Who said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt"?
The quote has been attributed to Mark Twain, Franz Kafka, Benjamin Franklin, Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, Leonid Zelig, and many, many others.
In truth, though, the quip was uttered in 1871 by Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s third cousin, twice removed – at her request), after President Grant had suggested that the Great Chicago Fire could have been avoided had the O’Leary family only kept their yard and nearby forest areas raked.
Now almost 150 years later, history repeated itself when Donald Trump made a similar statement -- and once again, he removed all doubt that he is a fool. Here is what he said as reported by the Huffington Post:
“You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important,“ Trump noted Saturday surrounded by the devastation of the burned town of Paradise in northern California.
“I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different —we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when they do, it’s a very small problem.”
Critics were stumped by the raking solution.
They also pointed out the many extreme differences between warm, sunny, drought-stricken California with its annual destructive (and growing worse) fire seasons — and Finland, land of marshes, cold temperatures and snow. A quarter of the nation is within the Arctic Circle.
When pressed on the climate, Trump said, "I have a strong opinion: I want great climate, we’re going to have that." Maybe so, if he can sign an executive order to get us all outside raking and cleaning and doing things.
Trump's idiotic remarks called to mind Emmett Lee Dickinson's poem "A Man did make a Remark" (below on the left) which he wrote when President Grant made his ludicrous statement following the Chicago fire. Dickinson's poem inspired third cousin Emily to pen her poem "A Man may make a Remark" (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
A Man did make a Remark –
In itself – a foolish thing
That did furnish the Fuse unto Spark
His dotty nature – lain –
Let us report – with skill –
Let us discourse – with care –
“We must all rake the Forest –
Before it exists in Fire.”
By Emily Dickinson:
A Man may make a Remark --
In itself — a quiet thing
That may furnish the Fuse unto a Spark
In dormant nature — lain --
Let us deport — with skill --
Let us discourse — with care --
Powder exists in Charcoal --
Before it exists in Fire.
For more information on Trump, climate change, and the California wildfires, click HERE.