Appendix Q. Speeches For Study And Practise. Part 2
It is this invisible government which is the real danger to American institutions. Its crude work at Chicago in June, which the people were able to see, was no more wicked than its skillful work everywhere and always which the people are not able to see.
But an even more serious condition results from the unnatural alignment of the old parties. To-day we Americans are politically shattered by sectionalism. Through the two old parties the tragedy of our history is continued; and one great geographical part of the Republic is separated from other parts of the Republic by an illogical partisan solidarity.
The South has men and women as genuinely progressive and others as genuinely reactionary as those in other parts of our country. Yet, for well-known reasons, these sincere and honest southern progressives and reactionaries vote together in a single party, which is neither progressive nor reactionary. They vote a dead tradition and a local fear, not a living conviction and a national faith. They vote not for the Democratic party, but against the Republican party. They want to be free from this condition; they can be free from it through the National Progressive party.
For the problems which America faces to-day are economic and national. They have to do with a more just distribution of prosperity. They concern the living of the people; and therefore the more direct government of the people by themselves.
They affect the South exactly as they affect the North, the East or the West. It is an artificial and dangerous condition that prevents the southern man and woman from acting with the northern man and woman who believe the same thing. Yet just that is what the old parties do prevent.
Not only does this out-of-date partisanship cut our Nation into two geographical sections; it also robs the Nation of a priceless asset of thought in working out our national destiny. The South once was famous for brilliant and constructive thinking on national problems, and to-day the South has minds as brilliant and constructive as of old. But southern intellect cannot freely and fully aid, in terms of politics, the solving of the Nation's problems. This is so because of a partisan sectionalism which has nothing to do with those problems. Yet these problems can be solved only in terms of politics.
The root of the wrongs which hurt the people is the fact that the people's government has been taken away from them - the invisible government has usurped the people's government. Their government must be given back to the people. And so the first purpose of the Progressive party is to make sure the rule of the people. The rule of the people means that the people themselves shall nominate, as well as elect, all candidates for office, including Senators and Presidents of the United States. What profiteth it the people if they do only the electing while the invisible government does the nominating?
The rule of the people means that when the people's legislators make a law which hurts the people, the people themselves may reject it. The rule of the people means that when the people's legislators refuse to pass a law which the people need, the people themselves may pass it. The rule of the people means that when the people's employees do not do the people's work well and honestly, the people may discharge them exactly as a business man discharges employees who do not do their work well and honestly. The people's officials are the people's servants, not the people's masters.
We progressives believe in this rule of the people that the people themselves may deal with their own destiny. Who knows the people's needs so well as the people themselves? Who so patient as the people? Who so long suffering, who so just? Who so wise to solve their own problems?
Today these problems concern the living of the people. Yet in the present stage of American development these problems should not exist in this country. For, in all the world there is no land so rich as ours. Our fields can feed hundreds of millions. We have more minerals than the whole of Europe. Invention has made easy the turning of this vast natural wealth into supplies for all the needs of man. One worker today can produce more than twenty workers could produce a century ago.
The people living in this land of gold are the most daring and resourceful on the globe. Coming from the hardiest stock of every nation of the old world their very history in the new world has made Americans a peculiar people in courage, initiative, love of justice and all the elements of independent character.
And, compared with other peoples, we are very few in numbers. There are only ninety millions of us, scattered over a continent. Germany has sixty-five millions packed in a country very much smaller than Texas. The population of Great Britain and Ireland could be set down in California and still have more than enough room for the population of Holland. If this country were as thickly peopled as Belgium there would be more than twelve hundred million instead of only ninety million persons within our borders.
So we have more than enough to supply every human being beneath the flag. There ought not to be in this Republic a single day of bad business, a single unemployed workingman, a single unfed child. American business men should never know an hour of uncertainty, discouragement or fear; American working-men never a day of low wages, idleness or want. Hunger should never walk in these thinly peopled gardens of plenty.
And yet in spite of all these favors which providence has showered upon us, the living of the people is the problem of the hour. Hundreds of thousands of hard-working Americans find it difficult to get enough to live on. The average income of an American laborer is less than $600 a year. With this he must furnish food, shelter and clothing for a family.
Women, whose nourishing and protection should be the first care of the State, not only are driven into the mighty army of wage-earners, but are forced to work under unfair and degrading conditions. The right of a child to grow into a normal human being is sacred; and yet, while small and poor countries, packed with people, have abolished child labor, American mills, mines, factories and sweat-shops are destroying hundreds of thousands of American children in body, mind and soul.