History Lesson: Bob’n And Weave’nSubmitted by LibBerte on Sat, 06/13/2009 - 05:09
I was about to chime in with a quip on the congratulatory thread commending cheeseheads for mounting a respectable protest to the Obama town hall meeting appearance in Green Bay. In response to a reference that Wisconsinites have a reputation as too socialist, I was going to offer the old canard:
‘It has been said that any state that could elect both Fight’in Bob La Follete and Senator Joseph McCarthy ..........
... is a state with an identity crisis.’
Sounds like a state of confusion, right. Well ... the left – right paradigm is a cliché meant to keep us conflicted, disabled , bifurcated, and yes, tied up in confusion.
So I decided to share this lesson of history because it’s a great story, well told, but more .................. I think it can help us in dealing with our own identity by coming to grips with ourselves, our allies, and our true enemies ... ultimately inspiring perhaps some reconciliation of understanding to help better Fight through this current crisis without one hand tied behind our back.
About Robert "Fighting Bob" La Follette
-- By John Nichols
“ON March 25, 1921, at the age of sixty-five, Robert M. La Follette Sr. took the greatest risk of his long political career. Four years after he chose to lead the Congressional opposition to World War I, La Follette was still condemned in Washington and in his native state of Wisconsin as a traitor or--at best--an old man whose political instincts had finally failed him. But La Follette was not ready to surrender the U.S. Senate seat he had held since leaving Wisconsin's governorship in 1906. He wanted to return to Washington to do battle once more against what he perceived to be the twin evils of the still young century: corporate monopoly at home and imperialism abroad.
The reelection campaign that loomed just a year off would be difficult, he was told, perhaps even impossible. Old alliances had been strained by La Follette's lonely refusal to join in the war cries of 1917 and 1918. To rebuild them, the Senator's aides warned, he would have to abandon his continued calls for investigations of war profiteers and his passionate defense of socialist Eugene Victor Debs and others who had been jailed in the postwar Red Scare.
The place to backpedal, La Follette was told, would be in a speech before the crowded Wisconsin Assembly chamber in Madison. Moments before the white-haired Senator climbed to the podium on that cold March day, he was warned one last time by his aides to deliver a moderate address, to apply balm to the still-open wounds of the previous years, and, above all, to avoid mention of the war and his opposition to it.
La Follette began his speech with the formalities of the day, acknowledging old supporters and recognizing that this was a pivotal moment for him politically. Then, suddenly, La Follette pounded the lectern. "I am going to be a candidate for reelection to the United States Senate," he declared, as the room shook with the thunder of a mighty orator reaching full force. Stretching a clenched fist into the air, La Follette bellowed: "I do not want the vote of a single citizen under any misapprehension of where I stand: I would not change my record on the war for that of any man, living or dead."
The crowd sat in stunned silence for a moment before erupting into thunderous applause. Even his critics could not resist the courage of the man; indeed, one of his bitterest foes stood at the back of the hall, with tears running down his cheeks, and told a reporter: "I hate the son of a bitch. But, my God, what guts he's got." ...”
Read the story here:
[ BTW, I'm glad content on this forum doesn't need to first clear a committee on political correctness. ;-) ]