Wednesday, September 8, 2010

In 1963 Young College Student Lauralee Trainor won Hearts and Minds with her Temperance Oration "The Flaw"

Each year the American Temperance Society conducts a national oratorical contest for Adventist college students in North America. When this year's finalists met at Walla Walla College April 20, Lauralee Trainor, of Pacific Union College, took top honors with her oration—
DO YOU feel like a group of VIP's today? Well, whether you feel like it nor not, you are. Yes, you youth are Very Important Persons. For proof of your importance, stop sometime and look about you. You go to a school that was placed there for just one purpose—to supply youth with an education designed to assure high moral courage and lofty ideals.
Yet another indication of the importance of young people is found on a sign at the entrance to my home town. It reads, "Drive carefully; we love our children." Today we find a nation whose chief interest is centered in its youth. Teachers, preachers, parents, and all society are cooperating to bring up a generation of intelligent and high-minded citizens in whose hands the safety of this republic will be secure.

Now there is one further proof of your importance—prohibition! Does that statement startle you? Yes, today we have prohibition, and how fortunate we are to have it! Can you imagine the type of propaganda we would be subjected to if it weren't for prohibition?

Imagine seeing this on a billboard: "Hemp tips taste good like marijuana should. Just one puff will have you up in the clouds." Or hearing this on the radio: "To get that hopped-up feeling use Bennie's Benzedrine, in easy-to-take capsule form." Or seeing this on television: "Ladies of discretion use Milady's Morphine. Inject just a few drops daily for that glow-all-over feeling." Or think of picking up the telephone and hearing this party-line conversation: "My dear, did you hear the latest? They're having a special at Dooley's drugstore this week. If you buy a thirty-day supply of heroin, you get a Super-Duper Main-Line hypodermic needle free!"

You see, we really do have prohibition. That is, unlicensed sale of heroin, marijuana, morphine, and other narcotic drugs is prohibited. For the protection of her youth, America has built a wall of prohibitory law, a wall to prohibit what would harm and undermine the character of her young people. And to this wall of protection she has added schools, churches, and recreation centers, to assure proper physical and social development of her youth. The wall is being built higher and higher, stronger and stronger, and it would seem that this nation is sincere when it proclaims the high value it places on youth and its desire to safeguard them in every way possible.

But I must point out that this seemingly flawless wall has a disastrous hole in it. And because of this one flaw, the entire wall is of small avail. Through this hole flows a dangerous and subtle narcotic, a drug that numbers among its countless victims many of the youth of our land. This menace that we see advertised every day is alcohol. Alcohol is a narcotic, and a narcotic that may be bought without license or prescription. And because this poison flows freely through our wall of protection, there is misery, disease, delinquency, and crime.

For every sign proclaiming "We love our children" there are hundreds of billboards advertising intoxicating liquors. For every church that teaches abstinence and clean living, there are hundreds of taverns and other drinking places that mean danger to youth. For every classroom lesson on the effects of alcohol, there are hundreds of magazines, newspapers, radio, and television ads saying, Drink! Drink! Drink! For every flaming protest against its ravages, there is a law on the statute books saying it is legal to produce it, it is legal to transport it, it is legal to sell it.

Today I ask the adult members of society and the leaders of our country, who seem so eager to build a protective wall so that you may grow up strong of limb and clear of mind, "What do you plan to do about the hole in the wall? Will you sit supinely by and see this work of destruction and deterioration go boldly on?"

What will be the attitude of the church and of Christian people toward this frightening situation? Shall we say we have tried to prohibit liquor, but it will not stay prohibited? Shall we say that we have tried to regulate liquor, but it will not be regulated? Shall we say we have tried moderation, but liquor will not be moderated? Shall we say that we have tried persuasion, but the liquor drinker and the liquor seller will not be persuaded? Shall we say that we might as well quit?

If I had a more convincing voice and could reach every ear in America, I would send out a call today—not alone to the youth but to the fathers and mothers who should care the most but who need to be awakened. I would warn them of this enemy who today is boldly, menacingly, laying hold on the homes of this nation.

And to all those who are striving to seal the hole in this wall of protection, I would say, Live—live so that youth can see in you a constant example of right. Teach—teach so that youth will know the evils of alcohol and the wholesome benefit of clean Christian living. And finally, fight—fight as you never have fought before, to mend this hole in the wall and stop the flow of this deadly narcotic! Follow this procedure, and I sincerely believe that with the help of God you can save our youth—and you can save America.   -Review and Herald, May 23, 1963