The Charlotte News

Sunday, October 13, 1940



Site Ed. Note: See also of this date the by-lined piece, "Inter-Office Memos: Willkie or Roosevelt?", a debate in print between Cash, taking the affirmative for Roosevelt, and J. E. Dowd, opposing for Willkie.

Dusty Answer*

Hot for Certainty, The News Confesses to Uncertainty

The long, informal and wholly candid exchange between the conductors of this editorial page of their views on the Presidential candidates (see the columns east of here) naturally brings up the question of where The News stands. Is it for Roosevelt, or is it for Willkie?

There's a fair question, and it shall have a frank answer. But first a word might be in order as to how decisions of this newspaper's policy are reached, its stand on public questions determined.

It is astonishing how rarely, if ever, it becomes necessary to consult for the purpose of officially deciding that the newspaper shall take this attitude or that attitude. Nearly everything quickly resolves itself into stark outlines of truth or falsity, goodness or badness, supportability or insupportability. Upon such matters, men of good instinct know where they stand without wasting time in conference.

Then, too, the independence of The News of any political party or organized interest is accompanied by an unusual freedom for its editors. The only limitation upon them is their own discretion and sense of responsibility to the newspaper as a whole. This tolerance enables them to be outspoken, but the credit for that belongs not so much to the Ivory Tower as to Downstairs, and is hereby acknowledged.

Formulation of policy for The News, then, comes down in practice to ready agreement between its editors. It is the exceptional case when they cannot agree, although there are times when, in the lack of omniscience and beset by perplexity, they wonder in uncertainty.

And is The News for Roosevelt or Willkie? It does not know, even so near the day. Agreeing that much about the last eight years is lamentable, considerations of the next few months deter it from setting up to say, positively and with false show of confidence, which man would be better for the country. Immediately, about all it can promise with certainty is that it will be the decision of the whole people in good faith, good hope and confidence.


Restless Wait

Our Nerves Grow Edgy for Their Robert's Report

Robert Rice Reynolds, the travelingest man who ever cooled his heel on a Capital Heel desk and North Carolina's proud answer to snooty people who have sometimes thought her a little provincial, has gone a-galavanting again, we see by the papers. This time far down under the equator to Buenos Aires. And we can hardly make up our minds to wait until the great Tar Heel statesmen and observer gets back and gives us the benefit of his masterful investigation at first hand.

Last time he went off on a really big swing he came back to tell Tar Heels and a breathless America that Adolf Hitler was a pretty good sort, and that we would do well to imitate him in a lot of respects--and that positively there was not going to be a war.

And another time before that he came back to tell us that island possessions in the Caribbean were an Old Man of the Mountain, and immediately made that a basis for proposing that we grab England's possessions in this hemisphere as payment for war debts, and bother such a small thing as possible war with her over it.

No doubt the report he will bring back this time will be quite as wonderful and as illuminating and as valuable. An immensely cheap at ten thousand smackers a year, plus clerk hire, mileage, et cetera, et cetera.


Free Nation

Draft Reminds the Senecas Of Their Ancient Rights

The draft has already turned up a nation which is formally at war with United States--the Seminoles in the Everglades of Florida. Apparently there will be no trouble about the Seminoles registering, however

And now in New York state it turns up an independent nation--the Seneca Indians. Moreover, President Wilfred Crouse, of the Senecas, has devised to advise his tribesmen that they are not bound to register. The old treaties, never superseded, with the state formally recognized the independence of the nation forever.

The Indian Bureau up that way is trying to get around the difficulty by arguing that the Indians sometime ago excepted citizenship in the state of New York and the United States, and so must accept all obligations of Americans generally.

But it is far from sure that that argument can be made to stick. Citizenship in one country does not always prohibit it in another, and there are instances where people have actually held it in two. All the descendants of Lafayette, including the Marquis de Chambrun, who cast the single vote against the Petain regime in the dying French Assembly, are by law citizens of Maryland, and so citizens of the United States. Yet nobody supposes the United States can draft them.

Nobody, however, needs to get excited. President Crouse spoke only for the record. And in fact the Senecas are expected to register and perhaps even volunteer en masse. They are noted for their loyalty to the United States. Still, they like that old "free nation" tradition of their fathers.


Street Scene*

Portrait of a Cop on a Busy Night at the Square

The time was 10:25 Friday night. The place was Independence Square. The traffic was heavy. The crowds from the Vincent Sheean lecture and the high school football game were impatient to get home.

Two people started to cross the street from the Liggett corner to the Independence Building corner. When they were halfway the light changed. They stood carefully in the middle as the cars swept on their way. From South Tryon Street a small automobile bore down rapidly upon them. It gave every sign of being bound to run them down. They watched it nervously and somewhat desperately. There was no backing out of its path, and there was no going forward. They were caught.

It came on, gathering speed. The two people cowered. It was upon them now. But at the last moment it swerved barely enough to clear them, setting the woman's coat to flying against the car dangerously. And as it passed, a youth--drunk, perhaps--leaned out and shrieked wildly in their ears. The woman jumped nervously. The small automobile sped away.

They waited for the policeman's whistles to halt it. There was no sound. They looked around for the cop himself. But there was none in sight. It seemed incredible that there should not be one at the principal intersection in the city on a busy night, and so they looked further. Sure enough, there was one.

Eventually they found him parked of the rail around the shoe-shine stand some 50 feet east of the southeast corner. Swapping stories with some of his cronies, oblivious of the traffic on the Square. They got his name. But it is not set down here. He is no worse and no better than his fellows, who are themselves simply the reflection of what they have been taught and not been taught by their superiors.


Familiar Sport

Something That Is Clear to Us About the Coal Act

The Committee for Amendment of the Coal Act, an organization of coal operators which says it represents 40 per cent of the industry, assures us that price-control is all very wicked and that it is going to cost consumers from $44,000,000 to $60,000,000 annually.

About that we don't know. But something else about the new coal schedule, said to go into effect Oct. 1, seems a bit clearer to us.

The making of the schedule, as we duly noted at the time, began three years ago.

Sometimes we heard news that the Coal Commission was busy settling disputes as to who rated the handsomest desk or the finest spittoon. And sometimes we even were told that the coal schedule was about to descend upon us. But somehow it never came true.

Now, however, it seems to be genuinely ready--three years afterward. Just, that is, as the Committee for Amendment of the Coal Act thoughtfully informs us in its disinterested way, six months before the coal act expires!

What was clear to us was that this is exactly what, in are innocent childhood, we used to call Ring-around-Rosy.

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