Svenska Tribunen -- May 22, 1901[A Thought] for the Day (Editorial) by Carl Swensson
The fact that the President's trip had to be canceled because of Mrs. McKinley's illness shows that human beings never will be other than poor earthly creatures.
No place of honor, no homage, no nation's proud and happy patriotism, will free this earth-bound creature from suffering, from illness, from sorrow. In that respect our likeness to one another is greater than one thinks. We are all brothers, for we are all dust and ashes.
But Mrs. McKinley's illness has elicited many a noble response from her, the President, and our nation as a whole.
The patient had hardly recovered consciousness yesterday before she began 2praying that her illness not in any way interfere with the great festivities, which she hoped might proceed just as if nothing had happened. She inquired as to the well-being of the rest of the women in the company, and hoped that her indisposition would not interfere with others' pleasure in the party. This is what [that noble woman] said, though she herself was so ill that the doctor had little hope for her recovery.
Mrs. McKinley has been weak and sickly for years, but this has never hindered her from devoting her whole heart and her warmest, most undivided interest, to the furthering of her husband's highest ambitions. She has done her utmost to be a helpmate for him, to lead him, and to lighten the heavy burdens which weighed upon his shoulders. Even in that respect her ambition far outstripped her physical powers, so that one of necessity tried to protect her from her beautiful, noble forgetfulness of self. Mrs. McKinley is old-fashioned enough to "be with her man" and to content herself with being his stay and joy and help.
An old-fashioned thought, it is true, but one wafted from paradise itself in 3this time of selfish, masculine women, whose only motive for caring for their husbands and their homes is love of money; who, for the rest, have as life's aim the ability to remain something independent of, and apart from, their husbands; and the husband is no longer his wife's "head"--just as she should be his "heart"--but only her errandboy, her treasurer, her protector.
Mrs. McKinley is a true, noble woman, and, this, her real womanliness, is ever her adornment. This virtue also makes it easy and natural for her husband's love, esteem, and trust to reach such heights under all circumstances. It is only an honorable, really womanly soul that a man seeks in his mate, if he himself is really a man. A man and a woman--that is life's, nature's, God's, combination for the realization of true happiness on earth and in one's community.
One thing is sure: The man is less esteemed than in the past. Woman's development has monopolized the public mind for quite a number of decades. All for the woman--that has been the motto among us. What has been the result? Who can, who dares fully answer such a question?4
One thing more is sure: No one breaks the laws of Nature and of God and escapes unscathed. No attempts to remove the distinctions between man and woman could, in the long run, succeed or be of any value. Woman will never successfully play the role of a man, nor, on the other hand, will man ever play that of woman. "The two are one", but neither of the halves will ever be successful in playing the other's part.
Tens of thousands of true men, who read of the interest Mrs. McKinley always has taken in her man, in his happiness and success, in his development and prosperity, will sigh and think, though caution prevents them from actually saying the words, "Oh, to have a mate like that!" and at the same time [the activities and ways of their own wives] come to mind: the constant committee work, the club meetings, the grave and austere mien, the cold, forbidding heart, the air of self-importance which is so hard to describe--activities and traits which all are closely associated with "the modern woman," and which all are foreign to the old ideal of womanhood, when the wife was proudly and reverently called "the queen of the home".5
A thousand cheers for Mrs. McKinley, mate and woman!
Three "Vive's" for the Swedish, the Swedish-American woman--our mother, wife, daughter, sister; but a just and hearty condemnation for the mannish woman of our time.
On the other hand the President has set an ideal example of how the man should cherish and protect "the weaker sex". He has never forgotten his wife, her need for love and kindness; her heart, her need for attention and support. He is his wife's true and faithful knight, a model husband whose excellence no one could surpass.
These days have also shown how highly the nation loves its presidential pair. The whole country has felt as if one of the family has been ill. Hundreds of telegrams have brought greetings and inquired about the noble patient's condition. Our country loves and esteems its leaders; this is an unusually good sign of the times.6
How happy we all are that we have heard by telegraph that the country's mother is much improved and that hope is held out for her quick recovery!
But the same post has brought us the news of Mrs. Lyman Gage's death, Secretary Hay's illness, Governor Nash's poisoning by a dangerous growth in the forest, Miss Long's dangerous illness in Colorado Springs. Yes, it is true enough that we are dust and ashes, everyone, "Smalandingar". (Smaland-folk, or people of little province) before our Lord above.
I B 3 a, I K
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