To the Editor:
I recently found in a stack of vintage newspapers a pamphlet called “Americanism.” It contained writings by two of our greatest presidents, Woodrow Wilson and Teddy Roosevelt. I was deeply moved by a speech written in 1915 by the latter. He was speaking of basically the same issues that our nation is facing today, a century later. I’m hoping that it might give us all cause to reflect.
“We cannot afford to continue to use hundreds of thousands of immigrants merely as industrial assets while they remain social outcasts and menaces any more than 50 years ago we could afford to keep the black man merely as an industrial asset and not as a human being. We cannot afford to build a big industrial plant and herd men and women about it without care for their welfare. We cannot afford to permit squalid overcrowding or the kind of living system that makes impossible the decencies and necessities of life. We cannot afford the low wages and the seasonal industries, which mean the sacrifice of both individual and family life and morals to the industrial machinery.
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