Give Me Liberty by Rose Wilder Lane

I have taken advantage of WordPress’ “page” function to give certain essays a more prominent and permanent place on the sidebar than the typical blog post.  (Pardon me if I sometimes include something of my own there).  I have added a new page today that I think is worthy of a complete read.  Written by Rose Wilder Lane and originally published as part of her 1936 book Give Me Liberty.  Here is a taste to whet your appetite.

We appeared suddenly in the doorways of workingmen’s cafes, dingy places with sawdust on earthen floors where one musician forlornly tried to make music on a cheap fiddle and men and women in the gray rags of poverty sat at bare tables and economically sipped beer or coffee. Their terror at the sight of uniforms was abject. All rose and meekly raised their hands. The policemen grinned with that peculiar enjoyment of human beings in possessing such power.

They went through the men’s pockets, making some little jest at this object and that. They found the Labor cards, inspected them, thrust them back in the pockets. At their curt word of release, the men dropped into chairs and wiped their foreheads.

In every place, a few cards failed to pass the examination. No employer had stamped them during the past three days. Men and women were loaded into the patrol wagon.

Now and then, at our entrance, someone tried to escape from back door or window and ran, of course, into the clutch of policemen. We could hear the policemen laughing. The Chief accepted the compliments of the British detective. Everything was perfectly done; no one escaped.

Several women frantically protested, crying, pleading on their knees, so that they had almost to be carried to the wagon. One young girl fought, screaming horribly. It took two policemen to handle her; they were not rough, but when she bit at their hands on her arms, a third slapped her face. In the wagon she went on screaming insanely. I could not understand Hungarian. The Chief explained that some women objected to being given prostitutes’ cards.

To read the entire essay, click here.

Many thanks to Western Rifle Shooters Association for the pointer.

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