Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bruce Springsteen, history, and a bunch of dead guys.

As everyone who watches the news has heard by now, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have canceled their show that was to be played on April 10th, in North Carolina. As most people again know, North Carolina has recently passed a law, that discriminates against a certain part of the population.

I work as a historian and ephemera salesman by trade and when stuff like this happens I always go back and see what the dead guys said. You know, those founding fathers, politicians, and other pundits, celebrities, and just plain folks who decided to comment on this very subject. I go back and see what they said, just in case there might be something from back then that might teach us about now.

This is what I found. These are exact quotes. Not one word has been changed.

"Liberty, the precious boon of heaven, is meek and reasonable. She admits that she belongs to all-to the high and the low, rich and the poor, the black and the white-and that she belongs to them all equally."

Gerrit Smith

"Law can offer us a moral precept. To the extent that laws are founded on morality and on logic, they can lead men's hearts and minds. But this aspect of law can have meaning only to the extent that the constituents of the law are moral and rational."

Robert F. Kennedy

" every man his chance-to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity-to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him-this, seeker, is the promise of America."

Thomas Wolfe

"In the cause of freedom, we have to battle for the rights of people with whom we do not agree and whom in many cases, we may not like. These people test the strength of the freedoms which protect all of us. If we do not defend their rights, we endanger our own."

Harry S. Truman

"While democracy must have its organization and controls, its vital breath is individual liberty."

Charles Evans Hughes

"The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias. The spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to the earth unheeded. The spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, nearly two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned but has never quite forgotten-that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest."

Learned Hand

"A manly assertion by each of his individual rights, and a manly concession of equal rights to every other man, is the boast and the law of good citizenship."

Benjamin Harrison

"Under our constitutional system, courts stand against any winds that blow as havens of refuge for those who might otherwise suffer because they are helpless, weak, outnumbered, or because they are non-conforming victims of prejudice and public excitement."

Hugo L. Black

"We ought not to separate the science of public law from that of ethics. States or bodies politic are to be considered as moral persons having a public will capable and free to do right and wrong"

James Kent

"We want a state of things which allows every man the largest liberty compatible with the liberty of every other man."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Laws have their proper place, but the responsibility of worthy citizenship is a personal one. We each have a separate and individual share in eradicating social evils and in refusing to perpetuate practises odious to a free nation."

Herbert Brownell, Jr

"Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not."

Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Anglo-Saxon civilization has taught the individual to protect his own rights. American civilization will teach him to respect the rights of others."

William Jennings Bryant

"....Yet most of all grant us brotherhood, not only for this day but for all years-a brotherhood not of words but of acts and deeds. We are all of us children of earth-grant us that simple knowledge. If our brothers are oppressed, then we are oppressed. If they hunger, we hunger. If their freedom is taken away, our freedom is not secure. Grant us a common faith that man shall know bread and peace-that he shall know justice and righteousness, freedom and security, and equal opportunity and an equal chance to do his best, not only in our own lands, but throughout the world. And in that faith let us march toward the clean world our hands can make."

Stephen Vincent Benet

"The immediate future of the world has been laid on the doorstep of the individual American."

William B. Huie

I know this is just a bunch of dead guys, and I hated history in school, just like everyone, including Bruce, hated it. And we can ignore it. As Americans we have shown we are good at that. Or maybe, just maybe, we could consider all these words and what they mean, and how it could really be some day. 

Maybe the change starts with a bathroom? I certainly do not know. All I know is what has gone before, and hatred and prejudice, have never won. Hatred and prejudice might get a foothold here and there but it will never win. Too many good people like @a4evanygirl, for that to happen. 

Be True.

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