Appendix Q. Speeches For Study And Practise
Albert J. Beveridge. Pass Prosperity Around
Delivered as Temporary Chairman of Progressive National Convention, Chicago, 111., June, 1911.
We stand for a nobler America. We stand for an undivided Nation. We stand for a broader liberty, a fuller justice. We stand for a social brotherhood as against savage individualism. We stand for an intelligent cooperation instead of a reckless competition. We stand for mutual helpfulness instead of mutual hatred. We stand for equal rights as a fact of life instead of a catch-word of politics. We stand for the rule of the people as a practical truth instead of a meaningless pretense. We stand for a representative government that represents the people. We battle for the actual rights of man.
To carry out our principles we have a plain program of constructive reform. We mean to tear down only that which is wrong and out of date; and where we tear down we mean to build what is right and fitted to the times. We harken to the call of the present. We mean to make laws fit conditions as they are and meet the needs of the people who are on earth to-day. That we may do this we found a party through which all who believe with us can work with us; or, rather, we declare our allegiance to the party which the people themselves have founded.
For this party comes from the grass roots. It has grown from the soil of the people's hard necessities. It has the vitality of the people's strong convictions. The people have work to be done and our party is here to do that work. Abuse will only strengthen it, ridicule only hasten its growth, falsehood only speed its victory. For years this party has been forming. Parties exist for the people; not the people for parties. Yet for years the politicians have made the people do the work of the parties instead of the parties doing the work of the people - and the politicians own the parties. The people vote for one party and find their hopes turned to ashes on their lips; and then to punish that party, they vote for the other party. So it is that partisan victories have come to be merely the people's vengeance; and always the secret powers have played their game.
Like other free people, most of us Americans are progressive or reactionary, liberal or conservative. The neutrals do not count. Yet to-day neither of the old parties is either wholly progressive or wholly reactionary. Democratic politicians and office seekers say to reactionary Democratic voters that the Democratic party is reactionary enough to express reactionary views; and they say to progressive Democrats that the Democratic party is progressive enough to express progressive views.
At the same time, Republican politicians and office seekers say the same thing about the Republican party to progressive and reactionary Republican voters.
Sometimes in both Democratic and Republican States the progressives get control of the party locally and then the reactionaries recapture the same party in the same State; or this process is reversed. So there is no nation-wide unity of principle m either party, no stability of purpose, no clear-cut and sincere program of one party at frank and open war with an equally clear-cut and sincere program of an opposing party.
This unintelligent tangle is seen in Congress. Republican and Democratic Senators and Representatives, believing alike on broad measures affecting the whole Republic, find it hard to vote together because of the nominal difference of their party membership. When, sometimes, under resistless conviction, they do vote together, we have this foolish spectacle: legislators calling themselves Republicans and Democrats support the same policy, the Democratic legislators declaring that that policy is Democratic and Republican legislators declaring that it is Republican; and at the very same time other Democratic and Republican legislators oppose that very same policy, each of them declaring that it is not Democratic or not Republican.
The condition makes it impossible most of the time, and hard at any time, for the people's legislators who believe in the same broad policies to enact them into logical, comprehensive laws. It confuses the public mind. It breeds suspicion and distrust. It enables such special interests as seek unjust gain at the public expense to get what they want. It creates and fosters the degrading boss system in American politics through which these special interests work.
This boss system is unknown and impossible under any other free government in the world. In its very nature it is hostile to general welfare. Yet it has grown until it now is a controlling influence in American public affairs. At the present moment notorious bosses are in the saddle of both old parties in various important States which must be carried to elect a President. This Black Horse Cavalry is the most important force in the practical work of the Democratic and Republican parties in the present campaign. Neither of the old parties' nominees for president can escape obligation to these old-party bosses or shake their practical hold on many and powerful members of the National Legislature.
Under this boss system, no matter which party wins, the people seldom win; but the bosses almost always win. And they never work for the people. They do not even work for the party to which they belong. They work only for those anti-public interests whose political employees they are. It is these interests that are the real victors in the end.
These special interests which suck the people's substance are bi-partisan. They use both parties. They are the invisible government behind our visible government. Democratic and Republican bosses alike are brother officers of this hidden power. No matter how fiercely they pretend to fight one another before election, they work together after election. And, acting so, this political conspiracy is able to delay, mutilate or defeat sound and needed laws for the people's welfare and the prosperity of honest business and even to enact bad laws, hurtful to the people's welfare and oppressive to honest business.