Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 18, 2012

Letters to the Editor: 06/18/2012


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Honor the peace seekers

In Northport, a Memorial Day speaker mentioned there was hesitation in declaring war. Indeed. In "The People's History of the United States" we learn President McKinley, who opposed war against Spain, was politically forced to declare it. Powerful voices pushing for war included Teddy Roosevelt and publisher William Randolph Hearst, who reportedly told Frederic Remington by cable "You furnish the pictures, and I'll furnish the war."

And from Wall Street: J.D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan. Profits would swell all industries. The Washington Post, hearing these bigwigs, observed "there is a taste for Empire ... even as the taste of blood in the jungle."

Yet many strongly opposed, including William J. Bryan, twice the Democratic candidate for president. One union leader said workers would furnish the corpses while others reaped the profits. Mark Twain and the noted philosopher William James, and many church leaders, strongly opposed. None of these saw Spain as an enemy worthy of a war.

Thousands of our youth gave their lives. In the Philippines, hundreds of thousands of natives died rebelling against the American conquerors. We must honor those who died in war, but can we also honor the heroes and heroines who worked for peace?

Grafton "Mac" Thomas