No single event has influenced the history of labor in Illinois, the United States, and even the world, more than the Chicago Haymarket Affair. Read more about the tragedy in Haymarket Square and about the Haymarket Martyrs at the Illinois Labor History Society Website.
The May 4 Shootings at Kent State University. [Lewis and Hensley] – Kent State Sociologists review twelve of the most frequently asked questions about the tragedy.
“Our patriotism is that of the man who loves a woman with open eyes. He is enchanted by her beauty, yet he sees her faults. So we, too, who know America, love her beauty, her richness, her great possibilities; we love her mountains, her canyons, her forests, her Niagara, and her deserts–above all do we love the people that have produced her wealth, her artists who have created beauty, her great apostles who dream and work for liberty.”
— Emma Goldman, from her Address to the Jury, 9 July 1917
On September 12th, 1960, Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy addressed a group of Protestant ministers at the Rice Hotel in Houston, Texas. Many Protestants in the United States (particularly in the South) had expressed concern that a Roman Catholic President would be a mere puppet of the Vatican. Senator Kennedy went into the lions’ den to address the issue directly.
Here is a short excerpt.
I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end – where all men and all churches are treated as equal – where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice – where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind – and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood.
That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe – a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office.
This speech is getting some attention once again in the 2012 Presidential campaign, as Republican contender Rick Santorum (also a Catholic) has condemned the sentiment in some very strong terms.
Thank you, Rick, but I hold with JFK.
You can watch a video of the entire speech at the following link.
Address of Senator John F. Kennedy to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, September 12, 1960. [John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum]
”Any kind of action that relieves people’s distress a little bit, without changing the system, maintains the system. In fact that’s the way the American system – which is very exploitative and very unfair – that’s the way the American system is being maintained…by giving people a little bit, giving enough people, just enough, to keep them from breaking out in open revolt.”
Hat tip to my Fellow Worker, Adam, for posting this quote on Facebook the other day.
To all who served in the war in Iraq, I say, simply, thank you – and welcome home.
Today marks the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States. If ever there was a time that called for us to understand and to honor these sacred limits against tyranny, that time is now.
Here is the text of the Bill of Rights, originally proposed on March 4th, 1789 and ratified on December 15th, 1791, as transcribed by the National Archives.
Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
On this, the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, we remember those who lost their lives that day, and those who served their country in the Second World War. We pray for peace in our own day.
The photo above (from the National Archives) depicts sailors honoring those killed during the attack on the Naval Air Station at Kaneohe, Oahu. This ceremony likely took place on Memorial Day of 1942.
The official U.S. Naval History and Heritage site recounts that the attacks of December 7th, 1941 caught the United States by surprise.
By late November 1941, with peace negotiations clearly approaching an end, informed U.S. officials (and they were well-informed, they believed, through an ability to read Japan’s diplomatic codes) fully expected a Japanese attack into the Indies, Malaya and probably the Philippines. Completely unanticipated was the prospect that Japan would attack east, as well.
More than 2400 American soldiers and sailors died in the attack and nearly 1300 more were wounded.
It is difficult for those of us who weren’t alive at the time of this attack to fully comprehend what it meant to those who were, and the mark it left on their memories. I know that December 7th was a solemn day for my mother throughout her life, as it was for other family members, particularly those who were serving at the time or who followed the call soon thereafter.
I find myself filled with feelings of sorrow and bewilderment today. I wonder what lessons we might draw from the events at Pearl Harbor and those that preceded and followed. I ponder how I might have reacted had I lived in my parents’ generation. I mourn the lost and ruined lives that are always the cost of war. I consider the grave personal responsibility to work for peace and justice in this world (for that is a task that cannot be entrusted to the politicians, the diplomats and the generals). I pray for those who are living with war on this December 7th.
Surely there must be a better way.
This brings you best wishes on Thanksgiving with a couple of favorite old radio segments from The Internet Archive.
From a 1951 CBS Radio Broadcast of Life With Luigi, it’s Luigi’s Thanksgiving Dinner for America. Also, from Armed Forces Radio Service, it’s the 1944 Thanksgiving special on Command Performance.
Life With Luigi starred J. Carrol Naish as “the little immigrant” Luigi Basco. Each episode was framed as a letter from his new home in Chicago back to his mama in Italy. The program aired on CBS Radio in the late 40s and early 50s until the move to television in 1952. In this episode, Luigi makes plans to invite all of America to his house for the Thanksgiving celebration. Originally broadcast on November 22, 1949, click here for the MP3.
The episode of Command Performance was broadcast to U.S. troops serving in WW II during Thanksgiving of 1944. Lionel Barrymore hosts, Dinah Shore sings and there’s a Baby Snooks sketch with Fanny Brice. The program also features the orchestra of Percy Faith. Click here for that MP3 download.
Also, as we enjoy the comfort of our homes, the company of our families and a festive meal this holiday, let’s not forget those who are unable to do so. I would encourage donations to the USO and to Catholic Charities.
God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving!