“I am suspicious of leaders, and especially of the intellectual variety. Give me the rank and file every day in the week.
“If you go to the city of Washington, and you examine the pages of the Congressional Directory, you will find that almost all of those corporation lawyers and cowardly politicians, members of Congress, and misrepresentatives of the masses — you will find that almost all of them claim, in glowing terms, that they have risen from the ranks to places of eminence and distinction.
“I am very glad I cannot make that claim for myself. I would be ashamed to admit that I had risen from the ranks. When I rise, it will be with the ranks, and not from the ranks.”
— Eugene V. Debs, The Canton, Ohio Anti-War Speech (6/16/1918)