The Charlotte News
Monday, May 27, 1940
People Expunge Slander That They Scorn Libraries
We never had much doubt about the outcome, but it was pleasant to see the tax for reopening the library adopted by what was almost a three to one majority--with a registration of nearly 14,000 interested voters.
It constitutes a decisive repudiation of the idea that the citizens of Mecklenburg were ever really in favor of making the place into an intellectual desert and a laughing-stock all around the country merely by way of saving a few dollars in taxes. What happened before was simply that most people found it unthinkable that the library could be closed, perhaps had some general suspicion that the taxes for the library were not being used as wisely as might be, did not take the trouble to register and vote, and so gave an opportunity for a small compact minority to accomplish its end.
And despite the fact that patrons have been deprived of the library services for a year, perhaps the whole affair had its uses. The people are clearly satisfied about the necessity of the tax now. And moreover, they have been made fully conscious of the library. Aware that they are paying for it, they may be even more inclined to use it than before.
It Is Strange Things They Have Fetched to Robert
The Hon. Robert Rice Reynolds, more's the pity, is plainly growing old.
In the Senate Wednesday he rose in grave and reverend dignity to present that body with a matter of tremendous import.
Madam Magda Lupescu, more than Platonic pal to King Carol of Rumania, it appeared, had arrived in Paris on her way to the United States. Robert had it there in black and white in a dispatch from the French capital. And Robert--Robert had been calling up the State Department to demand angrily how she got a visa (though it was quite plain that she had got it under the regular Rumanian quota, which is never used up in any year), and now he was just going to ask the Senate to do something about it when Senator Barkley rudely interrupted him and cut him off for the day.
Why Robert wanted something done about it is not clear. In the dispatch which he read to the Senate, there were only three possible charges listed against her: (1) playing mistress to a king in her past; (2) being a Jewess; and (3) having recently refused to accede to Adolf Hitler's request to use her influence to make Carol put Rumania under his (Adolf's) "protection."
But it is not with that we are concerned. What troubles us is that only a few short, swift years ago, if we had been asked to describe Robert's reaction to the news that the beauteous Magda was en route to these shores, we should probably have said that he'd meet her at the boat with a brass band and case of champagne and have himself photographed kissing her welcome--always provided, of course, the lady was willing.
Truly, "we spend our days as a tale that is told," and "man that is born of woman is of few days, and full of trouble." And the first case of Robert, we sadly opine, was better than the last--not only for Robert but for all of us.
Which Probably Comes to a New Nazi Propaganda Move
It is far from impossible that the Nazi "warning" contains real danger to the President Roosevelt, now bound for Galway to pick up United States citizens who want to leave the British islands.
Not from Britain, of course. It is plain enough now who got the Athenia. It was always unthinkable, indeed, that the British had done anything so atrocious. In all their long history there was nothing so cunningly cold-blooded, and on the sea their tradition had been chivalrous and gallant.
But we knew from the last war that calm murder of innocents on the high seas was characteristically German. And as time has gone, everything that has happened has made the case clearer.
The cold, deliberate bombing and machine-gunning of helpless refugees on the roads of Belgium and France--as reported by the Red Cross--is exactly of a piece with the sinking of the Athenia, of the Roosevelt if the Nazis choose.
To disguise a Nazi submarine as a Britisher, to sink the Roosevelt where some of the passengers and crew would be sure to survive, to rise to the surface and shell her, with markings, silhouette and officers, dressed as Britishers, plainly visible, so that what the rescued reported would seem to fasten the blame squarely on the English--that is a piece of work exactly to the Nazi taste.
However, it has its dangers--one of which is that all hard-headed Americans would have no doubt who actually committed the crime. And so it is perhaps more likely that what this "warning" comes to is a new move on the propaganda front.
There are many innocent people in this country who have been so played upon by a cunning propaganda against "propaganda" that they believe that the British are the only practitioners of that art, and that the only reason we are in any danger from the war is that the British are plotting to get us into it--that they are entirely capable of any villainy to achieve that end. This "warning" is new tinder for that suspicion, and is admirably calculated to divide and confuse us, to obscure the real facts, at a time when the national safety calls for unity and realism.
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