JimWes Thinks

July 6, 2015

THE FALTERING EAGLE: A speech made March 10, 1970

Filed under: Uncategorized — jimwes @ 6:37 pm




Former Georgia State Senator 



MARCH 10, 1970

    (Senator Wesberry resigned from the State Senate to go to Peru with the Alliance for Progress in May, 1967. He returned to Atlanta in June 1969 for one year, then returned to work in Peru. This speech was made during his time back in Atlanta)

The question I have been asked the most since returning from Peru is “WHY DON’T THOSE PEOPLE DOWN THERE LIKE US – AFTER ALL WE’VE DONE FOR THEM?” Why do they hate America – demonstrate against visiting politicians – write “Yankee go home”  on  the  walls – confiscate U.S. owned businesses and property?

First I would like to draw a distinction between the words “LIKE” and ‘RESPECT”.  Many Americans are liked by foreigners as individuals.  Almost all Americans who live abroad make friends among local people.  Many limit themselves too much to the”INTERNATIONAL SET “but on the whole there are no barriers to individual friendship.  On the national level the word “LIKE” is not really appropriate.  It would be better to rephrase the opening question to “WHY DON’T FOREIGNERS RESPECT THE U.S.?”  The  situation we  are  in with  respect to  the  rest  of the world  is  roughly that of the richest man in  a  small  town.  He may be  the  town’s  leading  citizen, donating much of his wealth to  local  charities,  leading in government  and business – but he will have  few, if any real  friends  in town.  His wealth bars close friendship. The wealth of the United States today is so great in comparison to that of other nations that real friendship is impossible.

 It  should be  obvious  to  anyone  that friendship cannot be bought –  either by the wealthy man’s  donations  to  charity – or by  a  government’s  foreign aid program.  On the other hand respect can be achieved by the wealthy man who is a good citizen and likewise by the wealthy nation.

 The United States for a number of years subsequent to World War             II enjoyed worldwide respect among nations.  In recent years that respect has been declining rapidly.  It is declining very rapidly in South America  and throughout the world.

 Here are what I believe to be the reasons for the growing lack of respect for our country:

The average foreigner has concluded that:

  1. The U.S. has abandoned its role of world leadership.
  2. The U.S. is on the verge of a complete collapse of
    its moral and religious values.
  3. The system of government in the U.S. is failing.
  4. The educational system of the U.S. is nearing

 As we discuss these points I would like to ask you to think about whether the  foreigners who have reached these conclusions  might be right.  Is the United States of America – having achieved the greatest successes in the history of mankind in the shortest period of time – about to collapse?

 Will our country survive this new decade? Will democracy survive? Will civilization survive? Will the United States • in 1980, if it exists  as  a nation,  resemble the U.S. of 1970?

 For if the foreigners are right, these questions will soon be answered.

 After World War II the U.S. assumed the mantle of leadership of the Western World from a rapidly declining Britain. While many people may not have agreed with all its policies, our nation was widely respected for this role.

 The  unsuccessful  conclusion of the Korean War  and the  adoption of the  concept of limited warfare  led  inevitably to  the present situation  in South Viet Nam where  the U.S. is now backing down and backing out.

 Few foreigners support our presence in South Viet Nam and few nations have supported our actions there.  However, the obvious lack of support of our commitment to South Viet Nam by the U.S.  tells  the world one-thing  in unmistakeable  terms –  the word  of  the  United States  of America  is worthless. 

 We pledged to support South Viet Nam against Communism.  There were no conditions  to  that pledge which were not  fulfilled – yet we are not  supporting South Viet Nam,  we  are  abandoning  it.Even though the rest of the world does not support South Viet Nam either, it is clear that no  country can expect the United States  to  commit men or weapons  to defend  it against Communism. In the present political atmosphere any U.S. President who sent troops  to  aid any of our  “Allies” would commend himself to political oblivion.

This is the way foreigners now see it.  This is the reason there is a new Russian Embassy in Lima, Peru – why numerous trade pacts with Eastern Nations are being signed throughout South America.

 Regardless  of their  own opposition to  our  involvement  in South Viet Nam  I  am convinced that  foreigners  consider  the backing down of the U.S.  there a real  sign of weakness  and  inability to continue  our  role of world  leadership.

Perhaps they are wrong.  Perhaps we  can  continue  to be  the major western  leader,  but this  is  one reason  for  a growing lack of respect  for  our country throughout  the world.  It is especially aided when U.S.  Senators and other prominent Americans not only oppose  their  country’s  policy,  but make  statements  and condone acts which would be treasonous  if war were  actually declared. Foreigners do not understand it when a public official attacks his own country.  They see this as a sign of decay.

 In my opinion, the only way the U.S. could possibly restore itself to the position of respect it once held among nations would be to unconditionally win the war in South Viet Nam as soon as possible.  This certainly does not appear likely.

 A few years ago the foreigner’s image of an America was  that of a man on  a horse wearing a white hat and two guns –  the  cowboy.  Today the foreigner views the average American as a sex maniac, a sex deviate or both.  The image is conveyed by Hollywood.  The closest contact a foreigner has with the U.S. is our movies.  First run U.S.  movies  are  shown  in Lima,  Peru, as  soon  as  they are  shown  in Atlanta.

 In my opinion the movie industry is doing almost as much to destroy respect for our country abroad as the Communist Party.  The rotten, filthy, disgusting, degrading products of our film industry are a real source of embarrassment to Americans abroad.  It is bad enough that the movie industry is corrupting our country.  Many foreigners deeply resent it when American pornography also corrupts their country.  The “God is dead” philosophy has horrified and amazed many foreigners.  They would have expected this from Russia, not the U.S.

 The flood of American pornography flowing into other countries, the well publicized drug problems among U.S.  youth and the general  abandonment of  religion by many Americans – magnified out  of proportion by  the passion of our press  for  publicizing these  trends  as  progressive  and  inevitable – has  convinced many  foreigners that  the United States  is  on the verge of a complete moral  and  spiritual  collapse.


It is no wonder they don’t respect us.

 Our country has  spent untold billions  of dollars  attempting to  sell  other  nations  on our  system of government         –  Democracy – as  the best  system.  We  continually  insist that our  “friends” hold  “free  elections” (even to  the point of the  election  in
South Viet Nam  in the midst of the war  and  the utterly ridiculous  suggestions  that there  should be  another one).

 Yet many foreigners feel they see signs that Democracy is collapsing in the U.S. 

 The currently popular protests against any and everything one doesn’t like are contrary to everything Democracy stands for.  The philosophy that some laws may be ignored because they are unjust or wrong or outmoded betrays and destroys Democracy.

The  tendency toward  idealistic but  impractical or impossible legislation which has  long  characterized South American Parliamentary Bodies  is  now prevailing  in our Congress  and our  State  Legislatures.

The violence surrounding recent U.S. political campaigns and conventions which was highly publicized throughout the world acts to destroy foreigners hopes that Democracy might work.

 In short the U.S.  political scene more and more resembles the political scene of our Latin neighbors.  Instead of selling foreigners  our  form of government we  are more  and more adopting theirs –  and getting  further  and  further  away  from real Democracy.

 In October, 1968,  as  I walked the  streets  of Lima,  Peru,  amidst the  tanks  and soldiers  armed with sub-machine guns who had just taken over there  sending the  President  into exile  and abolishing the  Congress, I wondered if such a thing could happen in my own country. Then I told myself no, it couldn’t.  Now, after being back in the U.S. for six months I am not so sure that an authoritarian Government may not be inevitable here.  The people will demand it to preserve order – if there is no  other way.

 Many foreigners  see  the hope  for  Democracy we have  tried to  exemplify vastly  dimmed by our present  failure  to  control protest  and violence within  the  Democratic  framework of the  citizen’s  right  to vote  as  he  sees  fit.  If our  citizens are  not  patient  enough to  accept  the  slow change  of Democracy
no  other  country’s  citizens  can be  expected to  accept our form  of government.

 Perhaps the timeliest topic of all is education.  Many South Americans see the U.S. system of higher education passing through a period which their universities passed through twenty or thirty years  ago.  Students and professors demanded and got from most South American Governments a policy of “Autonomy of the University”. Students were given a major voice in control, curricula and other matters.  The result was the complete destruction of the system of higher education in South America.  I talked to many heartbroken U.S.  students who had come to Lima on scholarships only to find that regular classes were rarely held,  professors were irresponsible  and  learning was practically non-existent.

 The present trend in U.S. coleges indicates that we will soon catch up to South America by destroying our system of higher education the same way they did.  It is  interesting to note  that  having  learned  their  lesson  the hard way,  most  Latin Governments  now  are  steering  as  far away  from University Autonomy  as  possible.

 Recent developments indicate that we will soon catch up with other countries in elementary and secondary education as well.

 In South America in general only the poorest of the poor families send their children to the public schools.  All wealthy and middle class people send their children to privately operated schools.  Many poor people make fantastic sacrifices to get their children out of the public schools.  The reason for this is that the public school system is no more than a political patronage vehicle. All good teachers teach in private schools where they are better paid and can better practice their profession.

 It would appear that the  same type  system may be  imminent in our  country where we have apparently become so infatuated with the objective of  integration that we have apparently lost  sight of the more  important objective of education in the public  schools.

 To  summarize the  average  foreigner’s view of the United States,  I would say that he  sees  this  once strong nation as  a nation growing weaker and weaker every day —  a nation which will  soon be too weak to be a world leader.

 Even in this  age  of advanced technology and supposedly advanced  civilization,  it  is  strength that  counts  in  foreign affairs —    as well  as  in domestic  affairs.

 Our country needs a strong foreign policy — a firm unyielding position which will be backed up by our Government. We must also be firm at home proving that our democracy does work and stamping out those who would destroy it from within.

 If we can do this, then foreigners will respect our nation and we can resume our rightful role of world leadership.

 In order to be strong a nation must produce strong leaders. No strong leader has come forth in American Government since Franklin Roosevelt.  Our leaders have been weak, flexible and compromising in recent years.  No wonder foreigners lose respect for us.

Charles DeGaulle, a strong man leading a weak nation, won more world respect than any leader the United States produced while he ruled France.

 We need a strong leader now in the United States more urgently than ever before.

 It is  too  early to  say  for  certain,  but one  strong  leader appears  to be  emerging.  As a Democrat I am sad to say that he is in the other party.

 ……….(reference to 1970 politics omitted)

 As  a  Democrat  I hang my head in shame that  the Democratic Party is  letting  itself be taken over by extremists,  anarchists  and traitors –  and not one –  no not  one  single voice  is being raised by prominent national Democrats  to object.

 The Democratic Party needs a  strong man – a  leader who will not  compromise with those who threaten the basic values of our nation.  Surely  some  prominent northern or western Democrat must be  so disgusted with violence,  with confrontation,  with conflagration, with the  sickening weakness  of his party  in  failing to stand up against those who tried to destroy Democracy at the Chicago convention.  Surely someone in the Democratic Party will have the courage to speak out for his  country.

 ………. (reference to 1970 politics omitted)

 Surely unless the responsible people in the Democratic Party regain control there will ultimately be a mass exodus of Democrats.  Many will become independents, perhaps many will even become Republicans.  The Democratic Party will be left in the hands  of radicals,  anarchists  and traitors  and  it will dwindle  and disappear.  For given an ultimate choice between responsibility and anarchy, this nation will choose responsibility.

 Many people have  asked why I  am now saying the  things  I am saying tonight;  the  fact  is  that my experience  in South America  opened my eyes  so that  I could see America and what  is happening to it and to realize that many Americans  are not yet aware of the serious  danger this  country  faces.

 Today the future is clouded,  but  it  is not too  late.

 The Eagle is faltering, but it is not beyond hope.  We can reverse the tide which is not only destroying respect for our country among foreigners, but is destroying our own self respect.


 *** We can win the war in South Viet Nam.

*** We can eradicate pornography, even if it takes an amendment                                to the U.S. Constitution.

*** We can stamp out drugs and their glorification.

*** We can end once and for all protests, demonstrations and harassments. A ten year moratorium on all forms of physical protest including strikes would be a start.

*** We can stop glorifying the “Right to Dissent”.

 *** We can save our educational system – by making education, not integration, its objective, and by solidly administering schools.

 *** We  can  stop putting the  rights  of suspected  criminals  ahead of      the  right  of all  citizens  to be  free  from violence  and the  fear            of  it;  and we  can  stop releasing convicted  criminals  on technicalities  unrelated to  their  crimes.

 *** We can give strong support to those public officials who speak out for decency, for loyalty, for honor, for law, for order.

 *** And, if we really get desperate, we might even consider turning to God and observing His Laws.

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