The Charlotte News

Saturday, November 16, 1940



The Miracle

A Motorist Finds Out Why He Makes Easy Progress

They had done something to the traffic lights--that was plain to the car driver. One after the other he zipped through them without having to put on the brakes, come to a stop, start off again in first and work up to high only to stop again after a line plunge of about 15 yards.

He kicked off the blocks, sedately yet with a dispatch that put him in good humor. No interruptions to his progress. No jams. Only a smooth, safe journey.

Somebody, he opined to himself, must have decided the traffic lights were meant to facilitate rather than to impede the movement of vehicles on the streets. Somebody down at City Hall must have a good practical head on him. Maybe it was that they had turned over the timing of the control system to somebody who knew about traffic, or perhaps they had relieved the Central Traffic Authority, Mr. Skinner, of his other and preoccupying duties as City Building Inspector.

At any rate, whatever they had done, the improvement was noticeable. But, alas! It wasn't until he got home that night that he found out what had really happened. The headline in his evening paper told him:



On the Program

Time Has Come for Labor To Deal With Racketeering

Anne Lindbergh would probably excuse it and grow lyrically mystic over it, whispering that it was borne in on the wave of the future. But the cold fact remains that racketeering and organized labor is not to be tolerated anymore than racketeering by any individual gangs.

Although the rank and file of organized labor undoubtedly feel about racketeering exactly as does any respectable but unorganized citizen, neither they nor their high labor moguls have done anything about it.

There isn't much the little fellows could do. The big shots have first denied its existence and then lamely disclaim jurisdiction over it.

Nor has the Federal Government manifested the slightest interest. That New Deal has set out to obtain and to guarantee labor its rights. The counter obligations that accompany those rights have not yet even been defined, much less codified into law or practice.

Only crusty, crook-hating Westbrook Pegler, for all his congenital antipathy to unionism, and the crusading young District Attorney Tom Dewey have dared attack this vicious criminal element in labor, the one by exposing it, the other by prosecution. Whether or not their lone campaigns have impressed labor with the critical importance of eliminating racketeering will be determined next week when the two big labor associations, AFL and CIO, hold their annual conventions. Meantime, it is encouraging to hear from John P. Frey, vice president of the AFL and a man whose star is rising, that--

"The time has come when our position should be made clear, definite and emphatic so that our trade union membership and the public will know that we are determined to prevent any form of racketeering."


In Conscience

However Honest and Brave, This Act Was Intolerable

The case of the eight theological students sentenced in New York to a year in prison for failure to register for the draft presents a nice problem.

Nobody supposes these men to be criminals in any ordinary sense. Nor that they are cowards. As theological students, they would have been exempt from active fighting service, and it is not likely that they would have been called into the army in any capacity.

The easiest course for them would have been to have gone ahead, registered and claimed exemption. But they thought the law wrong, chose the method of openly defying it as a means of emphasizing their position. That establishes them as men of integrity and high moral courage. And it seems a shame that men should have to go to jail for integrity and high moral courage.

But it is hard to see how it could have been avoided. What these men want is that Hitlerism, which proposes to destroy the very Christian faith they assert, shall be met with non-resistance, that we shall simply humbly submit to it and labor to redeem it by love. As to the merit or lack of that position we do not here presume to judge.

But one thing is quite clear: the American people as a whole do not believe that that is an effective way of dealing with Hitlerism. The adoption of the draft, as a result of overwhelming popular demand, establishes as much.

Yet if the theological students had been allowed to defy the law with impunity merely because they were actuated by integrity and moral courage, their example might have communicated itself to many thousands who possess neither integrity nor courage of any sort--might have wrecked the draft. And the right of conscience and belief certainly does not extend to the point of defeating the will of the American people and exposing them to a tyranny they are determined to resist.


An Omission

If We Are To Feed Europe, Why Leave Out France?

Herbert Hoover pretty well cuts the ground out from under his own feet when he specifically eliminates France from his scheme for feeding Europe this Winter. If our duties in the case are as plain and unmistakable as he says they are, then they certainly extend to France. And on the basis of sentiment, the French have perhaps the strongest claim of all upon us.

The picture he painted last night in his address from Vassar is the same one he paints in the current issue of Collier's magazine. It is a heartbreaking one. And there is every reason to suppose that he knows what he is talking about and is not exaggerating. Not much, anyhow.

Perhaps fifteen million people will not actually starve to death in Belgium, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Spain this Winter, but great numbers will, nevertheless. And millions more will be left with sick and stunted bodies for the rest of their lives.

Nobody who isn't a brute objects to aid for these people if it can be accomplished without aiding the monstrous dream of Adolf Hitler. But millions of Americans do feel profoundly that as between death even for millions and the permanent subjection of these nations to the Berlin slave system, death is the more merciful alternative.

Mr. Hoover feels a confidence in the Nazi word beyond that of his fellow countrymen, outside of such pro-Nazi appeasers as his former Under Secretary of State, William R. Castle. Nor do they share his confidence that the Nazis will not find ways to lay hands on the food in spite of safeguards. The sway of organized terror over the people who will be supposed to get this food makes anything possible.

In any case, the decision is plainly one for Great Britain. She has no more desire to starve her late Allies than we have. And she is in the best position to judge as to whether they can be fed without aiding Hitler. Meantime, Mr. Hoover's proposal will have to be put down as well-meaning but hardly practicable.


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