The Charlotte News

Sunday, September 1, 1940


Site Ed. Note: S-S-SPAB to the bone.

As we swing back around now, as we post the pieces for September, 1941, to September, 1940 for the first time in four years since we started into it in September-October, 2004, we note a rather remarkable coincidence from the page of this date in seamless continuity from that to which we were making reference just a couple of days ago with regard to the letter to the editor of Mr. R. E. Taylor on Plymouth Hoe which he wrote August 27, 1941 and which became the basis for our discussion regarding the new Vice-Presidential pick by Senator McCain in his run for the presidency here in 2008.

For, believe it or not, without our foreknowledge until today, Mr. Taylor appears again with a letter to the editor on this date's page. (As we have said, we dictated in 2004 most of the print from the columns of September, 1940, but did not have in our possession at all, for our oversight at the time in retrieval from the microfilm reader, this particular date, and furthermore had none of the whole editorial pages in our possession and thus could not see the letters-to-the-editor column for any of the dates.)

Mr. Taylor was again congratulating The News, this time on its stand against Cale Burgess, local statewide prohibitionist, and in favor of the alcoholic beverage control store system then in place in many counties throughout the state, as opposed to the other counties which bred bootlegging and the dangers inherent with it, recognizing reality of time immemorial: that the more government tries to stamp out a declared but popular evil, the more that evil will thrive in an underworld which is difficult to eradicate and will, in the case of social evils, breed worse evils, violence, than the evil sought to be eradicated. And, again, Mr. Taylor offers his praise by literary allusion, this time to Rosinante--which strikes us interestingly, as, without seeing this page beforehand, we were moved to remark in the note of a couple of days ago that Senator McCain's choice for a running mate might appear to some as a little quixotic.

Anyway, you may read Mr. Taylor's letter, our note of a couple of days ago and the previous letter of Mr. Taylor from a year later, if you haven't already done so recently--that is should you be one of those hail-hearty souls reading through these pieces and notes in some semblance of chronological order--and ponder it all.

Just who wrote the piece of August 26 on Burgess which he praises, "A Miscue", we could not say for sure, but, given the references to the international scene in Europe and the style of the piece, we suspected strongly four years ago and still do suspect that it was by Cash. In any event, there it is--the Beaver Hat, that is Serendipity. Count it up to our Irish, we suppose.

So that, plus the piece by Raymond Clapper regarding the Willkie-McNary ticket of 1940, and the start today of the Republican Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul--Minneapolis, that's another chain we went through last summer after the bridge collapse--egads, ye gads--leads us to comment a little more on this historic selection of a running mate by the Republican nominee for the presidency.

We have performed a search of biographical sketches on every single major party candidate for Vice-President back to the first election held in the country in 1789, stressing the time since 1844 after the passing of the early system of election of Vice-Presidents separately from the President. That latter election pitted the winning ticket of North Carolinian Democrat James Polk, born in Mecklenburg, and Philadelphian George M. Dallas (for whom Dallas, Texas was named) against Whig Henry Clay and Theodore Frelinghuysen. (You may never have heard of the latter, incidentally, but he was an early opponent of the forced march of Native Americans to the West, the so-called "trail of tears", and a well-respected and experienced politician of his time.)

In doing that search, we must tell you that we have not run across a single candidate for Vice-President who, before being so nominated by a major party of the time, had only local government experience in a small town, in this case one of 5,000 population, and as little as two years experience in government service at either a state executive level from a less populous state or in national office. We are not going to fall for the position taken by some that Alaska, being apart from the lower 48, is some joke, even if its lack of contiguity is a recognized reality and even if the only reason it ever was annexed by the United States and ultimately became a state in 1958 was because of its strategic significance vis à vis the Soviet Union. It is a part of the country and obviously deserves the same credit as any other state if we are truly committed to the concept of the "United States", as opposed to fifty individual constituencies running about willy-nilly.

But also, as we have pointed out before, being united under one Constitution, as we are, does not imply or demand unity of thought or purpose in respect of our individual opinions on matters which are within either the expressed or penumbral rights recognized by that Constitution under which we are united. And one of those penumbral rights recognized expressly by our Supreme Court since the 1960's, and impliedly earlier than that, is the right of privacy under which Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. It is the law of the land.

Gun-toters would think, no doubt, the concept a little crazy if, after the Heller decision of the last term of the Supreme Court, striking down as unconstitutional the ordinantial limit on possession of handguns in the District of Columbia as infringing the Second Amendment--a decision you will note that we have so far refrained from commenting upon despite our view being that of the four-justice minority in the decision--, if after that nevertheless debatable decision, gun control advocates were to seek to pass, in areas subject to exclusive Federal jurisdiction, a similar gun control ordinance as that struck down in D.C. They would yell that these people were anarchists seeking to circumvent the rule of law as laid down by the spare majority of the Supreme Court.

Yet, many of these same people appear to see no inconsistency between their view thusly and that of Roe v. Wade and their consistent efforts to undermine, circumvent and seek openly the appointment of justices and Federal judges desirous likewise of overturning it. This, their concept of unity: impose "unity" on others, the majority in disagreement with them, just as did the Nazis, who also regularly invoked the term "God".

It is their right obviously openly to assert disagreement with that decision and to argue it out ad infinitum. It is their right obviously after that decision not to have an abortion. The decision compels nothing except that the states and localities not infringe on a woman's right to choose in the first trimester of pregnancy and not to pass laws which so infringe that right of privacy over the woman's own body.

But it is a right of privacy which benefits all of us and which, at the end of the day, we all desire, not just women.

Besides the obvious intrusions which would result from its abrogation, already a hallmark of the present Administration and the Patriot Act concept, one other prominent thing we do not want as the next step after abandoning that right of privacy is the mandatory injections of whatever drug it is that some of these people are on who think it just alright to take away freedom in the name of Jesus Christ--one of the great, true liberals of history.

Well, let us look a little then at the history of the vice-presidential nominees and their experience: besides the one we have referenced, Spiro Agnew in 1968, there are ten other candidates for the office who lacked substantial experience, that is more than two years, in either the House, the Senate, as governor of a populous state, or some combination thereof.

In chronological order, these ten were: 1) Chester A. Arthur, 1880, who of course acceded to the presidency in the first year of the term of James Garfield after he was assassinated, dying in September, 1881, two and half months after being shot in July; 2) Levi Morton, who ran successfully with Benjamin Harrison in 1888; 3) Whitelaw Reid, who ran unsuccessfully with Harrison against Grover Cleveland and Adlai Stevenson in 1892; 4) Garret Hobart, who ran successfully with William McKinley in 1896; 5) His opponent in that election, Arthur Sewall, who ran on a ticket with William Jennings Bryan; 6) Calvin Coolidge, who ran successfully with Warren G. Harding in 1920, and of course became President when Harding suddenly died August 2, 1923 while on a western tour of the country, out in San Francisco; 7) Franklin Roosevelt who ran with James Cox the same year on the unsuccessful Democratic ticket; 8) Charles G. Dawes, who ran successfully with Coolidge in 1924; 9) Charles W. Bryan, William Jennings Bryan's brother, who ran with John W. Davis in opposition to the Coolidge-Dawes ticket in 1924; and 10) Sargent Shriver, who ran unsuccessfully as an emergency replacement candidate for the office with George McGovern in 1972.

Thumbnail sketches of their experience are as follow:

1) Arthur had been appointed by Grant as collector of the New York port, an important commercial post of the time, which he held for seven years. He was favored at the divisive 1880 Republican Convention by the Russ Conkling, so-called Stalwart branch of the Party, which favored the political patronage system, as against those who wanted to abolish or at least significantly limit the spoils system which was seen as having contributed greatly to the vast corruption of the Grant Administration of 1869-77. Garfield became the nominee after 36 ballots, eliminating the Stalwarts' favored Grant; Arthur was the compromise selection by the convention to appease the Stalwarts. And it was a disappointed office seeker out of this morass, Charles Guiteau, who shot Garfield a year later at the Sixth Street Railway Station in Washington.

2) Morton had formed under his own name an important New York City banking firm, had served one term in the House and been minister to France for four years under President Arthur before his nomination to run with Harrison.

3) Reid was a successful newspaper editor, heading the New York Tribune, succeeding Horace Greeley in that post, one of the leading newspapers in the country at the time. He had also been minister to France under Harrison for three years.

4) Garret Hobart was a prominent New Jersey business man, active in New Jersey politics for some time before his nomination, but had served only in the New Jersey Statehouse for a decade, ending his tenure there 15 years before becoming Vice-President.

5) Arthur Sewall was a prominent New England shipbuilder, banker and railroad owner, but had served in no elective capacity.

6) Calvin Coolidge had served for four years in the Massachusetts state senate, had been lieutenant governor for three years, and a quite visible governor for two years, calling out the militia to halt the Boston police strike, when he was tapped by Harding in 1920.

7) Franklin Roosevelt had been in the New York state senate for two years, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy under Josephus Daniels during the entire eight years of Wilson's Administration, a position he held therefore throughout World War I, when tapped to run unsuccessfully with James Cox against Harding and Coolidge in 1920.

8) Charles Dawes, when Coolidge selected him in 1924, had served for four years under McKinley as comptroller of the Treasury, was a prominent banker, served as purchasing agent under Wilson in World War I for the AEF, and was the first director of the budget, appointed by Harding. (Subsequent to the election, in 1925, he received the Nobel Prize for his having created the Dawes Plan for orchestration of post-war reparations in Germany, stabilizing its finances--even if that was belied by subsequent events in Germany leading to the prominence of the Nazi Party in the midst of economic and social chaos pervading Germany and Europe generally by the late twenties.)

9) Charles W. Bryan was a little-known Governor of Nebraska for a year when chosen by John W. Davis, mainly because of his being William Jennings Bryan's brother; prior to his becoming governor, he was Mayor of Lincoln for one two-year term.

10) Sargent Shriver, when picked to replace the nominated Thomas Eagleton after Jack Anderson muck-raked the Senator in his column with the revelation that he had undergone psychological treatment after a successful election battle for the Senate, had been in government for a decade at the Federal level, though never serving in elective office. He had been the first Director of the Peace Corps under John Kennedy, and then became Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity under Lyndon Johnson. He became Ambassador to France late in the Johnson Administration, a position he continued to hold during the first year of the Nixon Administration.

Thus, of all of these men, only Garret Hobart, Arthur Sewall, Charles Bryan, and Spiro Agnew would be someone with a comparable lack of public service experience to that of Sarah Palin, Senator McCain's pick for his running mate--his first substantial decision as the party nominee for the presidency.

So, we shall just call this the Hobart-Sewall-Bryan-Agnew pick of all time. And, that said, even Mr. Agnew, of course, had served his time in a populous city and had been quite progressive, in matters of race relations especially, in Baltimore, even if his time as Vice-President hardly marked him as anyone much more progressive than Attila the Hun, at least in his verbal pronouncements from the hustings, earning him the label as "Nixon's hatchet-man".

So, maybe that only leaves Mr. Hobart, Mr. Sewall, and Mr. Bryan as bell-wethers of comparison--in the case of Hobart, a man who served in the office, we admit, try as we may to resist the eroding scourges of time, outside the present capacity of our memory. Perhaps you recall him well.

Well, we leave it for you to ponder on your own. We make no further comment. But we cannot help but wonder, in the meantime, just what in the world the Senator is thinking about with this selection, or whether he is thinking at all, whether he is merely becoming a pawn to the special interests, those ultra-right wingers notable within the small minority of the country who have previously gone by the term "moral majority"--who we find typically to be far more interested only in being dictators to others of private behavior than anything intrinsically moral. Perhaps the convention will dispel our wonder.

In any event, any hint that the Obama-Biden ticket lacks experience of any sort, especially in the judgment department, relative to the opposition, is now thoroughly dispelled.

And, parenthetically, we might suggest that anyone who tries to argue that four years in the United States Senate, prominently so, and a decade before that in the senate of a populous state, while at the same time teaching law at a prominent law school, is no greater life experience than being a governor for less than two years of the least densely populated state in the country, 1.2 persons per square mile, total 684,000, the size of a medium size city, Charlotte, for instance, and before that serving a decade on the city council and as mayor of a town of 5,000, and otherwise being a "hockey-mom", has got to be a little cracked in the head.

Perhaps she will attract all the hockey-moms to her side though. If so, that's quite okay.

Nothing wrong with hockey. Not gonna say it--no.

But it was a little quixotic.

Yet, on Rosinante!

Was Rosinante an elephant?

Never mind. We'll leave it there.

We're on a Secret Mission from God, and thus must step it up now and go watch the beginning of the Republican Convention. That is, if we can avoid those Sirens on our trail as we traverse, intricately, the Symplegades.

One if by land, two if by sea, and three...

We are glad, incidentally, that Gustav changed its track, missed New Orleans and largely blew itself out. Now, rather than merely patching levees, if we might get on with the business of taking care of the problem causing the worst of these monsters in our midst, which is the exorbitant daily release to the atmosphere of fossil fuel waste products producing global warming.

No Exemption

Free Enterprise, as Free Men, Must Enlist or Be Drafted

Seems to us that Mr. Willkie is manufacturing thunder with his rumblings about the Senate's amendment to the Conscription Bill authorizing the Government to take over plants needed for defense. We don't believe he will get very far by acting upon his intention to make that one of the issues in the campaign.

It is undoubtedly true that there is a radical bloc in Congress which would not be above using war or preparation against war as an excuse to "socialize and sovietize our system of free enterprise." A good bit of his talk about conscripting wealth probably conceals precisely that design

But on the other hand the great body of American opinion, and in all likelihood the majority opinion in Congress, is heartily in favor of compelling free enterprise to make the same sacrifices, where essential in the interest of national safety, as are required of free men. There is no special privilege that exempts industry from being ordered to drop what it is doing, whether that be manufacturing for the profitable British war trade or making lollypops for Lilliputians, and turning to the production of goods for American defense.

Indeed, it is time for the captains of industry to fall in line with the ranks of the people and resolve that the first order of business is for our system of private enterprise to equip the country for defense so that private enterprise may endure. Most industrialists, to be fair about it, feel exactly that way.

In A Walk*

City Has Murder Crown for Year Practically in Bag

The murder rate in the United States for the first six months of 1940 fell off six per cent as compared with the same period in 1939, according to the semi-annual report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But not in Charlotte.

Last year's total of murder cases for the Queen City was 35, of which only twelve were chalked up in the first six months of the year. But the total for the first half of 1940 was 21. If the same rate holds for the last half of the year, the gain over 1939 will be 20 per cent.

At any rate, the old town seems well on its way to cinching the 1940 crown as the most murderous town of 100,000 or more in the whole nation. Which, in view of the fact that the FBI reports that the towns in the 100,000 group are the most murderous of all, suggests that Charlotte will probably take first honors against all comers.

Atlanta, usually the closest contender, can show only 40 murders for the first six months, though it has three times our population. Nashville, which ran close last year, is trailing sadly with only twelve murders for more than half again as many people as Charlotte.

Miami, which also ran us hard in 1939, has 21 for nearly twice our population. Birmingham, Memphis, Dallas, Houston--all old contenders--are out of the running. New Orleans, with approximately five times our population, had twenty murders. Richmond had ten, Norfolk eight.

Moreover, the city is gaining rapidly as against those sinks of sin, Chicago and New York. Last year it was relatively six times as murderous as Chicago, eight times as murderous as New York. But for the first half of this year Chicago had 103 murders (for four million people), New York 115 murders (for seven million people). That makes Charlotte approximately eight times as murderous as Chicago, in proportion to population; approximately thirteen times as murderous as New York!

Secret Mission

We Observe Paul Revere On Important Business

What warning it was Paul Revere had to deliver we don't know. At first we thought it was that Hitler had landed at Charleston and was proceeding up the Yadkin and Catawba with a fleet of battleships and planes. But if so it is being kept a deep dark secret from us by the wire services.

In truth, he did not look the part. He had buck teeth, and he was distinctly microcephalic. If we had been asked for our opinion as to his proper destiny, we should have dogmatically hazarded the view that he had been ordained to occupy one end of a plow while a mule, or, better, a bull, occupied the other. But that only goes to show how wrong our judgment can be, how wrong and foolish it is to pass opinions too easily.

For there was no doubt of it--he was Paul Revere in person. Nobody who had the high privilege of seeing him hurl his Buick around the corner at Fourth and Church Streets could have doubted it. Upon his going was stamped for all to see the unmistakable air of those chosen by Fate for her highest missions.

True, he nearly killed two pedestrians who only managed to draw up in time. But what does that matter when great things are afoot? One forgot it promptly. One forgot it. One stood on tiptoe gazing after his vanishing wake, hearing again the thunder of Paul Revere's hoofbeats along that lonely road long ago, palpitant with the sense of tremendous deeds in the making.

What were they? Why, that, as we say, we do not know. But be assured--they were tremendous. Nobody upon whom the fate of nations did not hang could possibly have been in such a hurry as that.

Treason Gag

It Ought To Be Used With Caution and Exactness

Governor Hoey told his audience at Mint Hill Friday that:

"Congress ought to outlaw the Communist Party, the German Nazi Bund and every other subversive element in the country... We must have national unity in America and crush out any disloyal spirit, fifth columnist or otherwise."

That will undoubtedly command enthusiastic popular approval. But precisely because of that, it deserves to be re-emphasized that this sort of thing ought to be undertaken only with the greatest caution.

A good case can be made out for the necessity of outlawing the Communist Party and the Bund. Both undoubtedly represent foreign conspiracies for the sabotaging of the defense of this Republic and its ultimate overthrow. Both work, not by argument but by running efforts to create chaos, and both look ultimately to the use of force to establish their will over the great majority of the American people, who hate them and their ideologies.

Nevertheless, the history of attempts to suppress such organizations indicates that they always bob right back up under other guises. And in case whatever, the distinction should be carefully drawn between the right of the members of these outfits to their opinions and expression of them and their conspiratorial methods. It is the privilege of a man in the United States to hold Communist or Fascist opinions and to express them freely--or the Bill of Rights means nothing. The right which may justly be denied is the right to attempt to force those opinions on others by plotting with a foreign power to destroy this Government and the right of free opinion and free speech for others.

Above all, the definition of "subversive elements" ought to be strictly and closely drawn. The "criminal syndicalism" laws passed in some states during the last war were so drawn that ordinary labor union activities were made a felony. It is not to be forgotten that there are elements in this country which call any liberality or independence of opinion "subversive."

In the end you cannot "crush out any disloyal spirit." You can only take the necessary precautions to see that it does not do active damage.

Framed Edition
[Return to Links-Page by Subject] [Return to Links-Page by Date] [Return to News<i>--</i>Framed Edition]
Links-Date -- Links-Subj.