Memorial Day speeches and Immigration

#458, May 28, 2007

COLUMBUS: The immigration debate gave way for a day of Remembrance. But tomorrow you just watch it heat up again.

Most readers seemed to like my column last week about the Cherokee Nation. They didn’t particularly like the result, but appreciated the warning.

I read in a newspaper that more than half of the illegal immigrants do not have a high school education. So if all of those ten to twenty million become citizens, the percent of Americans with an education will drop sharply lower.

I’ll leave you with one question: If our goal is to lower the education level of the country, why are we spending billions to send our kids to high school and college?

Historical quotes from Will Rogers: (on Memorial Day)

“Another Decoration Day passed and Mr. Abraham Lincoln’s 300-word Gettysburg Address was not dethroned. I would try and imitate its brevity if nothing else. Of course, Lincoln had the advantage; he had no foreign policy message to put over. He didn’t even have a foreign policy. That’s why he is still Lincoln.” DT #268, May 31, 1927

“A sure certainty about our Memorial Days is as fast as the ranks from one war thin out, the ranks from another take their place. Prominent men run out of Decoration Day speeches, but the world never runs out of wars. People talk peace, but men give their life’s work to war. It won’t stop till there is as much brains and scientific study put to aid peace as there is to promote war.” DT #888, May 31, 1929.

End of a Nation?

#457, May 21 , 2007

COLUMBUS: President Bush and Congress finally agreed on something, Immigration Reform. Only problem is, while they agree with each other, nobody agrees with them.

Americans have been trained by the government to suspect anything called Reform.

For example, they give us tax reform, and the next year our taxes increase. Welfare reform, and the money spent on welfare increases. So why would anyone think immigration reform will cause immigration to decrease.

Let me tell you a true story. It is the absolute truth, and nothing but the truth. If you’ve read it before, it’s worth reading again.

Once upon a time, a nation prospered in peace and affluence for many years. But trouble lay just across the border. The neighboring land was over populated and the people eyed the vast inviting lands with envy. For a few years small numbers of “intruders” would sneak across the boundary, and the government would catch them and kick them out. But many avoided detection, sort of blending in, and many more intruders followed.

Before long the intruders were pouring into the nation. Some were there legitimately as employees, but others sneaked in and each claimed a piece of the foreign land as their own. They didn’t pay for it, just squatted on it. Quite a few of the intruders were armed criminals who crossed the border to keep from going to prison.

Finally, a prominent local citizen got so annoyed he wrote a letter to his national leader. “Are we powerless to enforce our own laws? Are we to submit to such great wrongs by these men who are not citizens? Our laws are not enforced. Men are hauling away our cattle in open violation of the law and the sheriff knows it. Timber is being cut and taken away while the sheriff watches. How in the world can we hold up as a nation when our officers don’t respect the law and the oath they have taken to uphold the law.”

About two years later a small portion of the nation relented and sold, for a pittance, a substantial section of land that got turned over to the intruders. Do you think that satisfied the intruder population? Not on your life. It just created more pressure on the nation to open its borders.

The biggest business in the nation lobbied relentlessly to allow even more intruders. They claimed an expanding intruder population was essential to economic growth in the nation.

Sound familiar? Any idea yet where this “nation” is?

Let’s go on. Seeing the looming conflict in this particular nation, the U. S. Congress jumped into the fray, led by a Senator from Massachusetts. After much rhetoric and debate Congress made a decision: they came down firmly on the side of the Intruders.

How could this be? Even the Senator from Massachusetts admitted the nation was prosperous, “Although a tiny number of individuals control about one-seventh of the nation’s wealth (land) there is not a family in the entire nation without a home. There is not a pauper in the nation, and the nation does not owe a single dollar.”

Now who could ask for more than that? But this prosperity was not good enough to satisfy the U.S. Congress and keep this nation intact and protected from Intruders.

Congress created a Commission to negotiate with a delegation of representatives from the nation. One of those representatives was the “prominent local citizen” quoted above. He soon became peeved at the delegation’s inability to agree on what their position should be.

Five years after the U.S. government got involved, and all the negotiating was over with, Congress passed a bill abolishing the laws of this “nation”. Congress also mandated that all land be divided up equally among its citizens.

The end of a nation as we knew it occurred in 1898.

The Senator from Massachusetts was Henry Dawes, head of the Dawes Commission. The bill passed by Congress was the Curtis Act. The Intruders were mainly from Kansas and Arkansas. The big business encouraging the Intruders was the Missouri Pacific Railroad, which built a line through the nation in 1889.

Have you guessed it yet?

The “nation” was the Cherokee Nation. It was part of Indian Territory which in 1907 became the state of Oklahoma.

The “prominent local citizen” (who also helped write the state constitution for Oklahoma), was Clem Rogers, father of Will Rogers.

To quote another prominent Oklahoma native, Paul Harvey: “And now you know the rest of the story.”

Well, a hundred years later in 2007, another Massachusetts Senator is a leader for Immigration Reform. Big business is applauding from the sideline. And the nation’s accumulated wealth is to be shared with the Intruders.

Of course, not everyone agrees. They say, “You can’t compare the Cherokee Nation to our nation today.”

Perhaps in another hundred years, 2107, another comedian will write a syndicated newspaper column titled, “End of a Nation.” The question to ponder today is, do you think those newspapers will be published in English?

(A primary source for the facts in the story is Ben Yagoda’s 1993 biography of Will Rogers.)

Florida vs. California again

#456, May 14 , 2007

COLUMBUS: Catalina Island caught fire last week off California. The next day Florida got wind of it, said California is clearing more land, and we can’t let ’em get ahead of us.

While California’s fires are mainly on steep hillsides, Florida arranged for theirs to be on flat land (is there any other kind?) located in easy proximity to two Interstate highways. You Northerners better be alert for new Realtor ads featuring “half acre lots, freshly charred, with an unlimited view previously blocked by trees. Conveniently located just across the state line from Georgia; no need to move hundreds of miles farther south to avoid income taxes.”

Republican Presidential contenders are debating again, this time in South Carolina. Fortunately the FBI caught those Islamic illegal aliens planning to blow up Fort Dix. Now they’ll have something new to discuss.

In Iraq, the Army has a couple thousand troops looking for the three soldiers kidnaped by al Qaida. When they find them, and dispense with the captors, I suggest they keep right on going to Afghanistan and dig out Osama bin Laden. Even to Pakistan if need be. You give the Army something to fight for, there’s no stopping ’em.

On a relatively frivolous note, this e-mail campaign to stop people from buying gasoline on May 15 kinda backfired. Filling stations figured if everyone is gonna fill up on the 14th in order to skip buying gas on the 15th , we’ll jack up prices on the 14th. It’s just our luck, gas on the 15th will be posted at a dollar a gallon, and our tanks are all full.

I’d better lay off the gas companies. I had planned to call “my” old friends at Phillips 66 to sponsor a tour of Oklahoma, you know, to raise funds for the sufferers of recent tornadoes and floods. But now it’s the automobile drivers that are hollering for relief, from making monthly payments on gas at $3.25.

There’s no doubt who’s worse off when you compare the man driving an automobile to the family temporarily sleeping in one.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

“If everybody (traded his car for a horse) they would be out of debt in a couple of years. Just think, no gas, no tires, no roads to pay for.” DT #2043, Feb. 20, 1933

“The difference between good times and bad times is gasoline, and what goes with it.” WA #636, March 3, 1935

Horses, Tornadoes and Common Sense

#455, May 7 , 2007

COLUMBUS: The Kentucky Derby put horses back on the front page again. Seems like most people ignore the old race horse except one day a year.

Street Sense won it. Before the race I heard a television reporter ask his trainer, Carl Nafzger, why he didn’t bring a horse to the Derby every year. Mr. Nafzger gave the most intelligent comment you’ll ever hear from a horseman. “A good trainer don’t bring a horse to the Kentucky Derby; the horse brings the trainer.” Now that’s Common Sense, and because of it investors wise enough to bet on Street Sense made a lot of Dollars and Cents.

Even Queen Elizabeth, a fine horsewoman, was there. She had some time to kill between the Jamestown celebration last week and the big dinner tonight at the White House. I was kinda hoping she would stop in Columbus for a visit Sunday on her way to Washington.

Did you see where Paris Hilton is headed for jail? Her Mother told the judge it’s not fair to send Paris to jail just because she was drunk and driving with a revoked license. How’s that for another example of modern Hollywood parenthood just before Mother’s Day. I figure 45 days in the slammer beats 30 days in any de-tox resort for long-term results.

But what Paris Hilton needs when she gets out is a horse. Put her on a spirited horse, let her bounce around in the saddle all day, and you’ll hear no more arguments from her about having to wear, uh, undergarments. The horse will come closer to keeping her out of jail than her mother. But really, I think Paris is just a little girl that never growed up. Maybe her mama, too.

With gas at $3.20, the old horse is gaining ground. A bonus is you don’t have to mow your yard; let the horse eat it down. If you have a tiny yard and he’s still hungry, why, offer the “eating-mowing” service to your neighbors. Just like those new-fangled electric cars, ride him to work all day, and let him recharge at night.

Those storms in Kansas and Oklahoma left a horrible mess. That little town of Greensburg was wiped clean except for the grain elevator. That’s the only thing still standing. In fact don’t be surprised if new buildings put up on the Plains are built just like those wheat silos. Of course they don’t have to be that tall; just that strong. How’s that for Common Sense?

Historic quote from Will Rogers: (on Mother’s Day)

“A mother is the only thing that is so constituted that they possess eternal love under any and all circumstances. No matter how you treat them, you still have their love. I was telling that to my wife today, and I was telling her a little thought that I wanted to use (on the radio tonight), and I said, “You know, Betty,” I says, a mother and a dog is the only two things that has eternal love, no matter how you treat ’em. And my wife made me cut the dog out. Said it, well, it didn’t sound very good and it might sound disrespectful to a mother, but I certainly didn’t mean it that way. But it’s the only thing that really is. You know what I mean.

So the poor old dog he’ll have to go. I can’t use it on account of my wife made me leave the dog out, but he still loves you just the same, just as much as a mother did.

But this being Mothers Day… maybe some day, we’ll have Dog Day, too, or something, and I can use that on the dog. I really do, I hate to leave the dog out, but my wife runs this outfit. Well, anyhow, they both, no matter what you do to them, they all love you.

Mothers are naturally glad to have this day dedicated to ’em, and they’re glad that we pay them this homage and remembrance, but it hasn’t increased their love one bit, I don’t think. It’s made no changes in her. She can see through this Mother’s Day thing. She knows that we were almost forced by law to do something about her.” Radio broadcast, Mother’s Day, 1935