Narod Polski -- March 26, 1897
Editorial: To Work, To Action.
Queer are the affairs of the Polish American press, and in particular, its leaders. For some time whole columns and editorials are dedicated to nonsense, quarrels, and calling each other names. Each one tries with his orations to impress and convince the other that he and no one else is right. They surely must have forgotten, "You see a cinder in your brother's eye, but none in yours, "The kettle calls the pot black, but each is covered with tar."
One wants to boast of his theological knowledge. Another of philosophical; one wants to pose as a conservative, another is ailing with liberalism. In reality neither has even any conception of it, but it hurts no one to try and impress each other with foolishness and play at another's expense. We see occasionally an anarchist, realizing the ingratitude of his work and its direction, perhaps penitent with a troubled conscience, return to the arms of the Catholic Church, as if he were sure of a golden crown in heaven. Sometimes a model Catholic proposes some improvements, but does not specify what improvements. He would like to turn the world upside down, just for the honor of having it known that he was the first to change the direction of public thought. In every number of our splendid Polish-American press we can glimpse the other side of the medal. Jealousy and intrigue seem to be the subjects of our contemporary editors.2
There are those among them that not long ago were urging the destruction of everything "with fire and sword," but today, with a large Bible under their arm they trip to church, for everyone to see what good Catholics they are and to inspire others to imitate them as converted from deadly sin. It may be that it would be a good thing for some to imitate, but how much insincerity and falsehood is hidden in temples and theaters; those repentants are probably Judases. They sit in the front seat so as to be seen to show they are with the people, but in their souls they think "we lead the working masses and they owe us honors."
In their writing they call the people to peace and harmony, but they themselves set a bad example. They attack each other, drag each other into courts, accuse each other of horrors and the people who make them rich and pay with the hard earned money for their outpourings of gall on paper, for masterpieces of ridiculous nonsense. These men are not interested in the good of our people, they have no time to look around to see that we lack so much, especially here in a foreign land. Perhaps they are mentally so undeveloped that they do not feel any lack, they consider everything accomplished, that nothing is lacking for the happiness of our people, except bird's milk, which does not exist. They do not realize that our immigration is young here in America and therefore unripe. Everywhere, as far as the eye can see, there can be found much to do, but nothing one can do even if the will were there; one would be covered with mud, and called a Mason, or a reformer, but what?-3
Seeing such disorder and helplessness, those who could bring about reformation for our people, although not cowards, are afraid to step forward, so progress moves at a snail's pace. Families are miserable and in despair. Tens even hundreds of families formerly true Catholics are now by the wayside. Today they have no conscience and no God, there is no heart in them. In their own brother they see an enemy. Bloodshed, and even rotting in American jails in bitterness and hate, and who brought them to this - our Polish American press. Our plain people never heard of Independent churches, priests and bishops and such. They did not know there could exist an American Pope and a Roman Pope. They know only that the Catholic church is universal, one and the same throughout the world, that the invisible head is Jesus Christ and the Pope is its representative on earth.
They never knew that the cross, emblem of Christianity should be pushed aside, that it is something to be ashamed of and that they should substitute the eagle or red flag for it. They did know that their forefathers and kings alike bowed before God, built churches, and respected their clergy. They knew that Father Kordecki and others not only built the church, but saved the whole nation from extinction. Here in America everything is denied, even the existence of God, under the banner of patriotism. The editors of yellow journals "called great newspapers" are misleading our people with anarchy, liberalism, socialism and other doctrines, and evading all the teachings of our Savior.4
They disregard it as old; something new is always attractive. Instead of calling the people to stand to the end of ages, by national traditions to "Love your neighbor," the destroyers of public peace are hastening to chaos. Has it ever been heard before in any corner of the world where the Polish language is spoken, that people rose against the servants of God, mistreated and embarassed them, before the faithful and shamed the Polish name? No!! It is only in America that such things happen among the Poles. Only this was necessary, that some outcast who cannot hold back his evil inclinations should deck himself out in priestly robes, and at first very meekly, agreeably, quietly, sanctimoniously, preach some "piece," and immediately the Polish-American press plays it up. Already they have a subject for six or seven columns, and, as something new and great, smear dirt, which would sometimes be better concealed, instead of demoralizing the rest of the public and implanting the bite of poison. In every community, even in every family can be found some black sheep, but does that mean that the father should kill him? No!!. He is given time to mend his ways and is forgiven like the "Prodigal Son." Our mother, the Catholic church, does not turn away her prodigal sons who repent and regret their mistake, but the Polish-American press does not seem to know this and condemns every mistake, as if anyone were without sin. Who of you is without sin -- cast the first stone at your brother. To what all this leads and what harm it does to the people, the Polish-American press, or the brains directing it are unable to comprehend.5
It surprises us that the owners of the papers allow such poison to be fed their readers, allowing whole newspapers to be filled with filth. It is not strange, therefore, that the opinion regarding our editors is so poor in Europe. It would be impossible for such as Jutrzenka, Glos Ludu, Wiarus, Nowe Zycie, Sztandarek and others to exist in Europe. Not only the government but the public would condemn them. The sad part is that the correspondents of papers are those who are unworthy to wear the sacred garments, who have not the courage to come out openly. In one word - dirt - dirt - dirt at every step. Is it not possible to repair the harm? Are the wounds and boils of our Poles so infected that there is no cure? Have the people no will? Are their nerves so unstrung that they cannot calm down?
No - No - and once again No! - God gave man brains, a will and a conscience. Man is a creature above animals. He is a higher creature and even master of other creatures. Man can, therefore, change everything, ruin, destroy, repair and re-build. The will and strength is all that is necessary. We can all come to an understanding, agree, forget, and together help each other and offer a hand to each other. Let us do that! Let us ponder and realize that what we have done is the cause of our misery. Let us work industriously like ants. Let us exchange our ideas, thoughts, discuss and not kill the plans of another with arguments and leave the verdict to the majority. Let us think of commercial trade with Polish colonies in Europe and Brazil.6
Let us organize Polish trade. For the time being we could make even a spiritual alliance with our brothers in South America where in some places the Polish residents are from 50 to 90 percent of the population. That is a splendid aim and the people there will become more self-reliant. Let us build a Polish bank, hospitals, so that our brothers need not be pushed about by Germans and Irish. Let us take care of our orphans whose parents, through overwork or misery, are in a cold grave and unable to rear their children. Let us build schools of higher education, let us form trade unions, build factories. Let us cut down the number of Polish saloons, and the saloon keepers could, even with small funds organize business concerns. Instead of wasting time writing nonsense, dragging each other into courts, the editors should arrange evening lectures; they should possess some higher education. Professors and physicians are offering several hours a week for free lectures in hygiene, anatomy, etc.
Let us gather into our midst the young intelligent generation, which has completed their studies and can use good English and not a garbled language. Also American university professors can be invited to give lectures in the English language. We are sure they would not refuse. From time to time our editors should visit Polish colonies in America and get acquainted with the Polish farmer. Then let us take an account of all of us in America, just supposing there are 2 million of us here, perhaps more or less. Let us see how this can be accomplished at a small expense; such a book would gladly be accepted in the home of ever Pole.7
Let us arrange lectures for children, this would be good schooling for them. The children and older people would absorb a love for their adopted country and national customs, because if we do not worry about our children, what future can await our whole nation. Let us invite our clergy, propose to them all without exception to join our organization, our people will then look differently to the future and see the priest as one of them and not a Roman - as some editors have told our people that the priests do not care about Poland only about Rome.
By coming in close contact with their parishioners, they will prove fatherly care and brotherly love. They can advise and encourage a better living in this country. In general, we have so much useful work before us, there is little time to waste on writing dirt and mutual blackening. So to work brothers, to action! Morally and materially this will bring happiness too our nation, reflect glory on our country and the greatest honor to God.
(Editor's Name not recorded)
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