JULY 16, 1958
HYDE PARK—Now that Alaska, our new 49th state is in the fold, it seems to me we should consider immediately the admission of Hawaii.
I should think it would be advantageous for us to act as quickly as possible and grant Hawaii statehood when that great area indicates its desire for citizenship for its people.
Hawaii demonstrated its loyalty and patriotism during World War II and in Korea despite the fact of the second-class citizenship imposed upon the Pacific island under territorial status. Approximately 1,120 young Americans from Hawaii lost their lives during World War II and in Korea, and more than 5,400 were wounded in the two wars. Today there are over 61,000 veterans in Hawaii.
You can be sure that the Asiatic countries are watching our attitude toward the admission of Hawaii as a state. And you may well think that one of the reasons that has kept us so long from granting full rights of statehood is because of the mixed racial ancestry of the population.
But it is in this area that we can show that we believe in democracy for all, regardless of racial background or religious belief. This would have great beneficial effect for us in the eyes of the peoples of Asia and Africa. Admission of Hawaii as a state would have greatly more far-reaching results for us than the mere feeling that justice was being done for some 575,000 residents of the islands.
I hope very much, therefore, that the present Congress will pass the Hawaiian statehood bill, and that our present flag will be changed not by adding one star, but by adding two at the same time.
I have received a rather extraordinary statement about the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Regular Democratic organization, which was sent me by a young lawyer, and I want to quote part of it because it may interest other parts of the country. I have no idea whether he is correct in what he says, but I think it would bear investigation by the Democrats of Brooklyn. Here are some quotations from the statement:
"They (the Regular Democratic organization) declare without even a tinge of conscience that they will attempt to have their law committee investigate the petitions of insurgents....."
The writer states that 75 percent of insurgent petitions are voided by this law committee, but never a "regular" petition..." Primary day is tantamount to election day, and as long as we have this wholesale suppression we are really virtually a monolithic state."
"What have we really over Communism if we have no free ballot?"
He then goes on to say that I once suggested that every young Democrat should join his local club and spend time learning about the machinery of politics. But he says this is not enough. All young voters, he maintains, have an obligation to fight wrongs when they are discovered and to let the people know what is wrong, since only the people can bring about reform.
Finally he asks: "How far is it [unclear term marked] a dictatorial community to a dictatorial state?"
I don't know much about Brooklyn party machinery or even New York City, but I do know that whenever I have really investigated a situation I have been better able to form an opinion and to act on it.
So I would beg citizens everywhere in this country to look into the conduct of their party machinery and learn how it is operating in their communities!