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For Right

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 13, 2014

For Right

By Annie D. Palmer

My Robert was in the convention
Where the party’s bold scheming is done;
‘Twas the first he had ever attended,
For the lad had just turned twenty-one.
They were counting with fearful precision
The men they could muster inline,
To fight in the war that is waging
For the tottering kingdom of wine.

“You may count my dear mother against you –
I am sure of the stand she will take;
She has always been true to the party,
But she’ll play to no wine-bidder’s stake.”
Thus Robert reported, and added,
“In view of the struggle in sight,
The stand of my father is doubtful,
But my mother will stand for the right.”

“And what about you?” called a leader.
“There is wealth and position to win,
And your name has been slated for honors,
You know – if you help us get in!”
That was threatening, for Robert expected
A good place on the ticket that day:
And the inference was, “We’ll support you,
But we’re naming the price you must pay.”

I never had dreamed that my Robert
Could command so much power and might:
But he answered: “To hell with the party!
I stand with my mother for right!”

So Robert is not on the ticket
For the office he wanted to get;
But he’s on in the fight against Satan,
With the busiest men to be met.
And his stand gives a key for all conflicts
Where Sin flaunts a banner in sight:
Though the world should “stand pat” for a party,
I must be valiant for right.

(1916)



4 Comments »

  1. You didn’t mention where this poem was published. Was it in a church magazine?

    If so, I’m waiting with bated breath for the next time “To hell with the party” or some similar phrase shows up in a church magazine.

    Comment by Mark B. — February 13, 2014 @ 2:27 pm

  2. :D

    Not only a Church magazine, Mark, but the ladies’ Church magazine!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 13, 2014 @ 2:35 pm

  3. Sounds like the story about the final approval of the 19th amendment. (Hopefully it’s not a fable, since I’ve seen it from some reliable sources.)

    In August 1920, thirty-five states had approved the amendment allowing women the vote. Only one state was needed to ratify the amendment, and that state was Tennessee. The voting was neck to neck, 48-48 to be exact, and suffragists’ hopes were fading.

    Young Harry Burn was the youngest member of the legislature, a 24-year old from East Tennessee. He was planning to stand with his party and vote against suffrage, but on the final morning of the vote he received a note from his mother, Phoebe Ensminger Burn: “Hurrah, and vote for suffrage! Don’t keep them in doubt. I notice some of the speeches against. They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet…. be a good boy and help [Carrie Chapman] Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification…”

    After voting for ratification, Harry fled the chamber and hid for hours, fearing that the anti-suffragist lawmakers would “rough him up,” but despite those fears, he had said, like Robert, ““To hell with the party!/I stand with my mother for right!””

    Comment by Amy T — February 13, 2014 @ 3:12 pm

  4. Hurrah for Harry! That’s the best story I’ve heard today, Amy, and today I’ve heard quite a few!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 13, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

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