Thousand points of light

Last updated

The phrase "a thousand points of light" was popularized by U.S. President George H. W. Bush and later formed the name of a private, non-profit organization launched by Bush to support volunteerism. [1]

Contents

History

The first known instance of the phrase "a thousand points of light" appears in Arthur C. Clarke's short story "Rescue Party," initially published in Astounding Science-Fiction, May 1946:

One entire wall of the control room was taken up by the screen, a great black rectangle that gave an impression of almost infinite depth. Three of Rugon's slender control tentacles, useless for heavy work but incredibly swift at all manipulation, flickered over the selector dials and the screen lit up with a thousand points of light.

- Location 844, in "The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, RosettaBooks, electronic edition (2016)

It was later found in William S. Burroughs' "Lee's Journals," written between 1954 and 1957 and initially published in 1981:

The sky over Vienna was a light, hard, china blue, and a cold spring wind whipped Martin's loose gabardine topcoat around his thin body. He felt the ache of desire in his loins, like a toothache when the pain is light and different from any other pain. He turned a corner; the Danube stabbed his eyes with a thousand points of light, and he felt the full force of the wind and had to lean forward to maintain balance.

p. 77, in"Lee's Journals", Interzone (Penguin Books) (1989)

Something very close to the phrase "a thousand points of light" also appeared in Chapter 8 (The Fight At The Lamp-Post) of C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew, published in 1955. The context is a description of the appearance of stars in the previously dark heaven of Narnia as that world was being created by Aslan:

"One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leapt out -- single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world."

The term was used by George H.W. Bush in his speech accepting the presidential nomination at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. Written for Bush by Peggy Noonan and Craig R. Smith, the address likened America's clubs and volunteer organizations to "a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky." [2]

Bush reprised the phrase near the end of his speech, affirming that he would "keep America moving forward, always forward—for a better America, for an endless enduring dream and a thousand points of light." [2]

He repeated the phrase in his inaugural address on January 20, 1989:

I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good. We will work hand in hand, encouraging, sometimes leading, sometimes being led, rewarding. We will work on this in the White House, in the Cabinet agencies. I will go to the people and the programs that are the brighter points of light, and I will ask every member of my government to become involved. The old ideas are new again because they are not old, they are timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in. [3]

Bush did not attribute the phrase to either Burroughs or Lewis. It has been speculated Bush avoided all mention of William S. Burroughs in his first two major speeches because he did not wish to associate his candidacy or incipient presidency with Burroughs' controversial works and personal escapades.

A 1991 article in The New York Times noted that the phrase had inspired "a host of caustic political satires, including cartoons of devastated communities as 'a thousand points of blight.'" [4]

U.S. President Donald Trump mocked the phrase at a rally in Montana on July 5, 2018, asking "What does that mean? I know one thing: Make America Great Again we understand. Putting America first we understand. Thousand points of light, I never quite got that one. What the hell is that? Has anyone ever figured that one out? It was put out by a Republican wasn't it?" [5] [6] [7]

The term "a thousand points of light was further popularized in Canadian songwriter Neil Young's legendary rock anthem titled "Keep on Rocking in The Free World", where the lyrics bemoan "...a Thousand Points of Light, for the homeless man".

On December 5, 2018, former U.S. President George W. Bush eulogized his father, late former U.S. President George H.W. Bush at the State Funeral held at the Washington National Cathedral. Part of that eulogy included the following text that made reference to his father's passion for public service.

He strongly believed that it was important to give back to the community and country in which one lived. He recognized that serving others enriched the giver’s soul. To us, his was the brightest of a thousand points of light. [8]

Points of Light organization and awards

During his presidency Bush handed out "Point of Light Awards" six days a week to citizens working to aid their communities through volunteer work. [9]

In 1990 Bush spearheaded the creation of the Points of Light Foundation, the goal of which was to promote private, non-governmental solutions to social issues.

The foundation was criticized in a 1995 investigation by the Los Angeles Times for spending only 11% of its budget on grants to volunteer organizations, while spending $22.3 million on "promotions, consultants, salaries, travel and conferences," including "$5.5 million to produce a television advertising campaign and $1.4 million for a celebration of community service." The Times also noted that the foundation received more than half its budget from federal funds. [1]

The foundation's name changed periodically, but following a merger in 2007 with the Atlanta-based HandsOn Network, the conjoined organization came to be called simply Points of Light. The organization now has headquarters in Atlanta, Washington and New York, and bills itself "the world's leading volunteer organization." [10]

Points of Light has more than 250 affiliates in 30 countries and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and companies dedicated to volunteer service around the world. In 2012, Points of Light mobilized 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service worth $635 million. [11]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 "Bush's Points of Light found a little dim". The Baltimore Sun . January 9, 1995. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  2. 1 2 Bush, George (August 18, 1988). "Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans". The American Presidency Project. Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  3. "George Bush Inaugural Address". Bartleby.com. January 20, 1989. Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  4. DeParle, Jason (May 29, 1991). "'Thousand Points' as a Cottage Industry". The New York Times . Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  5. Price, Greg (July 6, 2018). "Donald Trump Mocked Both John McCain, Who Is Dying, and George H.W. Bush, Who Just Lost His Wife, at Montana Rally". Newsweek . Retrieved December 2, 2018.
  6. Molina, Brett (July 6, 2018). "President Trump Takes Swipe at George H.W. Bush's 'Thousand Points of Light'". USA Today . Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  7. Romero, Dennis (December 1, 2018). "Trumps Praise Bush's 'a Thousand Points of Light,' but President Once Mocked It". NBC News . Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  8. "Full text: George W. Bush's Eulogy". politico.com. December 5, 2018. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
  9. Gerstenzang, James (October 1, 1991). "Bush, Mickey Mouse Praise Points of Light Program". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  10. "Points of Light Overview." March 2012. .
  11. "Points of Light 2012 Year in Review" (PDF). Points of Light. Retrieved 22 May 2013.

Related Research Articles

George H. W. Bush 41st president of the United States

George Herbert Walker Bush was an American politician, diplomat, and businessman who served as the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993. A member of the Republican Party, Bush also served as the 43rd vice president from 1981 to 1989 under Ronald Reagan, in the U.S. House of Representatives, as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and as Director of Central Intelligence.

Barbara Bush American First Lady

Barbara Pierce Bush was the first lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993 as the wife of George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st president of the United States, and the founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She previously was the second lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Among her six children are George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, and Jeb Bush, the 43rd governor of Florida. She and Abigail Adams are the only two women to be married to one U.S. president and the mother of another.

Americas Promise

America's Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest cross-sector alliance of nonprofit, community organizations, businesses, and government organization dedicated to improving the lives of young people.

"Peace through strength" is a phrase that suggests that military power can help preserve peace. It is quite old and has famously been used by many leaders from Roman Emperor Hadrian in the first century AD to former US President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. The concept has long been associated with realpolitik. The idea has critics, with Andrew Bacevich stating, "'Peace through strength' easily enough becomes 'peace through war.'"

Neil Bush American businessman and investor

Neil Mallon Bush is an American businessman and investor. He is the fourth of six children of former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. His five siblings are George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States; Jeb Bush, a former governor of Florida; the late Pauline Robinson Bush; Marvin Bush; and Dorothy Bush Koch. Neil Bush is currently a businessman based in Texas.

1988 Republican National Convention

The 1988 Republican National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States was held in the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana from August 15 to August 18, 1988. It was the second time that a major party held its convention in one of the five states known as the Deep South, coming on the heels of the 1988 Democratic National Convention, which was held in Atlanta, Georgia. Much of the impetus for holding the convention in the Superdome came from the Louisiana Republican National Committeewoman Virginia Martinez of New Orleans, who lobbied on behalf of her adopted home city as the convention site as a member of the RNC Executive Committee.

Rockin in the Free World 1989 single by Neil Young

"Rockin' in the Free World" is a song by Neil Young co-written with Frank "Poncho" Sampedro released on Young's 1989 album Freedom. Two versions of the song were released, similarly to the song "Hey Hey, My My " from Young's Rust Never Sleeps album, one of which is performed with a predominantly acoustic arrangement, and the other with a predominantly electric arrangement. The song is now considered one of Neil Young's best songs. The song was ranked 216 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Points of Light is an international nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in the United States dedicated to engaging more people and resources in solving serious social problems through voluntary service.

George W. Bush 43rd president of the United States

George Walker Bush is an American politician and businessman who served as the 43rd president of the United States from 2001 to 2009. A member of the Republican Party, Bush previously served as the 46th governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000. He was born into the Bush family; his father, George H. W. Bush, was the 41st president of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

Presidents Volunteer Service Award Award

The President's Volunteer Service Award is a civil award bestowed by the President of the United States. Established by executive order by George W. Bush, the award was established to honor volunteers that give hundreds of hours per year helping others through the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation. The award can be granted to individuals, families and organizations located throughout the United States. Depending on the amount of service hours completed, individuals can receive the Bronze, Silver, Gold, and/or the President's Call to Service Award. The Call to Service Award is the most prestigious, and it has been awarded to few Americans to recognize over 4,000 hours of extraordinary service including notable honorees such as S. Truett Cathy, Mark Carman, Zach Bonner. Awardees may receive a personalized certificate, an official pin, medallion, and/or a congratulatory letter from the President depending on the award earned.

George W. Bush Presidential Center Presidential library and museum for U.S. President George W. Bush, located in Dallas, Texas

The George W. Bush Presidential Center, which opened on April 25, 2013, is a complex that includes former United States President George W. Bush's presidential library and museum, the George W. Bush Policy Institute, and the offices of the George W. Bush Foundation. It is located on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in University Park, Texas, near Dallas. It will be the future resting place of George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States (2001–2009), and his wife Laura Bush.

Presidency of George H. W. Bush U.S. presidential administration from 1989 to 1993

George H. W. Bush's tenure as the 41st president of the United States began with his inauguration on January 20, 1989, and ended on January 20, 1993. Bush, a Republican from Texas and the incumbent vice president of the United States, took office after a landslide victory over Democrat Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential election. His presidency ended following his defeat in the 1992 presidential election by Democrat Bill Clinton. Bush, the 41st president, is the father of the 43rd president, George W. Bush.

Weekly address of the President of the United States

The Weekly address of the President of the United States is the weekly speech by the President of the United States to the nation. Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first U.S. president to deliver such radio addresses. Ronald Reagan revived the practice of delivering a weekly Saturday radio broadcast in 1982, and his successors all continued the practice until Donald Trump ceased doing so seventeen months into his term.

White House Hanukkah Party

The White House Hanukkah Party is an annual reception held at the White House and hosted by the U.S. President and First Lady to recognize and celebrate the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. The tradition was established in 2001, during the administration of George W. Bush. The guest list includes hundreds of American Jewish politicians, organization heads, and school and yeshiva deans.

Palestine–United States relations Diplomatic relations between the State of Palestine and the United States of America

Relations between the United States of America and Palestinians are complex and strained. The United States does not recognize the State of Palestine, but accepts the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as a representative of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian National Authority as the authority legitimately governing the Palestinian territories under the Oslo Accords.

National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration observed in many countries, to promote and show appreciation for volunteerism and volunteering. In the United States it is organized by the Points of Light foundation and in Canada by Volunteering Canada. It is held in those two countries in mid to late April. In New Zealand and Australia it is held in May. In the UK, it is held in the first week of June.

Michelle Nunn American nonprofit executive

Mary Michelle Nunn is an American philanthropic executive and politician. Since 2015 she has been president and CEO of CARE USA, the American national member of CARE International, the humanitarian aid and international development agency. She was CEO of Points of Light, an American nonprofit organization, from 2007 to 2013, and is a member of its board of directors as of 2015. She had been an executive for the volunteer service organization since 1990, previously running the predecessor and member organizations Hands On Atlanta, City Cares, and HandsOn Network. Nunn was the Democratic Party nominee in the race for Georgia's U.S. Senate seat in 2014. She is the daughter of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn.

The post-presidency of George H. W. Bush began at noon on January 20, 1993 following the end of George H. W. Bush's term as president. Bush was the 41st President of the United States, serving from 1989 to 1993. His post-presidency ended on November 30, 2018 following his death.

Saturday Night Live parodies of George H. W. Bush began in 1980 with his vice presidency under Ronald Reagan. The portrayals continued through his presidential campaigns in 1980, 1988, and 1992. SNL has aired dozens of George H. W. Bush parodies by several actors including Jim Downey, Fred Armisen, and most famously by Dana Carvey, regarded as one of the greatest in the show's history.