There’s a TV show on Friday evenings titled “Who Do You Think You Are?” that traces the ancestral roots of celebrities. In a recent show, actress Helen Hunt traced her roots to being Jewish on her mother’s side and English on her father’s side.
While going back generations on her father’s side, she found out that her great great grandmother was instrumental in causing the Temperance Movement, which led to Prohibition. She contributed to this by being a top member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union headquartered in Portland, Maine. When Helen Hunt heard this, her immediate reaction was to scoff and say that she “just wanted to go out and get something warm with rum” because she viewed this as prudish and repressive. And no self-respecting Hollywood actress was going to stand for anything prudish and repressive.
She ended up finding out that this organization still existed. So in the pursuit of getting to the facts about her great great grandmother, she went to the organization’s headquarters. She said that she was nervous, but asked that she be given more information.
Here is what she found out. Alcohol consumption in the U.S. peaked in 1830. And in a one mile stretch in Portland, over 300 establishments sold liquor. As a result, women and children had very widely been physically and sexually abused for 90 years. And this was largely attributed to being spurred on by men’s alcohol consumption. So in 1853, Maine passed a law that prohibited the production and sale of alcohol, eventually leading to the 18th Amendment to the Constitution (Prohibition). The temperance movement was women’s way of fighting back. The reality of all this even hit Helen more when she remembered that her grandmother was killed by a drunk driver, leaving her father motherless at a very young age.
As a result of this information, with tears Helen said, “It’s just interesting to watch your snap judgments rise up and crumble away.” She said that when she heard the name Women’s Christian Temperance Union, it filled her with fear and dread. But when she found out what they did, it humbled her and moved her that “what they were doing was something more than what I ever bothered to learn or imagine.”
Today, since the prohibition laws were repealed with the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, (which documentaries point out was due to financial, not moral reasons), there are many painful tragedies that go on in our world: drunk-driving deaths and injuries; physical and sexual abuse (once again), including rape; crimes; broken families; and alcoholism is the 3rd leading cause of death in our nation.
So what can be learned from this? It is quite common for people to have emotional knee-jerk reactions to things without really understanding the truth about them. And a couple of those common reactions perpetrated by the media and entertainers are: “liberals are cool and liberated” and “conservatives are repressive and uptight.” Another one is: “democrats are for women and the poor, and Republicans are for the rich and are anti-woman.” None of these are true. But it will take education about what the truth is to correct these misperceptions. Of course, some people are so stubbornly and emotionally attached to their perceptions that they won’t be reached (at least immediately). But they don’t need to be reached. Only a majority needs to be reached in order to elect good politicians. Therefore we have our work cut out for us (which I contribute to by writing books, speaking and being in the media.)
Regarding that endeavor, here is what Mark Twain said.
In the September 2, 1904, edition of Collier’s, Mark Twain
wrote: “It will be conceded that a Christian’s first duty is to
God. It then follows, as a matter of course, that it is his
duty to carry his Christian code of morals to the polls and
vote them. Whenever he shall do that, he will not find
himself voting for an unclean man, a dishonest man. If
Christians would vote their duty to God at the polls,
they would carry every election, and do it with ease.
Their prodigious power would be quickly realized and
recognized, and afterward there would be no unclean
candidates upon any ticket, and graft would cease. If the
Christians of America could be persuaded to vote God
and a clean ticket, it would bring about a moral
revolution that would be incalculably beneficent. It
would save the country.”
Byline: Dennis Marcellino is the author of The Plague Of Liberalism, which can be seen at http://www.ThePlagueOfLiberalism.com and THE SOLUTIONS, which can be seen at http://www.TheOptimumPoliticalSolutions.com and Addiction Free Forever, which can be seen at http://www.AddictionFreeForever.com.