Tuesday, November 13, 1928

Shelby, N.C.

C. J. Mabry ….. President

J. Nelson Callahan ….. Business Manager

W. J. Cash ….. Managing Editor

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Site Editor's Note: Lawsy me, drum up the militia. Another lascivious movie bound to spur men to murder and mayhem with a big wet kiss has hit town… And this was still the era of silent pictures. What of the puckering to sound which would follow? "Wings", about World War I fighter pilots, won the Academy Award, the first Academy Award, for Best Picture for 1928.

Read Cash's poignant poetry imagining the hurting words of "hundreds of new Catholic fathers" on this date, a week after the defeat of Al Smith. More evidence perhaps of the writer's dreaming muse fused eventually to reality to foster, if only for a bright moment or two, a better, braver, and freer land a few decades hence? Could an eleven year-old in Brookline have picked up the spritely Irish fay? Such dreams of a democracy more wedded to its expressed ideals, though shattered temporarily by the bullets of the mouth and the gun issued from the irremediable, yet live on. Faith--the evidence of things not seen…

"Force bills" refers to those bills passed first in 1833 to enable Andrew Jackson to use the army and navy if necessary to enforce federal laws, initially tariff laws being thwarted in Charleston, and later in the wake of the Civil War, to enforce voting rights of African-Americans in the South under the Fifteenth Amendment, to bring under federal jurisdiction crimes and civil abuses involving deprivation of Constitutional rights under color of state law, the law which still exists today under 42 U.S.C. 1983, and laws to enable the President to suspend habeas corpus in times of mob violence, i.e. the anti-Klan laws. It was these laws on which President Kennedy relied in the seething summer of 1963 to mobilize the National Guard to stand by as Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach presented a federal court order for desegregation to the Elected Little Machiavellian taking his stand in the schoolhouse door at the University of Alabama, not unlike his Mugwump Democratic Southern ilk such as Senator Furnifold Simmons who rested in their graves as political molds for him and his segregationist fellows who had followed in steady succession in the South through the fifties and sixties, notably Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, Orval Faubus of Arkansas, Ross Barnett of Mississippi, and Lester Maddox of Georgia.

Note Cash's continuing bitterly sardonic and distrustful tone of the expressed good intentions by the newly elected Republican House and Senate majority in this regard--especially made distrustful by the immediately preceding Presidential campaign using religious bigotry to muster the new Republican "solid South". Cash believed that federal intervention was likely to "raise the trigger quick dander" of Southerners in any event, as it had during Reconstruction, leading to the reactionary results which followed for decades; he thus always preferred reason and articulation of progressive ideas politically and journalistically to try to educate the lesser lights of the community to engender better accord to principles of equality. Unfortunately, too few of the Southern politicians of his day felt likewise--and even fewer felt they could win in the South by such stumping when African-Americans were being systematically denied their right to vote by use of such insidious devices as the poll tax and literacy tests. Obviously, no such force bills were ever passed at that time. The first post-Reconstruction Civil Rights bill was promulgated under President Truman and the next major laws, the first broadly sweeping Civil Rights Act which applied federal jurisdiction to end segregation in all public facilities engaged in interstate commerce, after the lesser laws of 1957 and 1960, were passed under President Johnson, signed July 2, 1964, having been promulgated by President Kennedy in a memorable speech to the nation in June of the previous summer.

And yes, as Cash makes clear in this his last Moving Row, it is axiomatic, primus inter pares of prime-moving maxims, in fact, that in a democracy, when elections are held, the popular majority ruleth for the term for which the popular majority voteth.* At least so thought the populace without need for much discussion in 1928 and, at least it would seem, until recently.

*But see elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000. (Also, my plum, pay close attention to what happened next after these years where the "majority" was of an elite college of electors only. That is, look in the almanac under 1828, 1892, and 2004--that is, when we get around to that last one, that is. That of 1880 is beside the point, and the partial exception which proves the rule, as any close student of history will readily recognize without further comment.) And, as they say, "Be careful of that for which you have wished…"

By the way, Cash was right. Prohibition was repealed in short order four years later in the early months of 1933 after Franklin Roosevelt won his first landslide, defeating the miserably failed Herbert Hoover and his miserably tented, transient-inhabited Hoovervilles abounding in the land.

John J. Raskob, to whom Cash refers, was the Chairman of the Democratic Party.


A moving picture critic attacks the open-mouth kiss which usually needs the hour and a half of absurdities which makes up the average picture on the ground that it is applied indiscriminately and without feeling for the type of love supposed to be depicted. He is right, of course. To see simple idyllic lovers go into a Hollywood clinch at the end of a lyric tale is calculated to drive people of any degree of sensibility to murder and mayhem.



Destiny is an ironic dame. Tuesday, while she was dazed about the brutal business of spanking Al Smith, John J. Raskob, and the remains of embattled Democracy black and blue, she suddenly left off long enough to hand Mr. Simmons of New Bern a shot in the face, and ever since we've been whooping out approval and tearing our editorial hair in an effort to keep back the tears that want to come with our maudlin laughter.

Mr. Simmons, if you don't happen to know, is the senior Senator from North Carolina. Mr. Simmons is also the man who saved the State. Mr. Simmons makes a specialty of saving this State. Mr. Simmons lives at New Bern, in Craven County. Mr. Simmons issued a manifesto that Craven County must defeat Governor Smith. But a hardy soul or two said that Craven County was going to beat Mr. Simmons instead. Mr. Simmons made a noise like a horse laughing. But Craven County made good its boast. It voted for Al and slapped Mr. Simmons openly and boldly.

Mr. Simmons was very wroth about it. Slapping him openly and boldly has always sent offenders to the guillotine. He swore--boy, page the bishops--that he was going to have blood, that he was going to shell the town, that he was to--do something. He had a lot of people arrested. He was going to have the vote set back so that Herb could lead--Herb and Mr. Simmons. But, somehow, nothing came of it. And now Craven County is cackling, laughing out loud. We add our own gentle giggle.



This morning a hundred new Catholic fathers stand in a hundred rooms where the yellow sunlight trickles through drawn blinds to make gay patterns on the floor, where the sickly odor of ether still hangs faintly in the air, and look down into the faces of new-born sons. And this morning a hundred young Catholic fathers must muse it over bitterly, we may believe--after this fashion:

"Well, fellow, you are here. And that's that, I suppose. Presently--you'll be coming up into a great strapping jack with the glint of gold in your hair and laughter on your lips and loving in your eyes and "flowers and furs and cheeks" in your heart. They'll teach you to love a piece of bunting, I rather guess, and to hail it with cheers and with tears. Ah, well, and after that they'll give you a bayonet and teach you how to kill--and how to die. They'll not ask your permission. And they won't query your faith--then. Right freely will they concede you your duty as an American, your right to your full share of the slime and the mud and the lice and the blood and the pain. And, perhaps, it shall be your duty, your right, to lay yourself down to rot and bleach--to ironic glory.

"But, fellow, one door is closed. However great, however fine, however tall you may grow to be, you may not enter it, you may not aspire to be first among your countrymen. That is the dream you may not dream. That is a fancy that, looking down into your comic red face, I may not fashion. Not, indeed, unless I shall cast aside the faith of my race and take you down the street to be baptized by a Protestant priest. But this is a Free land, fellow, remember that. The home of the Brave, particularly the Brave, and the Free."



The General Electric Company of New York has entered into contracts with Soviet Russia involving $21,000,000 to $26,000,000. Apparently, the company has decided to waive its old claims of a million and a half dollars owed by the Czarist government and go after new business.

That is as it should be. And the sooner the government gets around to recognizing Russia the better. Indeed, it would have recognized that country long ago had anybody save the puerile Mr. Kellogg been Secretary of State. The old gentleman is apparently so afraid of Bolsheviks that he fears to enter into correspondence with them. The claim that the country has no duly constituted government is absurd. The Soviet government has lasted eleven years now and there is every sign that it will continue to prosper. Anyhow, we recognized the Czar's government. And, whatever you think about the Bolshevikis, no government could have been more offensive than that.

Moreover, the nation is doing nothing but robbing itself of valuable trade markets when it holds out for the notion that all the old debts must be paid before we will recognize the Soviet government. In fact, that is nothing but a pious excuse. We didn't blackball Germany when she repudiated her currency. Rather we engineered the deal for her. And nations of all times have repudiated debts without incurring our ill-will. It is time for pretense to end. It probably will since the Soviets began to talk in terms that America can understand--the tinkling of guineas.



Tyre C. Taylor, late chairman of the Young Men's Democratic Clubs in North Carolina, voices dire prophecies to the effect that the next Congress of the Republican Party in session assembled will enact a Force Bill to enfranchise the black brother in the South. The campaign, we surmise, has been a great strain for Mr. Taylor.

It is not unworthy of belief that Tortured Tinkham, of the Pilgrim Fathers, and Dr. Dyer, of the Missouri Black Belt, would right merrily fancy the enactment of just such a Force Bill. But there our belief in things unseen ends.

We assume that Mr. Hoover, Senator Jim Watson and others of the anointed in the Glorious Oil Pool are not altogether zanies. It is within the range of probability that these gentlemen are cognizant of the obvious fact that, right or wrong, Force Bills in the South are about as healthful for their champions and the black brother as potassium cyanide is for nursery.

We know that the Republican party has just been furnished with evidence of the truth of its high faith that this is the best of all possible worlds, that it has seen a gaudy dream of many decades, the smashing of the Solid South, come true. Four of the ten Confederate States which have remained in Rebellion since the late unpleasantness with Old Abe, have, of their own sweet will and accord, laid down arms and gone home to Abraham's bosom. Even the lurid imagination of Dr. Work pails before the splendor of that mighty happening.

We assume that the Republican party is prayerfully setting about the consolidation of these gains. It is hardly likely that Mr. Hoover and his cohorts want to commit political suicide, to re-unite the Democratic Party and the South forever and ever--without end. Yes, it is likely that Tinky and Dyer want their fun. It is even possible that a Force Bill might pass the House and the Senate. But it would be passed in mourning and lamentation. It would be passed only because the gentlemen of the ensemble would not dare offend the colored brethren in their Northern districts. It will never be. Dr. Hoover will speak to his henchmen, Mr. Watson, and Mr. Watson will speak to his faithful serving men on committees. Thereafter, Tinky and Dyer may introduce Force Bills to their hearts content--they will never be reported out.

Indeed, it now appears that the black brother is to be kicked overboard and his political head held underwater until he drowns. Mr. Hoover has already announced his intention of making the Republican party in the South "lily white." He also announces a murderous intention to make the party machinery in the South something besides an aggregation of office-holding hungry-boys. If he succeeds in that major operation--he will deserve the thanks of Southerners, regardless of party affiliation, if any. But the squeals and curses attendant upon the surgical procedure are going, we fear, to be truly harrowing.



"We are no more than a moving row
of fantastic shapes that come and go."


Is the issue of Prohibition settled by the defeat of Al Smith?

The Anti-Saloon League says it is. Dr. Clarence True Wilson, of the Methodist (Northern) Board of Temperance and Public Morals says it is. Josephus Daniels says it is. With all due respect, I beg to doubt it.

Consider the evidence. Mr. Smith's defeat is overwhelming only in terms of the electoral college. He loses 40 states, but he loses most of the them by apparently small margins. In terms of popular vote, his defeat is emphatically not overwhelming. 17,000,000 voters cast their ballots for him.

Now, the League, Dr. Wilson, and Mr. Daniels would have it that each of the 21,000,000 to 22,000,000 votes given Mr. Hoover is an endorsement of Prohibition. By the same sort of logic, each of the 18, 000,000 cast for Governor Smith is a vote against Prohibition. If that be true, then full forty percent of the American people are unalterably opposed to Prohibition. Would it be possible to ever enforce a law with such an opposition? And what of the morality of a majority of 22,000,000 forcing its views down the throat of a minority and 18,000,000? Majority rule is necessary in Government, but is it even defensible in matters of social and moral content?

Of course, the whole supposition upon which the claim is made is silly. 22,000,000 did not vote for Prohibition. Neither did 18,000,000 vote against it. The simple truth is that Governor Smith's effort to make Prohibition the issue of the campaign failed. In the North Mr. Hughes, the newspapers, told people that Governor Smith could do nothing about Prohibition--convinced many of them. In the South, Mr. Daniels and other politicians told people that Mr. Smith could do nothing about Prohibition--convinced many of them. The result is obvious: millions of confirmed opponents of Prohibition marched to the polls and cast their votes for Mr. Hoover; and, by the same token, millions of ardent Prohibitionists marched to the polls and voted for Governor Smith.

Governor Smith's mistake lay in his assumption that Prohibition is the prime question in the mind of the average American, in the belief that it so burns the man in the street as to obliterate party lines. That is untrue. Quite possibly, it might be so--if the average man found his drinking habits actively interfered with. But, as things are just now, the man who is thirsty has no trouble in satisfying it--and the professional Prohibitionists have the laws. That is a very comfortable state of affairs to the average man. So he dismisses Prohibition as of no importance. The things he conceived to be of the greatest importance of the campaign were two: first, material prosperity, a thing which rightly or wrongly represents the highest ideal of America; and, secondly, the religious question.

These two explain everything that happened Tuesday. Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Baltimore, overwhelmingly wet centers, are found in the Hoover column because of "prosperity." North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kentucky, Nebraska are found there because the tremendous force of Democratic or Progressive tradition was over-run by an greater force, religious prejudice. There were two who voted against Smith because of Prohibition, because of immigration, because of this and that, but no one who has taken the trouble to know the mind of the people, who is without bias, can doubt that the result would have been otherwise in the states named had Governor Smith been a Protestant.

On one point, the League, Dr. Wilson, and Mr. Daniels, on the one hand, and Governor Smith, on the other, make diametrically opposite mistakes. It is the fallacy of the Prohibition forces that because they assume their cause to be moral, their opponents are immoral, that anti-Prohibition forces are made up of the thirsty souls, of beer barons, and decadents. There are, of course, some distillers who would pay out good money to abolish Prohibition. There are, too, some thirsty souls who are very noisy. But the bulk of the active opposition to Prohibition comes from a very high order of men--men, indeed, of the unusual intelligence necessary to comprehension of Liberty in the abstract. Rightly or wrongly, they believe that Prohibition repudiates the whole theory of the Constitution, of the Rights of Man. They insist that there can be no Freedom without choice. Governor Smith is that sort of man. So we believe, is the much maligned John J. Raskob. Both made the mistake of attributing their own clear-cut, logical sentiments to the mass which has a yeasty, vague resentment against Prohibition.

So I don't think the Prohibition question is settled. I think those men who have been fighting it will redouble their efforts. Moreover, I think present conditions are intolerable to any man who is given to thinking or being honest with himself. We must have Prohibition, in fact, or we must make the laws correspond to what we are willing to do. In the matter of Liberty, the people ought to be given the facts. Prohibitionists ought to lay their cards on the table and say: "we maintain that by giving up so much of your Liberty, you will gain this and that." The danger of the precedent ought to be admitted and the objection met, if it can be. Then, there ought to be a referendum. If the people choose Prohibition with all the facts, the matter is ended. It is their right. If they repudiate it, then the matter is ended. That also is their right. To argue otherwise is to make Prohibition greater than Democracy.

In actual fact, the reaction of the people to Prohibition can never be clear until we begin to have genuine effort at enforcement. When it has been made possible or extremely difficult to the average man to get liquors, then we shall begin to discover whether or not he is actually willing to deprive himself of them. Abstractions mean nothing to him. It is, therefore, my hope that Mr. Hoover's admitted ability will be directed, first of all, at the problem of securing enforcement. That, of course, means that he must take it from the hands of the Old Gentleman from Pittsburgh.

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