American Rhetoric

April 24th, 2006

[…]

I know many peopleI am one of themwho were not born here, nor have the applied for citizenship, and who yet love America with deeper passion and greater intensity that many natives whose patriotism manifests itself by pulling, kicking, and insulting those who do not rise when the national anthem is played. 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 desertsabove 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 libertybut with the same passionate emotion we hate her superficiality, her cant, her corruption, her mad, unscrupulous worship at the alter of the Golden Calf.

We say that if America has entered the war to make the world safe for democracy, she must first make democracy safe in America. How else is the world to take America seriously, when democracy at home is daily being outrages, free speech suppressed, peaceable assemblies broken up by overbearing and brutal gangsters in uniform ; when free press is curtailed and every independent opinion gagged. Verily, poor as we are in democracy, how can we give of it to the world? We further say that a democracy conceived in the military servitude of the masses, in their economic enslavement, and nurtured in their tears and blood, is not democracy at all. It is despotismthe cumulative result of a chain of abuses which, according to the dangerous document ,the Declaration of Independence, the people have the right to overthrow.

The District Attorney has dragged in our Manifesto, and he has emphasized the passage, Resist conscription. Gentlemen of the jury, please remember that that is not the charge against us. But admitting that the Manifesto contains the expression, Resist conscription, may I ask you, is there only one kind of resistance? Is there only the resistance which means the gun, the bayonet, the bomb or flying machine? Is there not another kind of resistance? May not the people simply fold their hands and declare, We will not fight when we do not believe in the necessity of war? May not the people who believe in the repeal of the Conscription Law, because it is unconstitutional, express their opposition in word and by pen, in meetings and in other ways? What right has the District Attorney to interpret that particular passage to suit himself? Moreover, gentlemen of the jury, I insist that the indictment against us does not refer to conscription. We are charged with a conspiracy against registration. And in no way or manner has the prosecution proven that we are guilty of conspiracy or that we have committed an overt act.

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Emma Goldman

And others

One Response to “American Rhetoric”

  1. irdial Says:

    “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies on the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”

    Mario Savio

    Pure, simple and absolutely true.

    And listen to this, and weep.

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