THE CLEVELAND PRESS
THE SHELBY PUBLISHING COMPANY
Tuesday, October 16, 1928
C. J. Mabry ….. President
J. Nelson Callahan ….. Business Manager
W. J. Cash ….. Managing Editor
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Site Editor's Note: The piece below which Cash culled from The Richmond-Times Dispatch suggests the inveigling afoot on both sides of the tangled web which became the campaign of 1928. On the one hand, Republicans used appeals to phony--and never realized--suggestions that a vote for Hoover would mean the undoing of Southern power-grids on segregation, while at the same time playing on fears that a Catholic President might create Vatican rule in the United States. On the other, some quite progressive Democratic publications, like that of Richmond, would attempt to use a form of good Southern irony to relate the story of the Republican charm to its readers in the hope of playing on the worst fears of the segregationists and thereby retain them in the Democratic fold to elect the Liberal Smith. The Richmond Times-Dispatch, as Cash points out in The Mind of the South, became one of the most progressive newspapers in the South under the editorship of Virginius Dabney; despite the appearance of the below article's apparent loathing of federal anti-lynching laws, the Times-Dispatch in an "unusually courageous sort of journalism" which "dared to flout the tradition of its milieu" campaigned against the poll tax law in Virginia and, in 1938, became one of the few Southern newspapers to support the Wagner-Van Nuys federal anti-lynching law. (Mind of the South, Book III, Section 9, p. 373 of 1941 ed.) Cash reviled the lynchers and editorialized against them at the risk of his own neck (see for instance "I Propose A Lodge", The Charlotte News March 28, 1928; "The Mind of the South", American Mercury, October, 1929; and "North Carolina Faces the Facts", from The Baltimore Sun, August 29, 1935); but Cash nevertheless believed that the notion of a federal law might "rouse [the South's] trigger-quick dander, always so allergic to the fear of Federal coercion, and so tend to increase rather than suppress the practice". (The Mind of the South, p. 373) Indeed, the same tendencies of the South to distrust federal controls exist today, witness the heightened debate persistent in the South over abortion and school prayer, issues decided by the Supreme Court three decades ago, and the vehement, often violent, resistance to desegregation of schools and public facilities, and then busing, in the Fifties through the early Seventies. Yet, with local prosecutors and judges in the South being subject to the political winds and sheeted knights of the day, and often completely sympathetic with them, there seemed little choice but to make lynching a federal crime placing it under the jurisdiction of federal courts to increase at least the frequency of prosecution, if not conviction.
Cash's own piece comparing the virtues and vices of then Secretary of State Hoover to that of Smith demonstrates an advanced feeling for the underdog beyond his immediate view, the poor and economically exploited of what we now call "underdeveloped countries", which few would have given more than a passing thought to until the advanced age of television forced the pictures into our living rooms sometime around the 1970's, nay, which most appear not to give more than a passing thought to even today. How about those cheap sneakers we are wearing made by someone earning 80 cents a day in Taiwan or Indonesia? And those cheap auto parts from Mexico and Brazil? They are glad to have the job, we rationalize. It's well to think and read and consider. (See also Cash's piece of November 16, 1928, "Mr. Hoover's Trip", for the same theme.)
And football, under the early English law, was forbidden. We gather that Wake Forest is under the early English law.
Frank Sullivan says Mr. Hoover counts two of the Southern States--meaning North Carolina and Virginia--as likely to be his. Not if they vote like they cheer. The Charlotte Observer admits there were 50,000 in that city to see Al, and the News and Observer boasts that there were 100,000 in Raleigh.
* * * * * *
IF THE SOLID SOUTH BREAKS
(from The Richmond-Times Dispatch)
Predictions as to the social and political consequences of a Republican victory in Virginia vary with the political belief of the prophets. The so-called Hoover Democrats interested primarily in defeating one presidential candidate, rather than in electing the other, are disposed to minimize the local significance of a G.O.P. victory in this State. Republicans reaffirm their conviction that Virginia, freed of the poisonous Democratic machine, would finally amount to something. And the Democratic leaders, reading their histories, are entirely confident that nothing short of the bubonic plague could do the State as much harm as a Republican triumph.
Speculation on the possible consequences of a break in the solid South are not confined to the area affected. Our prophets, viewing the battle from afar, have their own very definite ideas of what would transpire if the determined effort to break the ranks were to succeed. One commentation of more than passing importance is Congressman I. C. Dyer, Republican, of Missouri, author of the celebrated anti-lynching bill which was talked to death by unyielding Southern Senators of the Democratic persuasion.
"After the solid South has been blown to pieces by Engineer Hoover, our next President," predicts Mr. Dyer, "that will be the finish of the nullificationists of the South, who have for 60 years violated the fourteenth and fifteenth amendments. Then Congress will enact enforcement laws that will give millions of Negroes their constitutional rights as citizens and place them on equality with all other races."
It will be noted that Mr. Dyer, referring to "nullificationists," did not mean the scofflaw variety. "My views on Prohibition are not in accord with those of Herbert Hoover," he says, "but Mr. Hoover's stand on Prohibition has captured the imagination of the ardent Democratic drys of the South to such an extent that they have forgotten about democracy and have declared for Hoover and Curtis and they cannot be side-stepped; Hoover has their votes bagged. Who was it who mistakenly said that Herbert Hoover is not a good politician? November 6 that great engineer-politician with the votes of the prohibitionists and those swayed because of the religious question in the campaign, will drive such a thick wedge through the heart of the solid South and their white supremacy slogan that it will blow up their whole unconstitutional program."
These are the views of Representative Dyer. Of course he may be wrong, but it will require considerable hardihood for many thoughtful Southerners to gamble even with the remote possibility of losing such a stake. The Congressman is right, of course, in attributing to Southern Democrats the defeat of his iniquitous Federal anti-lynching bill; would be equally right in recalling that Southern Democrats also defeated, by virtue of their fiery convictions and their lung power the even more vicious force bill. As long as Republican majorities in Congress continue to regard such legislation with favor, the South would do well to remain solid. --Richmond Times-Dispatch.
* * * * * *
Simmons, seeing his castles tumbling, seeing himself about to be relegated to the oblivion which he so richly deserves, comes from under cover, grasps the McNinch flag, postures a la Quixote and has at windmills.
Here is the windmill of "Smith repudiation," the fantastic fabrication that the enforcement plank in the Houston platform is the declaration for perpetual Prohibition and that Smith has defied it. Actually it is no windmill but the dead ghost of one which the Little Man from New Bern has conjured from the cobwebs of last August. Actually there is the word of Key Pittman, chairman of the committee which framed the plank, that it was deliberately made to meet Smith's position as set forth in every newspaper in America on Monday of convention week. Well, the Little Man from New Bern understands that.
Here is the "liquor referendum" windmill, the astonishing, frantic-armed bogey-man fashioned by the Anti-Saloon League and the raving bishops. Actually it is no wind mill at all but a wraith picked out of the rabbit-box of last September by the Magic-Man from New Bern. Actually, there will be no referendum on liquor. Well, the Little Man from New Bern understands that.
And why does the Little Man understand so well? Observe the dragon, the dragon of religious hatred, which he pats on the head, and hides behind him. Why does not the Little Man slay the dragon instead of hiding it and saying that it does not exist? The Little Man finds the dragon very useful.
Well, then, why does the Little Man play at swords with windmills that he knows are only ghosts, that he knows are not there? The Little Man is an actor, a medicine-man. He wants to make the people think they are there, that they are very bad, wicked windmills with long arms that chew up villages for Cannibal Smith. If he can make the people think that and can make them believe that he slew the bad wicked windmills, why then the people might agree to come back under the his yoke and take orders from him again. He is very fond of giving orders.
The Little Man modestly admits his heroism. He points with a grand gesture to his weeping on the floor of the Senate last May "because they are trying to destroying me." Only now "me" has become Jefferson, Jackson, Cleveland, Bryan, and Wilson. The Little Man is very much addicted to taking the name of Mr. Jefferson in vain.
Everybody who sees the dragon behind the Little Man is a hypocrite. Everybody who believes that the windmills aren't there because the dragon has eaten them up is a coward and a liar. That's what the Little Man says.
But the Little Man says never a word about the kind of coward whose real objection to Cannibal Smith is Smith's believe that power and power sites properly belong to the people, the kind of coward whose real objection is that but who won't say so. And that is a curious omission on the part of the Little Man from New Burn.
* * * * * *
THE HOOVER POLICY
One of the most exquisitely absurd arguments of this campaign is that one of the Lord Hoover as the only man who may be trusted with the handling of foreign affairs because forsooth he is the only man with a policy. Why, my dear, Mr. Hoover knows all the crowned heads of the wide wor-u-l-d? You've heard that crooned by the female dragoon with the Kansas voice to her Chicago-throated companion in those lovely little radio skits? And for Governor Smith, the Kansas acid comes up strong--well, do we want a Pres-e-dent --who thinks that--the Bronze and Ambrose Lightship are the outposts of the Universe?
It is perfectly correct to say that Mr. Hoover is the only man with a policy. But we have it on his own word that it is the policy of the Coolidge Administration, of the beatific St. Calvin of the Snows. And what is that? Absurd naval conferences that have come to naught, can come to nothing but naught. Nicaragua. Now Liberia. A futile treaty designed to end war (sic) which allows each signatory nation to decide for itself what constitutes defense. And no nation ever yet lifted the sword without pious mouthings about defense and "the glory of God." A clumsy old gentleman who sees every berry bush as a Bolshevik and fails to see the chicanery of English and French Tories as Secretary of State. Imperialism of the baldest sort. The carting off of the mahogany resources of a weak people--without even the bother of annexing them. When we are through, the Dirty Spigs may have their waste lands back. Since August we've been holding a fair (sic) election down there, but somehow the Little Brown man will vote for the mahogany company and sweetness and light, in spite of Marines, bayonets and all.
Futility. Inanity. Stupidity. A morality of Might. That is the sum total of the Coolidge policies which Mr. Hoover proposes to continue. Little wonder then that, with England facing the fact that the next decade is heavy with the possibility of a war with the United States, such widely differing sheets as the London Times and the Manchester Guardian view what they assume to be the assured election of Hoover with open concern. A bit more stupidity, a bit more blundering, a bit more of the Coolidge policies, and the madness that is war will be loosed again.
In the name of Heaven, who wants that sort of policy? Only the few who wax fat from it surely. For ourselves, we prefer a gentleman who doesn't pretend to know everything on earth, who isn't acquainted with all the crowned heads of the wor-u-l-d, who isn't bound to make absurd gestures, to serve those who sponsor imperialism for their purses' sake, but who enters the office of President with the spirit of a Humanist, of a Liberal, who measures war in terms of the Laughter and the Love stilled, in terms of rotting colloids and human anguish, not in those of shells bought and sold, markets gained and lost, and shady concessions bought with tyranny.
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