NOT AFRAID TO CALL SELFISH POLITICAL
OPPORTUNISM WHAT IT IS
Declaration of Conscience
I would like to
speak briefly and simply about a serious
national condition. It is a national feeling of
fear and frustration that could result in
national suicide and the end of everything that
we Americans hold dear. It is a condition that
comes from the lack of effective leadership in
either the Legislative Branch or the Executive
Branch of our Government.
That leadership is so lacking that serious and
responsible proposals are being made that
national advisory commissions be appointed to
provide such critically needed leadership.
I speak as briefly as possible because too much
harm has already been done with irresponsible
words of bitterness and selfish political
opportunism. I speak as simply as possible
because the issue is too great to be obscured by
eloquence. I speak simply and briefly in the
hope that my words will be taken to heart.
I speak as a Republican, I speak as a woman. I
speak as a United States Senator. I speak as an
The United States Senate has long enjoyed
worldwide respect as the greatest deliberative
body in the world. But recently that
deliberative character has too often been
debased to the level of a forum of hate and
character assassination sheltered by the shield
of congressional immunity.
It is ironical that we Senators can in debate in
the Senate directly or indirectly, by any form
of words impute to any American, who is not a
Senator, any conduct or motive unworthy or
unbecoming an American -- and without that
non-Senator American having any legal redress
against us -- yet if we say the same thing in
the Senate about our colleagues we can be
stopped on the grounds of being out of order.
It is strange that we can verbally attack anyone
else without restraint and with full protection
and yet we hold ourselves above the same type of
criticism here on the Senate Floor. Surely the
United States Senate is big enough to take
self-criticism and self-appraisal. Surely we
should be able to take the same kind of
character attacks that we dish out to outsiders.
I think that it is high time for the United
States Senate and its members to do some soul
searching -- for us to weigh our consciences --
on the manner in which we are performing our
duty to the people of America -- on the manner
in which we are using or abusing our individual
powers and privileges.
I think that it is high time that we remembered
that we have sworn to uphold and defend the
Constitution. I think that it is high time that
we remembered; that the Constitution, as
amended, speaks not only of the freedom of
speech but also of trial by jury instead of
trial by accusation.
Whether it be a criminal prosecution in court or
a character prosecution in the Senate, there is
little practical distinction when the life of a
person has been ruined.
Those of us who shout the loudest about
Americanism in making character assassinations
are all too frequently those who, by our own
words and acts, ignore some of the basic
principles of Americanism --
The right to
The right to hold unpopular beliefs;
The right to protest;
The right of independent thought.
The exercise of these rights should not cost one
single American citizen his reputation or his
right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger
of losing his reputation or livelihood merely
because he happens to know some one who holds
unpopular beliefs. Who of us doesn't? Otherwise
none of us could call our souls our own.
Otherwise thought control would have set in.
The American people are sick and tired of being
afraid to speak their minds lest they be
politically smeared as "Communists" or
"Fascists" by their opponents. Freedom of speech
is not what it used to be in America. It has
been so abused by some that it is not exercised
by others. The American people are sick and
tired of seeing innocent people smeared and
guilty people whitewashed. But there have been
enough proved cases to cause nationwide distrust
and strong suspicion that there may be something
to the unproved, sensational accusations.
As a Republican, I say to my colleagues on this
side of the aisle that the Republican Party
faces a challenge today that is not unlike the
challenge that it faced back in Lincoln's day.
The Republican Party so successfully met that
challenge that it emerged from the Civil War as
the champion of a united nation -- in addition
to being a Party that unrelentingly fought loose
spending and loose programs.
Today our country is being psychologically
divided by the confusion and the suspicions that
are bred in the United States Senate to spread
like cancerous tentacles of "know nothing,
suspect everything" attitudes. Today we have a
Democratic Administration that has developed a
mania for loose spending and loose programs.
History is repeating itself -- and the
Republican Party again has the opportunity to
emerge as the champion of unity and prudence.
The record of the present Democratic
Administration has provided us with sufficient
campaign issues without the necessity of
resorting to political smears. America is
rapidly losing its position as leader of the
world simply because the Democratic
Administration has pitifully failed to provide
The Democratic Administration has completely
confused the American people by its daily
contradictory grave warnings and optimistic
assurances -- that show the people that our
Democratic Administration has no idea of where
it is going.
The Democratic Administration has greatly lost
the confidence of the American people by its
complacency to the threat of communism here at
home and the leak of vital secrets to Russia
through key officials of the Democratic
Administration. There are enough proved cases to
make this point without diluting our criticism
with unproved charges.
Surely these are sufficient reasons to make it
clear to the American people that it is time for
a change and that a Republican victory is
necessary to the security of this country.
Surely it is clear that this nation will
continue to suffer as long as it is governed by
the present ineffective Democratic
Yet to displace it with a Republican regime
embracing a philosophy that lacks political
integrity or intellectual honesty would prove
equally disastrous to this nation. The nation
sorely needs a Republican victory. But I don't
want to see the Republican Party ride to
political victory on the Four Horsemen of
Calumny -- Fear, Ignorance, Bigotry and Smear.
I doubt if the Republican Party could -- simply
because I don't believe the American people will
uphold any political party that puts political
exploitation above national interest. Surely we
Republicans aren't that desperate for victory.
I don't want to see the Republican Party win
that way. While it might be a fleeting victory
for the Republican Party, it would be a more
lasting defeat for the American people. Surely
it would ultimately be suicide for the
Republican Party and the two-party system that
has protected our American liberties from the
dictatorship of a one party system.
As members of the Minority Party, we do not have
the primary authority to formulate the policy of
our Government. But we do have the
responsibility of rendering constructive
criticism, of clarifying issues, of allaying
fears by acting as responsible citizens.
As a woman, I wonder how the mothers, wives,
sisters and daughters feel about the way in
which members of their families have been
politically mangled in Senate debate -- and I
use the word 'debate' advisedly.
As a United States Senator, I am not proud of
the way in which the Senate has been made a
publicity platform for irresponsible
sensationalism. I am not proud of the reckless
abandon in which unproved charges have been
hurled from this side of the aisle. I am not
proud of the obviously staged, undignified
countercharges that have been attempted in
retaliation from the other side of the aisle.
I don't like the way the Senate has been made a
rendezvous for vilification, for selfish
political gain at the sacrifice of individual
reputations and national unity. I am not proud
of the way we smear outsiders from the Floor of
the Senate and hide behind the cloak of
congressional immunity and still place ourselves
beyond criticism on the Floor of the Senate.
As an American, I am shocked at the way
Republicans and Democrats alike are playing
directly into the Communist design of "confuse,
divide and conquer." As an American, I don't
want a Democratic Administration "white wash" or
"cover up" any more than I want a Republican
smear or witch hunt.
As an American, I condemn a Republican "Fascist"
just as much as I condemn a Democrat
"Communist." I condemn a Democrat "fascist" just
as much as I condemn a Republican "Communist."
They are equally dangerous to you and me and to
our country. As an American, I want to see our
nation recapture the strength and unity it once
had when we fought the enemy instead of
It is with these thoughts I have drafted what I
call a "Declaration of Conscience." I am
gratified that Senator Tobey, Senator Aiken,
Senator Morse, Senator Ives, Senator Thye and
Senator Hendrickson, have concurred in that
declaration and have authorized me to announce
reads as follows:
Statement of Seven
1. We are Republicans. But we are Americans
first. It is as Americans that we express
our concern with the growing confusion that
threatens the security and stability of our
country. Democrats and Republicans alike
have contributed to that confusion.
2. The Democratic administration has
initially created the confusion by its lack
of effective leadership, by its
contradictory grave warnings and optimistic
assurances, by its complacency to the threat
of communism here at home, by its
over-sensitiveness to rightful criticism, by
its petty bitterness against its critics.
3. Certain elements of the Republican Party
have materially added to this confusion in
the hopes of riding the Republican party to
victory through the selfish political
exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance,
and intolerance. There are enough mistakes
of the Democrats for Republicans to
criticize constructively without resorting
to political smears.
4. To this extent, Democrats and Republicans
alike have unwittingly, but undeniably,
played directly into the Communist design of
"confuse, divide and conquer."
5. It is high time that we stopped thinking
politically as Republicans and Democrats
about elections and started thinking
patriotically as Americans about national
security based on individual freedom. It is
high time that we all stopped being tools
and victims of totalitarian
techniques—techniques that, if continued
here unchecked, will surely end what we have
come to cherish as the American way of life.