Friday, August 4, 2017

The Sound of Immigrants

Immigration issues

[excerpt, JFK's Last Hundred Days] -------------------- Kennedy had reason to be magnanimous.  His victories over Lodge in the Massachusetts Senate race in 1952 and in the 1960 general election, when Lodge had run for vice president, had capped a family rivalry spanning generations.  It had started when Lodge's grandfather Henry Cabot Lodge, Sr.,

had introduced a bill in Congress in 1895 aimed at curbing immigration from southern and eastern Europe

by requiring immigrants to be literate in their national languages.  When his bill reached the House, Kennedy's maternal grandfather, who was then a congressman,

had fiercely opposed it.  According to a story that Fitzgerald told for years and his grandson

surely knew by heart, when he and Lodge met in the Senate chamber, Lodge had called him an "impudent young man" and asked, "Do you think the Jews or the Italians have any right in this country?"  Fitzgerald had shot back, "As much right as your father or mine.  It was only a difference of a few ships." ---------------

Hello darkness, my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said "The words of the prophets
Are written on subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence"


{JFK's Last Hundred Days, by Thurston Clarke.

"The Sound of Silence" - Simon & Garfunkel.}