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Mayor John Pappas (Character)
from City Hall (1996)
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Mayor John Pappas: I was warned not to come here. I was warned. They warned me, "Don't stand behind that coffin." But why should I heed such a warning, when a heartbeat is silent and a child lies dead? "Don't stand behind" this coffin. That boy was as pure and as innocent as the driven snow. But I must stand here, because I have not given you what you should have. Until we can walk abroad and recreate ourselves; until we can stroll along the streets like boulevards; congregate in parks free from fear, our families mingling, our children laughing, our hearts joined - until that day we have no city. You can label me a failure until that day. The first and perhaps only great mayor was Greek. He was Pericles of Athens, and he lived some 2500 years ago, and he said, "All things good on this Earth flow into the City, because of the City's greatness." Well, we were great once. Can we not be great again? Now, I put that question to James Bone, and there's only silence. Yet could not something pass from this sweet youth to me? Could he not empower me to find in myself the strength to have the knowledge to summon up the courage to accomplish this seemingly insurmountable task of making a city livable? Just livable. There was a palace that was a city. It was a PALACE! It was a PALACE and it CAN BE A PALACE AGAIN! A PALACE, in which there is no king or queen, or dukes or earls or princes, but subjects all: subjects beholden to each other, to make a better place to live. Is that too much to ask?
Mayor John Pappas: Are we asking too much for this?
Mayor John Pappas: Is it beyond our reach?
Some Audience Members: No!
Mayor John Pappas: Because if it is, then we are nothing but sheep being herded to the final SLAUGHTERHOUSE! I will not go down, THAT WAY!
[the audience begins shouting approval]
Mayor John Pappas: I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what's within me is also WITHIN YOU.
Audience Member: Amen!
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