Friday, April 28, 2006

Neither Heroes Nor Villains

Following up on a story from last February:

The governor of Montana has agreed to pardon nearly eighty men and women convicted of sedition in 1918 and 1919. University of Montana students mounted the Montana Sedition Project last year seeking posthumous pardons for people whose only crime was speaking their minds about World War I—and sometimes straying beyond the bounds of good taste.

A Rosebud County farmer got 8 to 16 years for making the curious remark that, “These free taxi rides given to the soldiers at Miles City were just for the purpose of getting them into private houses, so that they may have intercourse with women (meaning the wives, sisters and daughters of the citizens of Miles City) and get war babies.” [Link]
E. V. Starr was sentenced to 10-20 years for refusing to kiss the American flag, saying, "I will not kiss that thing. It might be covered with microbes."

The Project is still looking for information on the seditionists—on their lives before conviction and after—and invites comments and contributions of research. If you have one of these scapegoated scoundrels in your family tree, speak up. Or show up at the pardoning ceremony in Helena next Wednesday and tell those assembled what you think of the war in Iraq.


I think that there should be material compensation (cold hard cash) of a substantial sort to the descendants of those imprisoned, in addition to a pardon.

And we thought something like that couldn't happen here..sheesh what were they thinking!

Kudo's to the journalism students who put the project together.


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