The Charlotte News
Friday, November 22, 1940
Site Ed. Note: Perhaps, the story on which this first haunting editorial was based caught Cash's eye because of an incident from his own youth when his sister Bertie at about age two was left on the train tracks in Boiling Springs by a child as a practical joke and Cash fortunately saw her there crying as the train was storming toward her. He scooped her out of harm's way and she lived a good, long life as a teacher afterwards, often recounting the story as example number one of Cash's heroism even in his youth.
Sadly, the story below did not have such an ending.
And perhaps the train whistle heard during Cash's commencement address in Austin, Texas six months later should have counseled him, as with the boy he recounts below, along with his own mother's words of warning about Mexico, to wait until another day to get too close to Nazis. But, like others who had preceded and still others who would follow, Cash had a determined spirit to find out things necessary to the resolution of truth, even if it meant he would not live to see its fruits. Such is the way of life, it would seem, all too tragically. Sacrifice appears to be the lifeblood of the rest of us, the survivors.
Would it were otherwise, but the sad truth is as it is--just as it would be 23 years later from this Friday in November, 1940. We rough up our fellow humans when they speak to us things unfamiliar but just and true, and then when they are dead, we grant them exalted status above mere mortals; at least all of us do except those haters who hate even beyond the grave.
Shakespeare had it right therefore as to what fools such we are.
And Lowell followed eloquently in 1865, "We see dimly in the present what is small and what is great..."
On The Tracks
A Little Boy and His Brave Mother Meet Destiny
He had been forbidden to go there and play. He knew that, but he did not clearly understand why. People were always forbidding him to do things he wanted to do, and today he had taken matters in his own hands.
The rails were two fascinating streams of light which ran away into the distance, and it was absorbing to see how they came together at a point far away. The rocks of the ballast were hard and strange and wonderful in his hands, and the rails themselves were cold and somehow thrilling to the touch. He was very busy there inquiring into the nature of the odd world in which he found himself.
And now the rails were humming and humming, and from somewhere in space there was a rumble which was turning swiftly into a roar. He had seen the train come before, but not like this, a great round face surmounted by a gleaming white eye, under spouting smoke. He stood there spellbound, a little afraid perhaps but excited also with the sense of resistless motion.
It was his mother's voice, he knew, which was calling him, and there was in her screams an urgency that he had never heard there before and which at last made him really afraid--frozen to his tracks. And now perhaps, for the first time in his life, he felt what it was to be alone in the presence of cold and unfeeling danger. And like a little boy he perhaps began to cry. But it was all right. The great face was at hand now, and there was a mighty hissing. But it was his mother's arms which were closing about him and he was quite safe.
Both were dead when they picked them up.
Davies' Resignation Is Balm For Another Diplomat
The resignation of Joseph E. Davies, minister to Belgium and Luxembourg until their fall last May, from the job of special assistant to the Secretary of State, at least leaves another job open for our vast army of diplomats without portfolio. Maybe that was why Davies, a relatively small fish and no career man, was saddled with the job of arranging the third Roosevelt inaugural ceremonies.
Seven diplomats are home from the wars because the countries to which they were accredited were suddenly cut away from under their feet. They are William C. Bullitt, Ambassador to France; Anthony J. Drexel Biddle, minister to Poland., John Cudahy, minister to The Netherlands, Ray Atherton, minister to Denmark, Mrs. Daisy Hartman, minister to Norway; John C. Wiley, minister to Latvia and Estonia; and Owen J. C. Norem, minister to Lithuania. In addition Hugh Wilson, Ambassador to Germany was brought home before the war as a protest against Nazi anti-Semitic outrages, has never gone back. And now Joseph P. Kennedy is home from London, isn't expected to return.
Wilson has resigned his ambassadorship and Bullitt has profferred his resignation, but both have jobs in the State Department now. And the rest of the boys and girls still hang on to their titles and salaries, $17,500 a year for ambassadors, $10,000 for ministers. But they are hard put to it to look as though they were earning the money. Some of them putter about the State Department, but some of them have just had to go on home.
The removal of Davies should ease the embarrassment for one of them, without suggesting him to the heartbreaking business of cutting him off from the payroll.
Spanish Promises Would Be Good Only Under Big Stick
In his column today Mr. Clapper examines the proposal that we shall appease Spain and make her a loan to buy food here in order to keep her out of Hitler's camp--seems to lean pretty strongly toward the idea.
And if there were the slightest prospect that appeasement would work in the case we should heartily second him. But the evidence is pretty clearly that there isn't much prospect of that. Appeasement has succeeded nowhere today. And it is to be remembered that Franco came to power, not by the will of the Spanish people but by that of a small Spanish minority backed by the will of that of Hitler and Benito Mussolini. If Nazism and Fascism are eventually destroyed in Germany and Italy, does anybody believe that Franco could long retain his power in Spain? And does anybody believe that Franco is such a fool as not to see that clearly?
Right now he desperately needs food for his people, who may revolt otherwise, regardless of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. And so he will probably promise anything. But if we give him food we shall be backing a man who has all along been our deadly enemy, and at this moment is carrying on the most deadly propaganda against us in Latin America,--propaganda designed to aid Hitlerism, to turn Latin America against us.
We can think of only one way we can safely go into any such a deal. Spain's ports are all badly defended, and the American Navy could reduce them to ashes one after another if it chose. And if we were in position to feed starving Spain, to take Franco's word, and at the same time show the big stick--to make it clear that he would either keep that word to the hilt or settle accounts with the Navy--that would be well and good. That way we could confidently count on keeping Spain out of the war and at the same time do the unfortunate Spanish people a good turn.
But under our set-up that can't be done. Perhaps never could have been done legally--but the same sort of thing has been done in practice many times. However, it probably can't be done at all now with Congress insisting on taking over the making of the whole of our foreign policy.
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