Are We to Blame?
The attempt made by a Polish anarchist
on the life of the chief executive of our nation has exasperated
the best feelings of every citizen’s heart most keenly; but while
this just indignation that a contemptible alien should lay his hands
on our most sacred public trust thus is fresh in our hearts, let
us ask ourselves whether we are altogether blameless in the matter.
Do we not, by too great freedom of speech toward our public men,
encourage others to believe that we hold too lightly by them? Not
only during the acrimonious heat of campaigns, but in the peaceful
interval between, our newspaper writers and our public speakers
use such language of our best and greatest men as to indicate to
an outsider that they are things of little worth; what wonder then
that this idea should grow, in the narrow, cramped brain of a serf-born
foreigner, into a belief that his murderous impulses were in accord
with ours? Let us thank God that this man has failed; and hereafter
bridle our own tongues.