I have discovered that an incomplete text of Compatriot Dodd's inaugural speech, including some of the more political passages that I recently paraphrased, is actually buried in the middle of five-page article inside the current issue of the CASSAR newsletter. Pages 3 and 10 of the Summer 2011 "California Compatriot" are blank, apparently due to a production problem. "The President's Message," on page 1 and continued to the back page, does not embrace the political theme found in Compatriot Dodd's inaugural speech. The newsletter does not report anything about the content of the partisan speech of John Eastman, the guest speaker who was introduced by Compatriot Dodd as a leader of the Federalist Society, a political lobbying group.
My statement at the April meeting of the San Francisco SAR Chapter noted simply that there had been discussion at the CASSAR meeting regarding whether SAR should be used as a platform for political messages, and urged that we should adhere to the nonpolitical mission that unites all compatriots. In an email to you, Compatriot Dodd protested my statement, which he said was apparently prompted by the CASSAR guest speaker's remarks. President Dodd in a series of emails told you that SAR venues may host political speakers who can address the Patriot Act, the Obama health care reforms, excessive growth of government power and spending, and other partisan issues. I responded that I thought his inaugural speech included political content; he told you that I mischaracterized his speech.
Compatriot Dodd in his inaugural speech (as reported in "The Compatriot," pp. 6, 9) recalled that patriot ancestors "were harassed and, in some cases tortured by the Tories" and said that "we have Tories among us still." SAR members, he said, "represent our Patriot Ancestors in this modern society, which would just as soon forget them and their values." He explained, "People who may have been born in America and have lived here all their lives, but have their allegiance elsewhere. They seek to undermine our American values, attacking our most basic principles.... They prefer what they claim are the more 'sophisticated' and 'International' [sic] values of Europe, rather than American values of faith, home and self-reliance." He added, "Still...the Tories persist, looking down their noses at those of us who...try to teach Founding Principles...."
Compatriot Dodd's message that citizens who support the current direction of our country are the present-day equivalent of the Tories who bedeviled our ancestors, that they are disloyal to American principles, that American society is ready to abandon American values, and that international values are incompatible with American values, is a political point of view associated with a particular partisan perspective. Dr. Eastman, the Federalist Society leader who was guest speaker was even more political. He argued that "the only and legitimate" purpose of government is national security and the police power. Many of us believe that these pronouncements should be presented in political forums, not in SAR meetings.
I still believe that President Dodd, like the rest of us, advocates for what he believes is best for SAR and the Nation. The question is whether it is in the interest of SAR to use SAR as a platform to espouse a particular ideological point of view on the contentious political issues that confront the Nation. Many of us have urged that SAR will be more effective, and more likely to retain and attract more members, if we stay focused on that which unites us all -- our nonpolitical educational programs and events recognizing our patriot forbears, the Constitution and Bill of Rights and independent judiciary and Nation of free people they fought for, and all our Nation's heroes. We can and must work together.
Especially on this Fathers' Day, let us recommit ourselves to honor our forefathers!
Anthony Peirson Xavier Bothwell, Esq.
SAR San Francisco Chapter