January 15, 2014
"Pettiness cannot be allowed to stand in the face of such overwhelming problems; so today we're not being petty. We are trying to be big, because the task we have before us is a big one." - Rep. Barbara Jordan, delivered in front of the members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in her opening speech on the President Richard Nixon's Impeachment hearings.
I am unsure of the credibility of 'American Rhetoric,' but they list this performance as number 13 on their list of the 100 most significant American political speeches of the 20th century. (Note that Ms. Jordan also holds the number 5 spot for her keynote address at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.)
Clipped from the video, she ends her speech with the declaration that "It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision." That's the sort of magnanimity sorely lacking in today's political discourse.