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Quotes for
President Jordan Lyman (Character)
from Seven Days in May (1964)

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Seven Days in May (1964)
General James Mattoon Scott: And if you want to talk about your oath of office, I'm here to tell you face to face, President Lyman, that you violated that oath when you stripped this country of its muscles - when you deliberately played upon the fear and fatigue of the people and told them they could remove that fear by the stroke of a pen. And then when this nation rejected you, lost faith in you, and began militantly to oppose you, you violated that oath by not resigning from office and turning the country over to someone who could represent the people of the United States.
President Jordan Lyman: And that would be General James Mattoon Scott, would it? I don't know whether to laugh at that kind of megalomania, or simply cry.
General James Mattoon Scott: James Mattoon Scott, as you put it, hasn't the slightest interest in his own glorification. But he does have an abiding interest in the survival of this country.
President Jordan Lyman: Then, by God, run for office. You have such a fervent, passionate, evangelical faith in this country - why in the name of God don't you have any faith in the system of government you're so hell-bent to protect?

President Jordan Lyman: All right, Colonel. Let's sum it up, shall we? You're suggesting what?
Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I'm not sure, Mr. President: just some possibilities, what we call, uh "capabilities" in military intelligence...
President Jordan Lyman: You got something against the English language, Colonel?
Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: No, sir.
President Jordan Lyman: Then speak it plainly, if you will.
Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I'm suggesting, Mr. President, there's a military plot to take over the government. This may occur some time this coming Sunday.

President Jordan Lyman: The next step should be to your liking, Chris. Esther, call the Pentagon. Tell General Scott I want to see him right away.
Esther Townsend: [on intercom] Yes, sir.
Christopher Todd: I think it's time we faced the enemy, Mr. President.
President Jordan Lyman: He's not the enemy. Scott, the Joint Chiefs, even the very emotional, very illogical lunatic fringe: they're not the enemy. The enemy's an age - a nuclear age. It happens to have killed man's faith in his ability to influence what happens to him. And out of this comes a sickness, and out of sickness a frustration, a feeling of impotence, helplessness, weakness. And from this, this desperation, we look for a champion in red, white, and blue. Every now and then a man on a white horse rides by, and we appoint him to be our personal god for the duration. For some men it was a Senator McCarthy, for others it was a General Walker, and now it's a General Scott.

Senator Raymond Clark: Ah, don't get your nanny up; you knew there'd be some dislocations. You can't gear a country's economy for war for 20 years, then suddenly slam on the brakes and expect the whole transition to go like grease through a goose. Hmph. Doesn't work out like that. And think how the whole psychology of the thing's been screwed up from the outset. We've been hating the Russians for a quarter of a century. Suddenly we sign a treaty that says in two months they're to dismantle their bombs, we're to dismantle ours, and we all ride to a peaceful glory. This country will probably live as if peace were just as big a threat as war.
President Jordan Lyman: Dammit, Ray, we could've had our paradise. Yes, by God, we could've had full employment, whopping Gross National Product, nice cushy feeling that we've got a bomb for every one of theirs. But just as sure as God made the state of Georgia, there'd've come one day when they'd've blown us up, or we'd've blown them up. My doctor worries about my blood pressure. You know who that gentleman is down there with the black box. There are five of them... you know that one of them sits outside my bedroom at night? You know what he carries in that box: the codes. The codes by which I, Jordan Lyman, can give the orders sending us into a nuclear war. Instead of my blood pressure, Horace should worry about my sanity.

President Jordan Lyman: I know what Scott's attitude on the treaty is, what's yours?
Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I agree with General Scott, sir. I think we're being played for suckers. I think it's really your business. Yours and the Senate. You did it, and they agreed so, well, I don't see how we in the military can question it. I mean we can question it, but we can't fight it. We shouldn't, anyway.
President Jordan Lyman: Jiggs, isn't it? Isn't that what they call you?
Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: Yes sir.
President Jordan Lyman: So you, ah, you stand by the Constitution, Jiggs?
Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: I never thought of it just like that, Mr. President, but, well, that's what we got and I guess it's worked pretty well so far. I sure don't want to be the one to say we ought to change it.
President Jordan Lyman: Neither do I.

President Jordan Lyman: [introducing his dog Trimmer to Col. Casey] Trimmer is a very political dog. He doesn't have many principles, but he's loyal to his friends.

[last lines]
President Jordan Lyman: [to reporters at a televised press conference] There's been abroad in this land in recent months a whisper that we have somehow lost our greatness, that we do not have the strength to win without war the struggles for liberty throughout the world. This is slander, because our country is strong, strong enough to be a peacemaker. It is proud, proud enough to be patient. The whisperers and the detractors, the violent men are wrong. We will remain strong and proud, peaceful and patient, and we will see a day when on this earth all men will walk out of the long tunnels of tyranny into the bright sunshine of freedom.
[president exits; reporters stand and applaud]
Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, that was the President of the United States.

President Jordan Lyman: You ever been up here before?
Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey: It's a big room.
President Jordan Lyman: [Sarcastically] Too big for living and too small for a convention.