As many admit the #Net provides fertile ground for just about everything human, including mass dissemination of dis-information and irascible lies. Yet, I think as a regular student of American history, one of my pet peeves is the passing around of memes with no basis in fact = h/w is one regarding the quote below attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but actually stated by Mayor John Lindsay of NYC.
Dissent is the highest form of #patriotism (Quotation)
“Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, but to date there is no evidence he said or wrote this. Its true origins are uncertain, but the saying may have entered popular culture during the Vietnam era.
The earliest usage of the phrase is in a 1961 publication, The Use of Force in International Affairs: “If what your country is doing seems to you practically and morally wrong, is dissent the highest form of patriotism?”
The phrase was used repeatedly during the Vietnam era, and this may be when it came into general currency. On October 15, 1969, in a speech at Columbia University, Mayor John Lindsay of New York City stated, “We cannot rest content with the charge from Washington that this peaceful protest is unpatriotic…The fact is that this dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”
I became aware of this fact because my husband had the quote framed in his law office correctly providing notice of its actual author, Mayor John Lindsay. Lindsay was highly respected by my lifelong GOP (progressive, centrist, and anti-war) mate who also ended up involved with the Dims. Lindsay switched his allegiance to the Dims from the GOP.
In many personal and political attributes Lindsay and my brilliant husband shared a sense of wit, a penchant for justice and right action working as a lawyer, a belief civil rights must be a bedrock of American society, a love of NYC, and Striped Bass fishing. It is only after my husband’s passing did i realize how Lindsay served as an in-spirit political mentor when I discovered a notebook written by my husband devoted to an analysis of Lindsay’s policies. There could also have been a genetic predisposition as Arturo DiPietro, my husband’s grand father, born in Sicily, immigrated to NYC but never relinquished his Italian citizenship. Arturo was a political writer publishing a weekly newspaper out of Little Italy (lower NYC) and a highly regarded advisor to Mayor Fiorella H. LaGuardia of NYC.
La Guardia, a #Republican appealed across party lines (like Lindsay and my husband), who was very popular in New York during the 1930s. As a New Dealer, he supported President Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, and in turn Roosevelt heavily funded the city and cut off patronage for La Guardia’s enemies. La Guardia revitalized New York City and restored public faith in City Hall. He unified the transit system, directed the building of low-cost public housing, public playgrounds, and parks, constructed airports, reorganized the police force, defeated the powerful Tammany Hall political machine, and reestablished employment on merit in place of patronage jobs.
“LaGuardia (who was only five feet tall) secured his place in history as a tough-minded reform mayor who helped clean out corruption, bring in gifted experts, and fix upon the city a broad sense of responsibility for its own citizens. His administration engaged new groups that had been kept out of the political system, gave New York its modern infrastructure, and raised expectations of new levels of urban possibility.” (Source: Wikipedia)
I always suspected #LaGuardia and Rev. Arturo DiPietro were personally close beyond progressive causes because Arturo was also a lapsed Catholic having been ex-communicated as a priest in Italy (over his politics against fascism) and then became a Methodist minister. LaGuardia’s father also was a former Catholic and Fiorella was raised as an Episcopalian. My husband and Fiorella were both grads of NYU Law School, but of course during far different periods.
As a congressman, La Guardia was a tireless and vocal champion of progressive causes, from allowing more immigration and removing U.S. troops from Nicaragua to speaking up for the rights and livelihoods of striking miners, impoverished farmers, oppressed minorities, and struggling families. A goad to the era’s plutocrats and their enablers in government, he fought for progressive income taxes, greater government oversight of Wall Street, and national employment insurance for workers idled by the Great Depression.
↑ The Use of Force in International Affairs (Philadelphia: Friends Peace Committee, 1961), 6.
↑ As reported by Bernard Weinraub, “Bells Toll and Crosses Are Planted Around U.S. as Students Say ‘Enough!’ to War: Campuses Remember Slain G.I.’s,” New York Times, October 16, 1969, 19.
One last comment about Lindsay, “A man of good intentions and impeccable personal integrity, Lindsay was so convinced of the moral justness of his cause that he dismissed anyone who questioned him (especially any outer-borough white) as a bigot, and rushed ahead with his ideas. Their unintended consequences still haunt New York, and the nation.”
I will leave it to you to figure out who made the comment.
Photo: John Lindsay and friends.