Acknowledging slavery existence (1619-1865), while losing sight of the big picture of 1787 is what too many Americans are doing. Think of the Preamble to the United States Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” — in view of today’s divisiveness — you see these ideals trampled, in that the Preamble is so “profound!”
Profoundly, further think of The American’s Creed of 1918: “I believe in the United States of America, … a perfect union, one and inseparable; established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.” Yet, you see certain groups promoting separation under a guise of “heritage,” as if “heritage” is homogeneous in the U.S. — forged from the crucible of a “melting pot” of people from all over the world.
And, overwhelmingly, those who sacrifice are very young men and women from the common ranks, like the writer in 1965-66 in DaNang. As Grantland Rice averred in Two Sides of War: “All wars are planned by old men/ In council rooms apart,/ Who plan for greater armament/ And map the battle chart./ I’ve noticed nearly all the dead/ Were hardly more than boys” (Blacks, Whites, others) — heterogeneity not “heritage!”
Panoramically, putting it another way, on June 17, 1944, at the Republican National Convention in Chicago, former President Herbert C. Hoover told conventioneers: “Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war.”
Perhaps William Tecumseh Sherman, in 1864, said it best: “War is cruel and you cannot refine it. … I am tired and sick of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded (i.e. deferred Trumpites with bone spurs) who cry aloud for blood, more vengeance, more desolation. War is hell!”
Ulysses. S. Grant added, “When wars do come, they fall upon the many, the producing class, who are the sufferers,” not the leisure class of Trumpites who were deferred. Nevertheless, as English poet Robert Southey in 1813 said, “War … without a clear necessity is a crime of the blackest eye. When the NECESSITY IS CLEAR, it then becomes a crime to shrink from it.” Patriotism must be ubiquitous.
Because “war is hell” — and those who have survived it know — it is agonizing to see the U.S. slowly eroding and imploding from violence, division and antipathy engineered overtly and subtly in politico-socio-economic ways, with racial overtones, coded under the pretext of “taxed enough already (TEA Party).”
Moreover, the very foundation of the U.S. — “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” inscribed on the Liberty Bell in 1752 — is undermined. The same with Ellis Island (Lady Liberty), until 1954 the gateway to America for more than 12 million immigrants and 400 years of immigration history housed in the museum: “Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,/ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door” — inscription at the base of Lady Liberty.
Based upon the 1893 idea of “The Melting Pot” in the U.S., the inscription is tied to assimilation, acculturation and naturalization. But, Frederick Jackson Turner’s concept rested “on how closely they conform to Anglo-Saxon standards of appearance, behavior, and values. People of Scandinavian or northern European descent … are more readily accepted than Black, Hispanic and Asian minorities.” President Trump’s notion of “shit-hole countries” endorses that Nordic criteria, using Norwegians as prototypes. How “Haiti and African nations” are treated by the U.S. verifies Trump’s aspersions.
Supporting Trump, Sen. Rand Paul said Sen. Lindsey Graham’s remarks months ago about “hellhole countries” are similar to Trump’s. So, “s–t” and “hell” are synonymous! Think of “Sugar Ditch” in Tunica in 1983 — human waste in the open ditch running through town. Imagine Trump’s remarks of Mississippi then, “a s–t-hole state!”
Looking at the big picture, Trump does not grasp Theodore Roosevelt’s sagacious adage spoken at Minnesota State Fair on Sept. 2, 1901: “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far. If the American nation will speak softly and yet build and keep at a pitch of the highest training a thoroughly efficient (military), the Monroe Doctrine will go far.”
Of course, the false ballistic missile alarm in Hawaii on Saturday morning, Jan. 13 — in view of Trump’s bluster and bellicosity — troubled Hawaiians, as he expresses racist nuances, directed at home and abroad, undermining The Preamble and The American Creed, while the false alarm shows lack of a national U.S. Air Force-like “Buddy System.”
Moreover, as a “Leader of ‘The Free World,’” Trump sets a tone that resonates like a ripple effect with many Americans. His tone is amplified in the quote below of dis-information forwarded to the writer by a contact. The quote is widely disseminated via internet and aligned with the TEA Party’s aim of “taking our country back (i.e. in time).”
It states: “What a profound little paragraph, stated way back in 1931 and it says it all: ‘You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.’”
So, cynics say stop grants, subsidies, exemptions, Medicare-Medicaid, Social Security, aid to the poor/aged/dependent children/disabled/blind/mental ill and other transfer payments. For, “Taxed Enough Already,” negate The Preamble and national ideals.
The quote is wrongly attributed to Adrian Rogers, a far-right pastor of a Memphis mega-church. Rogers, Sept. 12, 1931-Nov. 15, 2005, used the quote twice in sermons in 1984 and 1996. But, its originator is Gerald L.K. Smith — an anti-Semite, pro-Nazi, anti- Communist, isolationist and political demagogue. Smith published the quote in his 1942 magazine, “The Cross and the Flag.” Thus, one grasps the quote’s current application.
Advocating “White supremacy” in Louisiana after the assassination of Sen. Huey P. Long in 1935, Smith, who had worked closely with Long, tried to align Long’s “Share Our Wealth Society” with renowned racists. Long’s SOW Society touted the slogan “Every Man a King (But No One Wears a Crown).” Long saw the Great Depression as the growing disparity between the rich and everyone else.
Now, Rogers echoed Smith’s cynic bastardization of “Share Our Wealth Society’s” key planks geared toward the “little man” and the “rural poor” envisioned by Long — aka “The King Fish.” However, in 1928, Herbert Hoover’s populist campaign slogan was “A chicken in every pot.” Then, most Black families in Mississippi raised that “chicken.” As Joseph Conrad asserted, “A man is a worker. If he is not that he is nothing.”
So, in Laurel,on Sunday mornings, most Black households aromatized that “fried ‘yard bird’” as sweat equity — refuting Smith’s/Rogers’ “profound little paragraph” of misinformation.
Harvey Warren lives in Laurel.