Monday, July 20, 2009
LESSONS FROM CARL SCHURZ
In the mid to late 1960’s the pro-war conservatives were often heard making the statement, “My country, right or wrong,” as if stating this was the only reason anyone would need to take their viewpoint and support for the United States’ involvement in the Viet Nam War.
In reality, and I am sure those who were making the statement had no clue, that this is just a segment of a quote made by Carl Schurz. The total quote is, "My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right." In retrospect, this full quote would have been more appropriate to those who opposed the Viet Nam War. As history has proven that the attack of the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin as the reason for going into Viet Nam, was a fabrication; much like the Bush Administration’s “Weapons of Mass Destruction” that were not found in Iraq. Many of us have noted, there are people in this country who still believe the foolishness that Saddam Hussein plotted and attacked the Trade Towers in New York because that is what Conservative Talk Radio has lead them to believe. To reiterate the true lesson from Carl Schurz’s quote, “and if wrong, to be set right,” those who work to put this country back on the correct moral compass after being taken off course by those who have intentionally mislead the country; are the true American Patriots.
Carl Schurz was a German revolutionary who became a Union Army General in the American Civil War. After the Civil War, he went on to become an accomplished journalist, newspaper editor and noted orator, and in 1869 became the first German-born American elected to the United States Senate.
During his later years as a Teddy Roosevelt era Republican, Schurz was perhaps the most prominent independent in American politics, noted for his high principles, his avoidance of political partisanship, and his moral conscience. Much like Teddy Roosevelt, Carl Schurz fell out of favor with the more conservative aspect of the Republican Party at this time for these principles he believed in.
I will close this posting with another quote from Carl Schurz that all should take note: "Ideals are like the stars. We will never reach them, but like the mariners on the sea, we chart our course by them."