April 29, 1920

 

La Follette Vindicated
By the People.
   At the primary in Wisconsin recently the Lafollette delegates to the Republican Convention at Chicago were elected over his opponents by a majority of 50,000 votes.
   When I think of what La Follette suffered, the lies that were told on him, the slanders published and the abuse heaped upon him by predatory interests and the miserable flunkeys of the Wilson administration, his victory seems almost incredible. It was a victory for the right--a triumph of the truth.
   In the first place, La Follette did nothing but remain true to the people and tell the truth. He refused to crook the pregnant hinges of the knee that flattery and wealth might follow fawning. He voted against the war, as nine-tenths of the real soldiers who went to France would do today, but he did not vote against a single measure intended to strengthen our armies and help win the war. He endeavored to put the expenses of the war upon the people who are able to bear the expenses and especially those who had made enormous profits out of the war. La Follette voted to submit the question of going to war to the voters the men and women who were to suffer, die and bear the burdens of the expense. He endeavored to tax excess profits 80 per cent. In a word, he was true to the right--true to the common people. He has been true to them since he entered public life. But the war-mad patriot for pelf saw his opportunity and embraced it to even up with the man who had made stealing inconvenient.
   Why, even in Mississippi public sentiment has been so debauched by untruths that it was almost regarded as treasonable to be found approving the acts of La Follette. Thank God the common people of Wisconsin could not be deceived very long by untruths, and the same is true of the good people of Mississippi.
   Commenting on La Follette's victory the Capital Times, of Madison, Wisconsin, draws this vivid picture. I want you to read it and think on it. It is a tonic for the patriotic soul. Then read the little poem by William Ellery Leonard. It is a great Tribute is not only an honor to Wisconsin; but he is a benefaction to America. Would to God that there were more of his kind.
   One little man-one lonely figure.
   One little man,--a two year target of one of the most terrific campaigns ever launched to destroy an individual; one human being,--standing up against the angry roar of a war when a nation permitted hatred to take the seat of reason ; one individual drawing the attack of a national pulpit, press and film; one FIGHTER--standing with his back to the wall and staving off the avalanche which the tremendous power of organized wealth- is able to, let loose.
   Odds? Were odds ever greater against ONE man?

*   *   *

   Standing at the end of two years in which he has borne a load such as few men could carry; maligned and misrepresented for many weary; compelled to hold his ground practically alone, VINDICATION  has finally come to Wisconsin's great son,--Robert M. Follette.
   Last Tuesday the sons of Wisconsin used that great instrument of democracy, the ballot, and in no uncertain terms they gave Senator La Follette a personal endorse-

ment such as but few. men fighting alone have ever received.

*  *  *

   Two years ago there were but few men who had the courage to stand with Wisconsin's little giant. The enemies of democracy had so effectively employed the passion and hatred and hysteria of war against him that the man who refused to denounce La Follette as an enemy of this country was given the badge of DISLOYALTY.
   Reactionary enemies of the senator who seized the places of power in the conduct of the war proceeded immediately to use their vast powers to destroy the senator and his friends.
   A great university, to whose upbuilding no man had made a greater contribution than Senator La Follette, witnessed the spectacle of its faculty besmirching the name of the greatest alumnus Wisconsin ever turned out.
   It was in this state that La Follette reared a monument which was the greatest contribution of its kind to a democracy which spelled economic justice and in which humanity was placed above property. And yet the legislature of that state was driven by the powers of wealth to join in the campaign to place La Follette forever outside the pale of good citizenship.
   Social organizations, dominated by men who made millions out of the war, removed the senator's name from their membership rolls.
   The story is too recent for extended amplification. Wisconsin still has fresh in its mind the outrageous treatment that was accorded the bravest man who ever came from within her borders.

*   *   *

   Meanwhile, during all these cruel months Senator La Follette was patiently biding his time. This campaign of calumny was only new to the senator because of its increased ferocity. For twenty-five years the senator had been withstanding the attacks of privilege and wealth in every conceivable form.
   He knew back of this campaign his old enemies were pulling the wires and directing the moves by which it was planned to encompass his downfall. He knew the REAL reasons that compelled the cowardly editors of the state to join in the united chorus against the senator. He knew only too well the manner in which the editorial pages of this country respond to the wishes of organized wealth.
   La Follette knew, too, that the people of this state would ultimately see through campaign. He was content, therefore to go along and await the final verdict of the people.
   That verdict has come, and what an overwhelming answer it is to those who took part in the campaign to destroy Wisconsin's greatest son.

   *   *   *

   One little man--one lonely figure. He is but five and a half feet tall. What little he has of worldly goods is mortgaged. He is small in stature and he is poor. And ONE MAN beats the combined power of the millions in wealth in this state; he beats the combined power of a press which stopped at nothing to smash him; he beats the combined assault of privilege and wealth SINGLE HANDED and ALONE.
   The pages of Wisconsin history are filled with the deeds of her illustrious sons. But none can be more dramatic or inspiring than the page was written last Tuesday. 

        VINDICATED
  (Dedicated to Senator La Follette)

    In the Valley of Decision,
    Down the, Road of Things-that-are,
    You gave to us a vision,
    You appointed us a star
    And through Cities of Derision
    We followed you from far,
    On the Hills beyond...
    On the road of Things-t...
    With that strength of...
    As we sorrow soul from...
    We know not sloth nor so...
    And will build your vision...

 

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