Here is an awesome half-hour presentation of the life and landmark accomplishments of Calvin Coolidge by superb scholar Jerry Wallace to the Wichita Pachyderm Club. His irreplaceable volume Calvin Coolidge: Our First Radio President has contributed so much toward shattering the myth that Cal was too inept and silent to make use of the new medium of radio. In fact, Mr. Wallace explains that far from being a failure, Calvin Coolidge bequeaths an historic legacy as not only a masterful communicator but effectual doer and successful President. This is well worth the listen!
Before St. Patrick’s Day comes to a close, it is useful to consider the contributions of one individual, not native to the Emerald Isle but, despite being a Congregationalist Yankee, did much toward welcoming and assimilating Ireland’s immigrants to a place of respect and honor in one of the most Irish-heavy areas of America, the city of Boston. Rather than enhancing racial or religious bigotry by demanding instant results, Coolidge diffused tensions through mutual respect and patient education. Treating the Irish no differently than anyone else who came here to work hard, live honestly and become citizens, he taught what being American is all about, free of hyphens, committed to liberty, grounded in Christian forbearance and confident enough to hold faith in our founding ideals. In this way, he did more to establish the Irish (and immigrants of all countries) as full-fledged Americans than most recognize. Coolidge would experience an unbroken series of political victories as a result, thanks in part to these “Coolidge Democrats” who understood that for immigration to benefit everyone, the responsibilities of citizenship must be taken just as soberly as its rewards. Character came first and it was that very insistence on standards, despite the career risks for Coolidge personally, that prevailed at the ballot box. Coolidge did not need a herd of consultants to validate the Golden Rule for him. As he would observe later in life: The person who is right makes his own luck. Cal points the way toward the Founder’s vision for an assimilated, prosperous and peaceful people preserved through an incremental, not immediate, process; a pathway to citizenship earned by obedience, not bestowed by political calculation for electoral advantage.
Here is an excellent recap of the first Coolidge Gala Dinner held last November. We look forward to many more to come. The fresh introduction to Calvin Coolidge for many who do not know who he is, what he accomplished and why he is important is thrilling to behold.
What a tremendous way to bring back our thirtieth President from an unjust “exile” by historians and to relearn the principles of limited government, engaged citizenship, and fiscal discipline by which he lived and led. These truths, along with many others, lack none of the necessity or power now than they did in his time. This is NOT out of some simplistic nostalgia about the “good old days” but rather strikes at something far more profound and fundamental: A government held to proper limits by a sovereign citizenry is the only foundation for social progress, economic opportunity and individual liberty.
In this period where so many assume “Big Government” is permanently here to handle every human contingency, we are inescapably bound by the reality of Coolidge’s precepts. As much as we may wish otherwise, we cannot indefinitely spend what we do not have just as we cannot reap what we have not sown, whether as individuals or nations. We have no more outgrown Coolidge’s belief in self-government, exemplified by such virtues as hard work, personal initiative and self-control, than the earth has outgrown a need for the sun.
As Mr. Cal Thomas, quoting his Presidential namesake, brings to our attention, “We can not continue to enjoy the result” of all our success “if we neglect and abandon the cause.”