Pundit Wire

“What essential right can you deny to an alien?”

Portrait_of_William_Bourke_CockranTo celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, this post will honor the memory of a neglected Irish-American statesman and orator: William Bourke Cockran (1854-1923).
Cockran was born in Country Sligo, Ireland. He emigrated to America at age 17, settling in New York. There, he became a successful lawyer, a member of Congress, and a friend and confidant of some of the leading men of the time, including inventor Thomas Edison, publisher Joseph Pulitzer and Presidents Grover Cleveland and Teddy Roosevelt. He also became known as America’s greatest living orator. (No less a rhetorical titan than Winston Churchill would call Cockran his “model.”)

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Booker T. Washington’s “Atlanta Compromise” Speech

Booker_T_Washington_retouched_flattened-cropFebruary is Black History Month, so my post today is devoted to a notable speech by the great civil rights leader, Booker T. Washington.

The date was September 18, 1895. The occasion was the Cotton States and International Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. The organizers of the event wanted to impress visiting Northerners with the progress of race relations in the South. So Washington, the founder of the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, was invited to speak at the opening ceremonies.

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The diplomacy of the Ukraine autonomy deal explained

UkraineDiplomacy often looks like a precise, punctilious activity: dapper, discreet officials armed with quill pens and cucumber sandwiches crafting cunningly worded documents with multifarious shades of meaning. That’s an important part of it. But peep behind the curtain, and you see all sorts of squalid manoeuvrings and double-crossing.

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Discrimination isn’t part of religious freedom. Never was. Still isn’t.

JanBrewer_PresObama The “Religious Right” may characterize this as a matter of religious freedom. But where in any religion, especially Christianity, does it even suggest that treating some people as less than others is okay?

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Growing Up With Nelson Mandela

nelson The greatest American civil rights leader of my lifetime was a South African. I say this not just because Nelson Mandela’s fight for equality and justice followed a path blazed by Henry David Thoreau and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I say this because he carried the torch for freedom at a time when it was under siege throughout the world. He held it high and with dignity, never letting it be extinguished by violence and recrimination.

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The Tea Party Luddites

dont tread Ask Tea Party adherents what inspires them most and many will say their reverence of history. Indeed it’s not unusual at Tea Party rallies to see bands of self-referential patriots dressed up in Revolutionary War garb, wearing tricorn hats and carrying their defiant Don’t Tread on Me flags.

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Talk Radio: Slow Down the Race

Talk Radio Hey, conservative talk radio. What’s up. You know I love you, and I hate to do this, but I’ve got to provide counsel.

I know you’re frustrated with Barack Obama. You don’t understand how he was elected president. Twice. He wasn’t a war hero, an entrepreneur, or an executive of any kind, but a community organizer. (All work has dignity.)

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Martin Luther King’s Dream Speech: Lightning in a Bottle

MLK Hop into your time-machine to 28 August 1963. A huge crowd of mainly dark-skinned Americans has assembled in Washington before the Lincoln Memorial to demand full civil rights and equality. Most of the people there have lived their lives in the shadow of that momentous Supreme Court judgment, and the profusion of ignominious apartheid-style laws and petty spiteful regulations that it justified. Martin Luther King steps up, the final speaker.

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