This is What Happens When You Compare Inspiring Malala Quotes to Awful DC Rhetoric

By Danny Rubin

Courage vs. callousness.

Fearlessness vs. pettiness.

Malala Yousafzai vs. Congress

During the first half of October, Gen Y had the privilege to hear from Yousafzai, the Afghanistan teen nearly killed in defiance of Islamic extremism and its crusade against women’s education. Simultaneously, we have been disappointed by the shallow political rhetoric on Capitol Hill over the government shutdown and the debt limit deadline (which happens on Thursday).

The two stories seem unrelated until we place quotes from Yousafzai alongside those from Congress. Then we can recognize what a hero truly sounds like.

Malala on being shot in the head by the Taliban

“I’m never going to give up. They only shot a body but they cannot shoot my dreams.”

Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) on the poor quality of the House gym during the shutdown

“There’s hardly anybody working down there. There’s no towel service, we’re doing our own laundry down there,” he said. “And we pay a fee to belong to the House gym. So this is no different than if you’re working for an employer that offers a wellness program. You pay a fee to belong, that’s what we do there.”


Malala on the value of education

“If a terrorist can change someone’s mind and convince them to become a suicide bomber, we can also change their minds and tell them education is the only way to bring humanity and peace.”

Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on the shutdown

“Government is closed, because of the irrationality of what is going on on the other side of the Capitol.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on the shutdown

“[Democrats would] rather see the government shut down than do anything to protect the American people from the consequences of Obamacare.”


Malala on why she thinks she survived the shooting

“It feels like this life is not my life.  It’s a second life. People have prayed to God to spare me and I was spared for a reason—to use my life for helping people.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) on the idea that the shutdown is making Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) ‘happy’

“She’s happy? She’s happy that millions of people don’t know where the next check is coming? She’s happy that plane crashes can’t be investigated? She’s happy that superfund sites can’t be cleaned up? She’s happy that veterans are scared?”


Malala on why she wants to be a politician

“Because a doctor can only help someone who has been shot. If I become a politician, I can help make a tomorrow where there are no more cases of people being shot.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) wasting time during a 21-hour ‘filibuster’ to delay a vote on a spending bill

“[My father] put green food coloring in the eggs, chopped up ham in it. Green Eggs and Ham was my favorite book when I was a boy. The food coloring is a little bit cheating, but if you take some spinach and mix it into the eggs, the eggs turn green.”


Malala on forgiveness

“I do not even hate the Talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him. This is the compassion that I have learnt from Muhammad the Prophet of Mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha…. And this is the forgiveness that I have learnt from my mother and father. This is what my soul is telling me, be peaceful and love everyone.”

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), angry that the government closed the WWII memorial during the shutdown

“Obama and Democrats are curb-stomping veterans because they believe their allies in the mainstream media will falsely blame it on Republicans, even though orders to kill funding and close war memorials come on the letterhead of Democrat leaders and the White House.”

That’s right. He said “curb-stomping veterans.”


Malala on confronting Islamic extremists over her push for women’s education

“If [the Taliban] comes, what would you do, Malala? Then I would reply to myself ‘Malala, just take a shoe and hit him.’ But then I said ‘if you hit a Talib with your shoe, then there would be no difference between you and the Talib. You must not treat others with that much cruelty and that harshly. You must fight others but through peace and through dialogue and through education. Then I will tell him how important education is…and that I even want education for your children, as well. Then I will tell him ‘That’s what I want to tell you. Now do what you want.”

Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) on keeping the fight going in DC…just because

“We’re not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”


What more proof do we need? OK, this oughta do it.

Watch the full Malala interview — and witness a speechless Jon Stewart — on “The Daily Show.”


What impressed you most about Malala Yousafzai? 

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