It is 1947. Imagine. Here in Montpelier we are preparing for the annual Fourth of July celebration — the holiday that celebrates the deepest values of our Founders: that we are all created equal, endowed with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
We citizens of Montpelier are in the midst of preparations for the parade and music in the gazebo. Not so many years ago, the annual events left unsightly rubbish strewn along the parade route and the grounds about the gazebo. Fortunately, we have avoided the mess in the last few years, as the City contracted with the local Civic Youth Association, which sends out volunteer youth to clean up the refuse. It is a splendid idea, from which all benefit, year after year.
Dear citizens, you may have heard that, at the national level, the Civic Youth Association has been the focus of unpleasant and undeserved controversy. The national organization does not permit Jews to serve as adult leaders. That is its right, and who with a sensible conscience can argue with its wise position? It is well known that Jews are greedy and miserly and scheming. And yet, the national organization has been vilified for its forthright stance.
I wish to be clear. We Americans are not like the Germans, who in this very decade murdered Jews and other despised groups such as homosexuals. We are a tolerant people. I say: Let the Jews be. But do not entrust them with our children. There is no reason on earth why Jews should be permitted to serve as leaders of such an honored organization, putting innocent children at risk by close exposure to their nefarious influence.
Now I have heard that some in our community, even members of the local Civic Youth Association, say they dissent from the national organization’s virtuous policy. They dissent — and yet they abide. Where is the courage of their conviction? If the local organization truly were in principled opposition to the national association, it would disassociate. It does not do so. It remains a proud member of the national association. It properly abides by the national association’s rules. No Jew is therefore permitted to serve in a leadership position in the local group, or any member group throughout this nation. And thank the good Lord Jesus for that. I only harbor a niggling worry that a Jew might gain entry by subterfuge and pretense, and pass as a Christian.
But if the local dissenters are not scandalous enough, there is more. Now one of our city fathers poses the idea that this community ought to discuss whether our celebration this July 4, 1947, might do without the assistance of the Civic Youth. He wants a discussion. What effrontery. What intolerance! He says — bear with me now — the city of Montpelier may not wish to contract with an organization that has an official policy of discrimination. What rot! As if protecting our youth from the corrupt influence of Jews is itself something rotten.
Good citizens, let us show him a discussion. Tell him he abuses his office. Tell him this is no time or place to cast aspersions on the honorable Civic Youth Association. Stand up for freedom. And if we lack such courage, then I say let it rain on Montpelier’s parade. Imagine.
Bernie Lambek lives in Montpelier. He is an attorney.
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