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September 3rd, 2009:

The Pay-Toilet Address

Automatic ToiletI wrote this as a memorial on the 18 month anniversary of the new pay toilet installed in Madison Square Park. It is one of two pay toilets that have been installed in New York by a Spanish company seeking to undermine the right to pee for free that was hard won by the Committee to End Pay Toilets In America over 30 years ago. Thankfully, plans to install 18 more pay toilets have stalled.

One score and fourteen years ago, great patriots brought forth in this Nation, a new right, conceived of necessity, and dedicated to the proposition that all men should be able to pee for free.

Now we are engaged in a great public struggle, testing whether that right, or any right so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. Here in New York, at Madison Square Park, is the latest battlefield of that struggle. It is fitting that when we look at the new pay toilet erected here, we remember those great patriots who fought so hard that we might pee for free.  It is altogether fitting and proper that we remember them in our hearts.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot give up—we cannot capitulate—we cannot leave unfinished their great struggle. The patriots of CEPTIA, living and dead, who fought here and across our Nation, have earned their place in the American cannon, far above our poor power to add or detract from their accomplishments.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we do here today, but it can never forget what CEPTIA accomplished.

It is for us of the 21st century, rather, to be dedicated again to the unfinished work which they who fought to end pay toilets years ago so nobly advanced. It is up to us to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that despite the recent setbacks we have suffered, we take increased devotion to the cause for which the patriots in CEPTIA gave their full devotion—that we highly resolve that the struggle to banish pay toilets from America shall not go unfinished—that this Nation, under God, shall have a new constitutional amendment banning pay toilets in all their forms—and that the right of all the people, rich and poor, to pee for free, shall not perish from this earth.

(Hat tip, Gothamist)

Previous topics mentioned in this post:

€1. Pay toilets


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