How did I get such a heart-felt dedication
to the cause of Justice, the principle of
Freedom, and the policy of the Golden
There were many influences on my childhood; notably The Investigator, Pete Seeger, and Mark Twain, but by far the most influential was the book Heavenly Discourse, by Charles Erskine Scott Wood.
I did not know, when I first read his work at the age of 8 or 9, that Colonel Wood
was an attorney, but his dialogues, written around the time of World War I and set in
a Heaven of his own imagination, acquainted me with moral principles that
have ever been my guide. As he wrote of his vision:
"Any god fit to be a god must be at least as broad, tolerant, and kind as many men are."
Colonel Wood reserved his strongest condemnation for judges and prosecutors who used their power to inflict injustice on the defenseless:
GOD: Why, down there on that spitball of yours a government that calls itself after your name, the Christian Government of the United States, have declared your Sermon on the Mount treasonable, and even for circulating it men and women are jailed by these bloody-thirsty judges - Kenesaw Mountain Landis - who sentenced a lot of boys to twenty years of penitentiary hell because they had I.W.W. cards; and Judge - O by myself - Judge Julius M. Mayer, District of New York, who sentenced Molly Steiner, a mere girl, and four of her boy comrades to twenty years out of their young lives for circulating in New York City a leaflet asking why the United States had troops in Russia, an "ally" country with which the United States was not at war, and two of the boys are already dead of consumption.
Pah - "Justice." "Justice." By myself, where is my Recording Angel? Write high in the Book of Infamy with apologies to Judas, Jeffries and Torquemada - Kenesaw Mountain Landis and Julius M. Mayer, false judges, who vindictively betrayed holy justice they were sworn to serve.