we always make
it just by the skin of our teeth –but that we will always make
it….survive….endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the
aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely
up from the apes, will endure –will endure longer than his home planet,
will spread out to the other planets, to the stars, and beyond, carrying
with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage
–and his noble essential decency.

This I believe with all my heart.

Mrs. Heinlein received a standing ovation.
Mrs. Heinlein held the copyright for “This I believe”, and we use it
here with her gracious permission.
by The Heinlein Society on March 17, 2020
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