The Dark Side of the Roaring Twenties

We all sit by and think we are safe in our homes as we sit and watch the kids playing in the yard, reminiscing over the past days, weeks or months goings on. We pray thanking whomever we believe in for keeping us safe and allowing us the ‘freedom’ of living in a country that is not racist or discriminating and such a wondrous wealth of information and economics that how could one not be happy in the USA?

Take yourself back into time, not even a hundred years ago. Read what is going on in the papers in our beautiful budding country. Do you still feel lucky? The roaring twenties! Wow! What a wonderful time! A boom in the economy was going on and it ‘seemed’ that everyone was enjoying the best of what this country had to offer and more. But there were some dark sides of this so called ‘roaring twenties’. It roared alright, but when they were done, you could hear a pin drop from the deafening silence that invaded the minds and homes of all that it had touched. How did this all come about? Let me give an example or two of what happened to make the ‘roaring twenties’ such a big bad bang.

The “dark side” of the 1920’s can be described as a mix of a form of political revolution and a spurt of ‘nationalism’ spawned after the executions of Sacco and Vanzetti and the birth of the CPI. What also came to form was a group called the KKK. They (the KKK) targeted people of Jewish descent, Catholics, “aliens” and blacks. Basically, it sounded like anyone who wasn’t white and thought of as ‘pure American’, such as the ‘born and raised in the United States’ type of thinking was a target of their hatred and outrage. The KKK would ravish and plummet, killing all who stood in their way and those of their hatred believing that they were ‘cleansing’ the United States of all the ‘dirtiness’. It was a killing field and a blood bath, it was murder out of pure hatred, it was wrong, just straight up wrong!

Two such people, who were persecuted for basically, being different, were Sacco and Vanzetti. Sacco and Vanzetti were accused of being involved in the robbing and murder of a paymaster and his assistant. Because they were seen with other men who were thought of to have been involved and near the get away car that had been used, they were considered guilty. Guilty by association was one of their unofficial charges, along with the fact that they were not American, they were Italian. Oops! They were not American so they were fair game during this time of unrest in our country. Sure, they had radical beliefs but honestly, how many people have spoken with their friends or family and said, ‘I do not like what is going on in our government, it could sure use a ‘revamping’ or just a total re-do’ or anything in that nature? I bet at least 50% or more of Americans could say that, so that could not be a good enough reason for them to be guilty.

Guilt by association and nationality? Wow! Now it is getting sticky. But we are speaking of a time when anyone and everyone who was not American was thought of as an ‘alien’ so must not be up to any good, even though we invited them into our country. Talk about going in circles! If we let them in, then we should not blame their crimes on their nationality because we have already accepted it by letting them in. Guilt by association is a little bit trickier. IF a person is holding the person’s gun and is not being held as a hostage type of situation, then sure, they are guilty. If they are driving the get-a-way car and they are not a hostage, again, they are guilty, but just because they are there? Not Guilty until proven guilty I would say, but again, we are speaking of a time when you were guilty from nationality first and then anything else that could be used against you, was, just because it could be!

During the trial for Sacco and Vanzetti, there were eyewitness testimony that was considered highly unreliable and the description of the bandits who were thought of to be guilty did not even fit their description. On top of all of that, both Sacco and Vanzetti had valid alibis. There were tests taken on their firearms and they were inconclusive on to whether or not they were the ones used in the slayings. The main role that the prosecution played upon was the fact that Sacco’s and Vanzetti’s nationality was not of American descent, that they were in fact ‘aliens’ in our country and so not to be trusted in this time of uneasiness. It was sad really. Sacco and Vanzetti were both considered guilty before they had even went to trial. I have mixed feelings about their guilt, but would have liked the chance to really know everything that happened and went on to make my own decision and their true reason’s behind it. I guess we will never be given that chance since no one, no American, took the time to find out the ‘truth, and nothing but the truth’.

During these times there was a group formed called the CPI (Committee on Public Information). The CPI was used to report anyone who was thought to be believed to be ‘non-American like’. People feared communism, which was becoming wide spread in Russia and other countries and it was feared that communism would spread to the USA. When strikes started spreading like wildfire, mostly because of the mismanagement of the wartime economy and then bombings by anarchists, fear was struck deep into those who were already frightened by previous happenings. The CPI was to combat widespread opposition to the war and was a call for ‘national unity’. Patriotic citizens were asked to report their neighbors, families, friends, co-workers and any immigrants who were thought of to be ‘undermining’ the war effort.

Germans-Americans were picked on the most because we were at war with Germany. It was a sad fact that we allowed those German-Americans to live in the USA and because we went to war with their country, they were now ‘behind enemy lines’. Shameful!

Lastly, the Harding administration was definitely one for the books, or could I say, it was just for ‘looks’? Ha! Ha! Eventually though, it went from looking pretty, to being nothing but a mess of faces and corruption on the face of the government. Boy I bet those who voted those people and Harding in sure felt like they had ‘egg’ on their faces or had to ‘hide’ their faces after everything all went down. It seemed like Harding was like the ostrich that hid his head in the sand when he got scared. Or one of those monkeys of the three who said no evil, heard no evil and ‘seen’ no evil. It seemed that all Harding wanted was to be ‘remembered’ and did not think of the consequences of ‘how’ he would be remembered. Harding surrounded himself with his friends and colleagues and even some ‘acquaintances’ rather than those who were qualified for the positions he filled (with those he knew). Harding was remembered, but not for good reasons whatsoever. Some of the reasons he was remembered was because those friends he surrounded himself with were corrupt in a massive sort of way.

They created scandals beyond belief when everything came down to the truth but was not so sensed since Harding himself was known for gambling in the white house, being a womanizer and drinking bootleg whiskey. It was a true shame to have a president, supposedly to represent our country, to make a total shame of himself and of the position he held. It makes one wonder why there is not some kind of test that should be given to find out what kind of morals one had before they took office. Everyone makes mistakes, but to make BIG mistakes in offices like presidency just defies the trust the people have in those whom they pick to become president and in the government itself. It is no wonder there has been more and more vigilantes and groups such as that formed. Government distrust has been strengthening ever since. We need to strengthen our governmental trust but how can we do that when we cannot trust those in those positions? I reckon, we have to put them out of office and put choose those we do trust, even if it is out of the ‘norm’. There we have it for the roaring twenties and the injustice for all.

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