The Charlotte News
Sunday, November 19, 1939
Site Ed. Note: Duuuh. Mr. Ca-ashe, what's you think, A'm stupit?
And what's that? President McNutt? Mr. Ca-ashe? Was you at that press conference ya'self? Why, A read somewhere you was falling down drunk. And A believe what A read.
War In A Thimble
Slavery In The South Was Settled 75 Years Ago
Whatever else he may be, England's strong boy, the Rt. Hon. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, is plainly not the wise and cunning serpent of propaganda that for years we have been taught to expect all Englishmen to be. Else he'd never made that speech over the radio in which he said:
"England may take good heart (in the present war) from the American Civil War when all the heroism of the South could not redeem their cause from the stain of slavery..."
If he had known his propaganda, he'd have known he was stepping squarely into a hornet's nest which would be anything else than pasive under the shock. He knows it now, for with the storm buzzing across the Atlantic, he has hastened to assure Mrs. Gerald M. Clarke, a militant champion of the South from Jacksonville, who wrote him a letter demanding an apology, that he really meant no harm, and certainly had no thought of comparing the South to Nazi Germany.
But if Mr. Churchill is shown up as a hack at propaganda, we are yet far from sure that the South comes off entirely glorious from this clash of arms. On the contrary, it leaves us fairly impatient and dispirited. One of the great curses of the South has been its excessive sensitivity to anything that even smacked of criticism--a defensive and apologetic will often carried so far that it has resented, as in this case, even casual statements of fact. There are quite understandable reasons for the development of that attitude in the first place, but those reasons long ago ceased to have any validity.
The causes that led up to the Civil War (that's what we said) were many and complex, and the North was by no means blameless, the South by no means wholly guilty of the quarrel. But there is no competent historian on the earth who would maintain that the existence of slavery was not the thing which ultimately stood at the core of the matter. And efforts to deny it merely make us ridiculous.
Slavery is an old thing and long ago, dead these 75 years, and there is no sane man or woman in the South who will not thank God that, for the South's sake, it died. Its existence in the South before the great conflict with the North can be justified on the grounds of universal human nature and historical circumstance. The fact that it died early in the North, lived on in the South, was certainly not due in the first place to superior Yankee morality but purely to considerations of geography and economics. But that does not at all change the fact that slavery cannot be justified on moral grounds, an attempt on which the South wasted its best brains for half a century before the impending crisis at last issued into battle, has gone on wasting incalculable energy ever since.
The South does not need to defend slavery as a moral proposition, or to attempt to evade the question by setting up such futile propositions as that slavery really had nothing to do with the great American war.
The causes for which men fight wars are nearly always determined by the hot distorting emotions of their time, and most of them look dubious enough when examined in the light of years that followed after. But the man who fought the good fight for the South for four years against massive odds, who stood at Manassas, rolled up the slope at Gettysburg, and died on a hundred fields, are glorious forever, with a glory that is over and beyond all question of the relative rightness or the relative wrongness of their cause.
That is quite enough pride for the South. And the quicker it casts off its outworn defensive attitude, forgets slavery, quits bothering its head about the morality of something three-quarters of a century in its grave, and turns its attention instead to the problems of the living present, the better it is going to be for everybody.
Maybe The Republicans Will Deserve To Win
According to our columnist, Mr. Clapper, the two candidates for the Democratic Presidential nomination who have now pulled well out in front of the field are the Hon. John Nance Garner, the Texas Bearcat from Uvalde, and the Hon. Paul McNutt, the lady-dazzler from the banks of the Wabash. The gentleman of the cactus, it appears, will fight the President if he (Mr. R) tries to grab off a third term nomination, but Handsome Mac is prepared to pull the Supreme Sacrifice and stand magnanimously aside--a thing which promises to be just as embarrassing to the White House if it really entertains third term ambitions, as Jack's own candidacy.
On the whole, therefore, the odds seem to favor Paul. While it is possible, perhaps even probable, that Garner can balk the President's efforts at a third term--if any--, it is not likely that Garner himself can win without the President's support. And as between the two, the Indiana man seems to be his choice.
Somehow, it leaves us a little sad. We know neither of these men personally, certainly, and so must maintain a mind open to conviction. But from all that we have been able to glean, old Jack seems to us to be merely a small-time politician, whose idea is always to share the bacon around among the boys, and who is without fitness to deal with troublous times.
As for McNutt, he has been slavishly subservient to the New Deal, methods and all; his record in Indiana includes the organization of the cynical and odorous Two Pereent Clubs, and a good deal of high-handed stuff smacking of Nazi tendencies. Clapper seems out to paint him as a man of genuinely liberal ideas, who actually disapproved of many of the New Deal methods, and wants to corral Business into co-operation with necessary reforms. If that were so--but, ah, masters, words are easy things.
Whose Laughter May Hide Shrewd Purposes As Well
The President was all laughter at that press conference at Hyde Park. He doubled up and slapped his knee. He had, he said, put over a fast one. And at the thought of it he went off into gales of laughter again.
It was that remark made at the laying of the cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial Wednesday, to the effect that he hoped to come back to the final dedication of the Memorial in January, 1941.
It did, indeed, set off a lot of speculation. The President's term expires on January 20, 1941. Was he, then, letting out a hint that he intended to run for a third term in 1940? Or was he just planning to come back as a private citizen?
That, said the President, chortling, was the joke. He had put that in just as a come-on. And it worked, and how! You should have seen their faces when they heard it and stood straining in the hope of hearing even more!
Ah, well, it is quite probable. The President does take a schoolboy's joy in prodding the animals--a thing which has not always helped him on the serious side of his job. But even so, the prank is not necessarily the whole story. The remark could very well be both a prank and--another trial balloon.
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