Sunday, December 5, 2010

"A second Boston Tea Party!"

The following play script is by David Hansen © 2010.


MAYOR BURTON steps forward.

Cleveland in her Centennial Year warmly welcomes the Convention of the National Union for Social Justice! We cordially invite everyone attending your convention to attend the Great Lakes Exposition. We invite you to share the inspiration of a rapidly growing community confident of its own future and of that of the country under the control of popular government.

Citizens from around the nation, Forty-thousand strong have come to Municipal Stadium to hear the fighting radio priest, Father Charles E. Coughlin give the keynote address at this first Union Party convention, throwing the weight of his ten million listeners behind the candidacy of North Dakota Representative William Lemke. Some sporting patriotic costumes!

Enter CONVENTIONEER in a feathered "Red
Indian" headband, war paint and modern, floral
patterned dress.

You remember the Bostonians dressed up like Indians when they threw that high-priced British tea overboard? Well, we don't like the high-priced tea we're getting from Washington, and we don't like taxation without representation, so we're going to throw it overboard. We represent a second Boston Tea Party!

What if your man doesn't win the election this November?

These feathers stand for peace. That means we will use peaceful methods -- Not bullets, but ballots.

Here comes the man himself, as thousands rise to their feet in the sweltering summer heat!

FATHER COUGHLIN, a stocky, ruddy
cheeked man in a frock coat and collar, with
round wire-rimmed spectacles, walks through the
audience to the rostrum at center.

(goes wild)

Mr. Chairman, Rev. Dr. Gerald Smith, Congressman Lemke, ladies and gentlemen from every State in the Union. It is my happy privilege to be here today.

That great betrayer and liar, Franklin Double-Crossing Roosevelt, promised to drive the money-changers from the temple, and succeeded in driving farmers from their homesteads. He built up the greatest debt in all history, which he permitted the bankers the right to spend, and you and your children shall repay with seventy billion hours of labor.

My friends, the hand of Moscow backs the Communist leaders in America, and aims to pledge their support for Roosevelt. We are wholly opposed to the Roosevelt taxes, dole, and to the propaganda that has been spread through this land. We are opposed, sympathetically, to the Republican candidate, poor Mr. Alfred Landon. Holy Mackerel, Andy! He doesn't know whether he is going or coming.

Is it Democracy for the President to browbeat the Congress and insist this legislation "must" be passed? Is that democracy?

FATHER COUGHLIN waits for a reply from
the audience. If he does not receive one, he asks
"Is that Democracy?" Even more ferociously.

Is it Democracy for the president to say, "pass this legislation whether it is Constitutional or not"? Is that Democracy? Is it Democracy to have our country filled with bureaucrats and their banks filled with unpayable debts, save for their bankers? Is that Democracy? Why should there be want in the midst of plenty simply to satisfy the Rothschilds, the international financiers, the Jews?

We are Christians. We believe in Christ's principle of love your neighbor as yourself. I challenge every Jew in this nation to tell me that he does not believe in it. The better class of Jews are willing to accept this basic principle of Christianity. When men become so prideful that they believe they can rewrite the eternal law of God - when ballots have proved useless - then as one American, imbued with the tradition of Washington, I shall not disdain using bullets for the preservation of liberty!

FATHER COUGHLIN takes off his coat.

It is not pleasant for me who coined the phrase "Roosevelt or ruin" - a phrase based upon promises - to voice such passionate words. But I must admit that "Roosevelt AND ruin is the order of the day. New Deal policy is Un-Christian! It is anti-God! It is downright asinine!

FATHER COUGHLIN undoes and removes his
clerical collar.

If I don't deliver nine million votes for William Lemke, I'm through with radio forever! I am willing to die in this struggle to liberate America from the money changers!

FATHER COUGHLIN swoons, steps back,
mops his brow, regathers himself and gasps:


FATHER COUGHLIN is helped away from the

This fictionalized speech was created using quotations from Charles E. Coughlin at rallies in Cleveland and Philadelphia, and from the following sources:
The New York Times
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
The Cleveland Press
Social Justice
Father Coughlin's radio broadcast
Additional thanks to Karen Ketchaver and Donald Warren's biography of Coughlin.

The "tea party" conventioneer's quotation is documented, and not a product of the playwright's imagination. Really. For real.

No comments:

Post a Comment