John Joseph Barrett – My Grandfather

John Joseph Barrett began his journey in Croom, County Limerick, Ireland. Now the Republic of Ireland.
I never met him or his wife Anne, which is a real shame.
The photo is of the two in Venice.

The following 1936 transcription is from the journal of  Jefferson Democrats of Northern California.

The following radio address was delivered by  John J. Barrett, noted California attorney and life-long Democrat as his reasons for voting for Alf. M. Landon as President.

“…A serious fault in the American people is their complacency.  We have a sense of superiority over other nations.  We have a sense of immunity from their perils.  We have abiding conviction that no tidal wave can engulf this land even though it submerge the Continent. We are certain that we are safe against all the malign agencies that assail the rest of the race. “It can’t happen here.” That makes these times doubly dangerous for us. Because here and now the life-and-death struggle is under way. And to us primarily, at this very moment, applies the ancient admonition that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

What is the particular threat against us in conditions at home and abroad? It is a threat against our democratic institutions. That is the fundamental threat; all the others are dependant on it. What are these democratic institutions? They are certain safeguards of individual freedom and individual opportunity. Where are they lodged? In the foundation of the government, in its framework and constitution. What is their idea? To divide the power of government. But why divide the powers of government? To prevent their concentration in an individual or group. Why prevent the concentration of all the powers of government in an individual or group?  Because that is the definition of a dictator, and, since time began it means the death of individual freedom and individual opportunity. Even if the dictator is sincere and well disposed?  Yes. All dictators are sincere and well disposed to begin with.  There are no sincerer men on earth today than Mussolini, than Hitler, than even Stalin.  Somebody said that virtue is more dangerous than vice, because it knows no limitations.  There is a grain of truth in that.  The criminal knows he is wrong and will go only as far as he has to.  The good fanatic knows he is right, and will stop at nothing.  That very sincerity of the dictator, his consciousness of the purity of his intentions and the benevolence of his purpose, becomes the mainstream of his regimentation of the lives and activities of his subjects.  That is the uniform history of unbridled political authority. That is the devouring and insatiable appetite of power…”

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