Tag Archives: Walt Kelly

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 – “We Have Met the Enemy and He is Us.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2015 – “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

“We have met the enemy and he is us” is probably the most famous Pogo quotation. (Google “Pogo”) The quote is a parody of a message sent in 1813 from U.S. Navy Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to Army General, William Henry Harrison after his victory in the Battle of Lake Erie. Note to uniformed and misinformed – The Battle of Lake Erie was during the War of 1812. It was the United States against Great Britain and not the invasion of New York by the United States government.

The quote has appeared in several forms and is included in The Pogo Papers. The foreword of the book in which the cartoonist Walt Kelly defends his actions reads as follows:

“Traces of nobility, gentleness and courage persist in all people do what we will to stamp out the trend.  So, too, do those characteristics which are ugly.  It is just unfortunate that in the clumsy hands of a cartoonist all traits become ridiculous, leading to a certain amount of self-conscious expostulation and the desire to join battle.  There is no need to sally forth, for it remains true that those things which make us human are, curiously enough, always close at hand.  Resolve then, that on this very ground, with small flags waving and tinny blasts on tiny trumpets, we shall meet the enemy, and not only may he be ours, he may be us. Forward!”

Walt Kelly, June 1953, The Pogo Papers defending his attacks on McCarthyism.

Sounds like today, doesn’t it?