Friday, April 5, 1946

The Charlotte News

Friday, April 5, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Iranian Government had announced having reached an agreement with Russia regarding withdrawal of Soviet troops from Azerbaijan Province in Northern Iran. All questions had been settled, but no formal treaty was signed. The Soviet troops were to leave Iran within another month. A joint Soviet-Iranian oil company would be formed within seven months. Some undisclosed general agreement had been reached regarding the Soviet right to Iranian oil, albeit only through the jointly formed company; no percentages, however, had been formulated. Henceforth, Azerbaijan would be recognized as part of sovereign Iran and its sole responsibility.

American reaction was hopeful but cautious, the reservations concerning still whether pressure had been exerted on Iran regarding oil concessions.

American officials dismissed charges by General Chou En-Lai of the Red Chinese that the unity program reached with the Chiang Government was not being carried out according to its terms and thus was jeopardized. The United States responded only that it would not give any careless financial assistance to the Chinese which might increase the disorder.

The House Banking Committee had approved extension of the life of OPA for a year to June 30, 1947. It also approved in the process eliminating, also by that date, the Government's two billion dollar subsidy program, much of which went to farmers. The bill extending OPA had attached an amendment, however, which would prevent the agency from mandating that manufacturers absorb increased costs for goods which had been limited or not manufactured during the war. If it were to pass the full Congress, it meant inevitable retail price increases to the consumer on motor vehicles, refrigerators, washing machines, and the like. The bill also made a distinction in rent controls between transient hotels and residential hotels and apartments, allowing for increases in rates of the former.

The State of New Jersey seized nine gas works of the Public Service Electric & Gas Co. at the time six independent unions were set to begin a strike of 1,200 workers. The Legislature had just passed a law authorizing such a seizure. The union members remained on the job.

About 12,000 employees of the Briggs Manufacturing Company, plus 2,500 final assembly line workers at Chrysler's Plymouth Division, the latter being apparently where they installed the lawnmower engines from Briggs, were rendered idle by a strike of 115 Briggs truck drivers, who had presented no grievances to the company but whose understood beef was seniority.

—Yeah, Bob. I saw that.

—Yeah. I know. He's good. He's real good. Take 115 drivers and shut down two plants. That is a 126:1 kill ratio, Bob.

—I told you. Get to work on recruiting him for the campaign. We can use guys like that. Because, as you said last time we talked, when you have them where it really counts, matters, on the golf course, aa, bowling alley, wherever, why, their minds and heads will surely follow.

—Yeah. Oh, I'll remember that, Bob, for re-telling all the big shots at the Bohemian Grove, yeah. It's not "counts". They like that kind of humor, I know.

—I know. It's not "matters" either. I'll work on it, Bob.

—Yeah, listen to the old Patton reel from last summer. Yeah. Pasadena. I remember.

—Okay, the Coliseum. Good, got it.

—Same to you, Bob.

Burke Davis reports of a visit to the area by former Minnesota Governor and one of the strong favorites for the 1948 Republican nomination for the presidency, Harold Stassen. Mr. Stassen was going to Rock Hill to address Winthrop College students. He refused to talk about 1948 and also refused to say anything further about his differences with newly elected RNC chairman Carroll Reece of Tennessee, who Governor Stassen had faulted for being too conservative.

He believed that the average Republican sided with him in this regard and that the party would turn to less conservative leadership. The Governor, reported Mr. Davis, was very familiar with Southern politics and politicians, knew well former Governor Melville Broughton of North Carolina, from their time together on the Governors' Conference.

To show how rapidly fortunes can sometimes rise and fall in politics, Mr. Stassen, who, as the piece points out, had become a leading Republican contender after being asked personally by FDR to attend the U.N. Charter Conference the previous spring in San Francisco, became something of a standing joke in politics by the 1960's, after he had run repeatedly for the presidency and failed, never becoming a serious contender for the nomination after 1948.

Senator Josiah W. Bailey, 72, was reported seriously ill in Washington, the result of arterial hypertension from overwork.

Senator Bailey would die on December 15.

Harold Ickes discusses his intention to assure the viability of the Anglo-American Oil Treaty which he had formulated during the previous fall. The purpose of the treaty was to insure a continued supply of oil from the Middle East to the United States, as the war had severely depleted the country's petroleum resources. Some American companies had concessions in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait; others, along with the British, were interested in Iran, Iraq, and other places.

The American oil interests worried of British influence over King Saud, and so Mr. Ickes had decided that the best way to attenuate this concern was to establish first an agreement with Britain, then with Russia, and then with all other countries interested in Middle Eastern oil.

A conference had been held in the summer of 1944 at which the terms of the first oil treaty had been established. But before that treaty got to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Tom Connally of Texas, the committee chair, announced that it was dead on arrival.

Mr. Ickes then arranged through President Truman to have a conference in London the previous September to work out a new treaty, this time with representatives of the oil industry present. The new agreement received unanimous approval from everyone at the conference.

Nevertheless, nothing had happened in the nearly six months since the treaty had been sent to the Foreign Relations Committee. In the meantime, Harry F. Sinclair, "that eminent oil patriot", involved in the Teapot Dome scandal of the Harding years, had funneled money into Texas to stimulate "purely imaginary" opposition to the treaty.

Mr. Ickes comments that cynics wondered whether Senator Connally viewed winning the fall Senate race as being more important than achieving world peace through balancing oil interests.

Ralph McGill, in the fourth of his five articles on Palestine, reports from Haifa on attending a glass manufacturing facility which made from sixty-foot long slender tubes of glass, ampoules for drugs, as well as panes.

He next went to the Vulcan plant, then the ceramics plant. On his way to them, he contemplated the American propaganda which had it that Jews would not work with their hands, would only work in "soft jobs"—tailoring, cutting money, jewelry—a myth which he found dispelled in Palestine. He saw the men "calloused and muscled, tanned and hardened with many years of farm toil, on dozens and dozens of settlements which were monuments to their work and their intelligence." All the work in the factories was being accomplished by Jews, both men and women. Nazi Germany had pressed into this small area of the world some of the best Jewish minds, and their impact was plain.

Palestine's meaning became clearer in his mind in juxtaposition to the images he retained from his personal visits to displaced persons camps in Europe. Palestine was a refuge for the world's homeless.

There was untapped oil and natural gas in Palestine but no coal or metals. The Dead Sea possessed deposits of potassium, bromide, and their by-products. Magnesium could be extracted from the salt water. The Palestine Potash Company utilized these elements and compounds for the manufacture of fertilizers.

In White Plains, N.Y., Westchester County Sheriff Edward J. Ganter sought to allay the fright of a woman after she had received a letter suggesting that someone with a similar name had requested that they send out an educated ape for a 30-day free trial. The apes, said the missive, could be utilized in housework as servants. They needed a response or would send forthwith the ape, along with an instructor who would stay a week, to teach her a lesson or two in how to handle the ape.

In cooperation with the FBI, the Sheriff had already, he told her, discovered that 200 similar letters had been mailed and that they were simply jokes.

She apparently did not think this funny. Maybe she had attended one too many movies and could no longer distinguish dissimulation from simulation, from assimilation, from realization.

In any event, Professor Maxwell's weather forecast is right side up today, and that is certainly a relief to see. The norm, 19 on yesterday, is back to 61 today. That is certainly a relief also.

On the editorial page, "Is the Bulwinkle Bill Sabotage?" asks whether the bill to exempt railroads from the operation of antitrust laws was a plan by which the freight rate revisions sought by Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia to eliminate discrimination against the South and West in freight rates would be undermined as the Governor contended. The Raleigh News & Observer had called the Southerners supporting this bill "quislings", but the editorial was not prepared yet to join in refrain.

The primary rationale for the bill was that the railroads were controlled by the Interstate Commerce Commission and thus needed no further regulation. But the argument was flawed, given the I.C.C.'s record on antitrust violations. If it were as vigilant as claimed, there would be no need in the first instance for the exemption promised by the Bulwinkle bill.

The piece challenges therefore Major Bulwinkle, the Congressman from Gaston County, to provide his justification, as it seemed hard to believe that he would deliberately seek to sabotage the Arnall proposal when his own district suffered as much as any other in the unrevised freight rate structure.

"Bitterness with a Touch of Glory" discusses the death in Raleigh on April 3 of Thomas Dixon, controversial author in 1903 of The Leopard's Spots and, in 1905, of The Clansman, the latter dedicated to his uncle, the Grand Titan of the Invisible Empire Ku Klux Klan, both of which novels, dripping in hopeless sentimentality for the Old South, became the basis for the first major feature film out of Hollywood, D. W. Griffith's "The Birth of a Nation".

Thomas Dixon was also a classmate for a year at Davidson College with Woodrow Wilson, who obligingly arranged a showing of the film to a joint session of the Congress and the Supreme Court in 1915, although later President Wilson renounced his endorsement of the film after riots erupted in many Southern cities in the wake of its showings, which had prompted a re-emergence of Klan activity in the South, largely dormant since the turbulent years after the Civil War until the fin de siecle.

Mr. Dixon was also a renowned preacher in the pulpit of the Rockefeller-endowed "People's Church" in New York City before the turn of the century, drawing throngs of enthralled spectators to his preachments.

Mr. Dixon, also before the turn of the century, at age 20, was elected to serve for one term in the North Carolina Legislature, where he sought to lower property taxes while increasing property valuations so that the State would not lose revenue but the voters would think it fine and dandy.

He finished out his life as the Clerk of the U.S. District Court in Raleigh from 1938 to 1943, and, being from Shelby, is buried in Sunset Cemetery only a short distance, ironically, from the grave of W.J. Cash, his antithesis in viewpoint on matters of race. While Cash has a simple marker on his grave, Dixon has an obelisk listing proudly his several roles, "Actor, Lawyer, Minister, Writer".

His monument to posterity omits, however, his proudest role of all, that of race-baiter.

Of Dixon, Cash stated only briefly in his book, having made reference to him at somewhat greater length in the American Mercury more than a decade earlier:

After 1900, and though just at this time the South, with Populism safely dead, was making bold finally to nullify the Fourteenth Amendment and formally disfranchise the Negro, Henry Cabot Lodge would shrill practically alone on the floor of the Senate regarding the pressing need of sending down bayonets upon the land again—and to galleries that only grinned. And in 1903 the reigning hit upon Broadway would be The Leopards Spots, by Thomas Dixon, Jr., of North Carolina: a picture of Reconstruction from the most rabid Southern viewpoint, and a bitter attack on the Negro.

—from Book III, Chapter I, "Of Easing Tensions—and Certain Quiet Years", section 3, p. 203 of 1941 ed.

But if Miss [Ellen] Glasgow and [James Branch] Cabell had been upon the scene all these years, H. L. Mencken indulged in only rhetorical exaggeration when he wrote "The Sahara of the Bozart." At Nashville there were the Fugitive poets, and in New Orleans there was some stirring of literary activity. But save for these exceptions the literary state of the region was to be accurately measured by Thomas Dixon, Jr., whose many rabid novels, and especially The Clansman, which was made into the moving picture The Birth of a Nation, probably contributed no little to stirring up racial feeling and to the creation of the Ku Klux Klan.

—from Book III, Chapter III, "Of the Great Blight—and New Quandaries", section 10, pp. 373-374

In October, 1929, in the original article in the American Mercury, titled "The Mind of the South", Cash had stated far more acerbically and to the point:

No matter whether the black boy is or is not a menace, he serves admirably as a dragon for the Southerner to belabor with all the showiness of a paladin out of a novel by Dr. Thomas Dixon. The lyncher, in his own sight, is a Roland or an Oliver, magnificently hurling down the glove in behalf of embattled Chastity. Even Rotary flourishes primarily as a Cause, as another opportunity for the Southerner to puff and prance and be a noble hotspur. His political heroes are, typically, florid magnificoes, with great manes and clownish ways—the [Cole] Bleases and the [Thomas] Heflins. (It is said sometimes, I know, that they are exalted only by the rascals and the dolts, but, on a basis of observation, I make bold to believe that, while all decent Southerners vote against them, most do so with secret regret and only for the same reason that they condemn lynching, to wit: that they are self-conscious before the frown of the world, that they are patriots to the South. )

Mr. Dixon's funeral had a common element, however, with the presentation of the Mayflower Literary Society Cup posthumously to W. J. Cash for The Mind of the South on December 5, 1941 in Raleigh. Josephus Daniels, respected former Secretary of the Navy under President Wilson, former Ambassador to Mexico and chief orchestrator of the Roosevelt Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America, was present on both occasions, speaking at the Cash presentation.

The piece states that it was unaware that Thomas Dixon was still alive until his death notice had appeared. He had lived in virtual obscurity since the Teens. It comments that his brief foray into fiction, which had earned him a fortune and a national reputation, albeit briefly, had resulted, despite the lack of literary merit of his most famous pair of books, in many Southerners accepting their fiction as true history, both the young who could not recall Reconstruction, and those who had lived through its terrible times and should have known better.

Even in 1946, Southerners remembered Reconstruction as told through "The Birth of a Nation", passing on to younger generations Dixon's own prejudices and emotional reactions to the post-Civil War period of Southern humiliation and futile attempt to rebirth, in Klan mentality and raiment, the ante-bellum Southern plantation era.

But, it suggests, that the Southerners who received this corrupted view of history as accurate also came away from it with heightened respect for the "tall men who were their Confederate fathers".

Parenthetically, Margaret Mitchell once told of having gotten a spanking from her father when, at a young age, in constructing a school play, she plagiarized Mr. Dixon's 1907 novel, The Traitor.

The editorial concludes that it was still too early to judge the extent of Thomas Dixon's service or disservice to the South. The picture he had presented was in black and white, without the shadings of truth. While reinforcing things better left unremembered as unreal, he also reinforced things worth recalling, "the melancholy glory of weary men who fought selflessly to preserve a way of life they believed to be right and just."

Somehow, we sense, in reading this piece, the ghost of W. J. Cash, maybe sitting on a spring afternoon on the Courthouse Square in Shelby behind the statue of the Confederate soldier which bears on its pedestal the inscription "Lest We Forget", gnawing at his fists, wanting to say something in addition to the piece—whether written by Harry Ashmore or, more likely, J. E. Dowd, or someone else such as Burke Davis, we do not propose to know.

If one peruses the mostly reverential presentation on Mr. Dixon in the Wicked-pedia, our favorite source of stale and non-information, hopped up with usually unsubstantiated Byzantine detail, cloaked in mindlessly florid cant, at which we gander on occasion for entertainment and sociological observation of the culture's thinking or lack thereof, you will find that, unfortunately, this trait of denial and apology for plainly white racist trash which influenced badly the society through much of the Twentieth Century, still exists among some obviously. There is more apology in the Wicked-pedia entry, making pretense of objectivity, than in the average Aryan Brotherhood pamphlets, should you read them, extolling the virtues of Adolf Hitler, who, incidentally, in fact got some of his racial theories from Mr. Dixon, at least via the D. W. Griffith movie, of which, not surprisingly, Hitler and Goebbels were reportedly both admirers.

We can recount that we had the experience, just twenty years ago, of checking out from the Winston-Salem Public Library a biography on Mr. Dixon, Fire from the Flint: The Amazing Careers of Thomas Dixon, by Raymond Allen Cooke, published in 1968, which had scarcely been checked out since the early seventies, after having had an active readership, judging by the library card in the back, during the latter sixties and early seventies, and finding that copy of the book full of angry, racist handwritten notations, apparently by more than one hand, most of which appeared to have been written circa 1968.

We had never realized until this date that Mr. Dixon died in Raleigh a day before what would become the dark anniversary of the assassination in Memphis of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 22 years hence, a genuine preacher of the spirit of Christianity, not an actor or politician seeking divisiveness for his own aggrandizement, a genuine writer, not a glutton for bestselling status to finance a resort in the mountains of North Carolina, that which Mr. Dixon tried unsuccessfully to do at one point.

Whether James Earl Ray was the assassin of Dr. King, as he claimed not to be, whether there were others involved, as strong evidence, especially from firemen at the neighboring fire station at the time, suggests, whether such individuals had some connection with the F.B.I. of J. Edgar Hoover, whether there was a "Raoul" who had directed Mr. Ray to Memphis at that time in April, 1968 for other purposes and then paid for Mr. Ray's extensive travel after the assassination, culminating in his arrest in London on June 8, all remains to this day, as with the assassinations of President Kennedy in 1963 and Senator Robert Kennedy on June 5, 1968, surrounded by a swirl of controversy as to whether there was more than one gunman in each case.

One thing is clear: bullets in each case killed each man, as did one or more guns. And, for their deaths in that manner, the nation would never know that which it came to know of Thomas Dixon, how their lives might have been lived, had they the opportunity of the full extent of their natural life spans.

Unlike Mr. Dixon's poison, the words of each of these three martyrs of the 1960's will live on in the annals of American life as salutary to that which is most precious about American life, not hatred and bitterness and the right to express it, but expressions of hope and dreams without false sentiment, uplifting the heads of the boy and girl coming of age to respect their land, not decrying it as a false and hypocritical ideal and goal to which to aspire, yet not shrinking from the task, even in the face of dangerous times, from revealing its failed aspirations and, at the same time, offering a positive remedy for its foibles and stumbling ineptitude in living up to its high principles of freedom and democracy for all, not engaging in false glorification of the flag but not failing in proper respect of it.

As we have previously recounted herein, North Carolinian and eventual Ambassador to Great Britain under President Wilson, Walter Hines Page, co-founder of Page, Doubleday, the original publisher of Mr. Dixon's racist works, was perusing the original manuscript of The Leopard's Spots in 1903, crossing a street in New York City, when he was suddenly brushed, for his rapt attention on the writing, by a streetcar, knocking the manuscript from his hands and bloodying it with his own blood. Mr. Page would have been better served to have noted the spiritual allegory at work and rejected the manuscript.

The Commander-in-Chief Grand Wizard of the Invisible Empire Ku Klux Klan, incidentally, as Mr. Dixon informed from Dixondale, Va., in the foreword of his 1905 book, penned December 14 of the previous year, lived at Memphis, Tennessee.

"Here's That Word Again" comments on finding the State Department referring in its report on Atomic Energy to "know-how" in reference to the proposal's non-disclosure of any critical information on atomic energy to other nations. It finds the use of this term unworthy of such a weighty report. It asks what was wrong with "knowledge" or "understanding", "sound and worthy words, with none of the awkwardness of the hyphenated monstrosity."

"Know-how" had come into general usage, without any utility, not filling any need or previously existing vacuum in the language.

It concludes by saying that it would be a bitter-ender in the fight against the term, though knowing it would be a losing battle to fight. It then adds parenthetically that "bitter-ender" was an example of useful combination.

"Wherever 'know-how' turns up, in pulpit or press, we shall regard it as the spurious little interloper it is and greet it with a sneering 'uh-huh.'"

But, it did, after all, serve the purpose, perhaps, of teaching youngsters and oldsters alike, not too keen on reading or appropriate use of the language, to distinguish from "no how", as in, "Ain't gonna do it no how," thus not exhibiting know-how in the process of being a bitter-ender on unruly use of English speech.

A piece from the Columbia Record, titled "The Railroads Are Next", reports of the railroad workers' demands being determined by two arbitration boards, the decisions of which would be binding on the 18 participating unions and management. Two unions had refused participation, the Trainmen and Engineers. Wages would be raised and the railroads would likely seek a rate increase for freight and passengers to compensate for it.

Previous wage hikes in 1941 had resulted in commensurate increases in rates, but those of 1945 had resulted in suspended increases because of greater traffic on the railroads than ever before, with servicemen being transferred from the East to the West coast before the end of the Pacific war, as well as transportation of discharged veterans. But the war travel, being almost concluded, meant that higher rates were to be expected.

Drew Pearson discusses again the promise of Russia two weeks earlier to send a half million tons of grain to France and its ultimately seeking to back down for want of transportation, after which the United States sent ten ships to Odessa to pick it up. The election in France appeared to be the primary motivating factor for the Russian offer, and it met further objection by the fact that UNRRA was helping to feed Russia.

When the American ships arrived at Odessa, they found no grain and were still waiting at anchor. Meanwhile, the grain had been loaded on four Russian ships south of Odessa and was on its way to France. In this manner, Russia would achieve their propaganda coup in the French election.

He next discusses briefly the various delegates to the U.N. conference in the Bronx, Pedro Velloso, Brazilian Foreign Minister, Castillo Najera of Mexico, the latter being the most experienced diplomat present, who had proclaimed that the worst fault of the Security Council was the unilateral veto of the five permanent members.

He notes also that Andrei Gromyko, while criticizing the American press as being controlled, also often quoted A.P. and U.P. pieces.

The primary impetus to the plan to submit questions in writing to Iran and Russia, which had led to the resolution of the dispute between the two countries, had come from Herbert Evatt of Australia, the primary champion of the smaller nations at the U.N. Charter Conference.

The British delegate, Lord Codogan, had passed messages to Secretary of State Byrnes via Edward Stettinius to be tougher with Russia, but Mr. Byrnes nevertheless maintained his own coign of vantage, acting in the same mediating capacity which FDR had occupied at Yalta and Tehran between Stalin and Churchill.

While Paul Porter, new OPA head, was trying to appease farm and cotton belt Congressmen, the AFL, CIO, and Railroad Brotherhoods served notice that they would pull their advisory staffs from OPA, leaving it with a gaping hole in its support among labor, its chief ally. The reason cited had been the allowance of price increases of meat, canned goods, fresh fruit, bread, and crude oil, without consulting these representatives of the American consumer. Jack Thornton, chairman of the CIO cost-of-living committee, reported the development to Philip Murray who discussed it with Mr. Porter, who assured Mr. Murray that in the future the representatives would not be circumvented. For the time being, the representatives remained at OPA.

Marquis Childs reports from Hunter College in the Bronx, site of the current U.N. conference. The information office of the U.N. had put out a pamphlet listing 85 organizations linking the 51 member nations together. Some of these organizations functioned only during the war and were now being converted to peacetime purposes. The Education and Scientific Organization, for instance, with headquarters in Paris, was to link the cultures of the world together.

The Russians were conspicuously absent, however, from most of the organizations. Sometimes they were listed in the catalogue in the status of observer or that a vacancy was reserved for them.

The Russian observers had attended, for instance, the Food and Agricultural Organization meeting at Quebec, along with separate representatives of the Ukraine and White Russia, but they did not join the organization. The same was true of the Educational and Scientific Organization.

But Russia had joined without hesitation the Committee on Control which met at Tangier to restore Tangier to international control under the joint sponsorship of nine nations.

The defining criterion for participation of the Soviets therefore appeared to be self-interest, as in its participation in UNRRA. It was thus unlikely that the walkout of Andrei Gromyko the previous week from the Security Council in protest of the refusal to delay consideration of the Iran problem would become a permanent abandonment of the Council. There was too much at stake for Russia. It might also choose to participate more fully once it became accustomed to the role of cooperation with the other nations.

Samuel Grafton reports that the N.A.A.C.P. had attacked the Republicans for joining the Southern Democrats in a coalition to defeat key aspects of the President's reconversion program. But the more important negative reaction had been from DNC chair Robert Hannegan who had engaged in open warfare with the Southern Democrats. He discusses the demand by the Southerners for an apology for a comment in the Democratic Digest, regarding the Case bill to limit the power of unions by declaring the closed shop illegal, as a vote against the American people. It demonstrated that there was war within the ranks of the Democratic Party.

Likewise, the Republicans were at war with their liberal wing and with liberal opinion generally. A recent meeting of the RNC in Washington had left Harold Stassen on the outside, even though he tried to keep up the face of an insider. The forces of Ohio Senator Robert Taft and former Ohio Governor John W. Bricker, vice-presidential running mate to Thomas Dewey in 1944, had controlled the proceedings and obtained the election of their man as party chairman, Representative Carroll Reece of Tennessee. The swing was to the Midwest, less Eastern in party influence.

Mr. Reece was stressing subversion and the Red menace, and not talking of internationalism. So, it appeared that those themes would set the tone for the Republicans to be elected in 1946, a drift to the right—and how.

Thus three groups were forming for the coming elections, the Republican leadership, the Democratic leadership, and the Democratic dissidents of the South.

These three divisions would form the basis for the nation's politics for decades to come, at least through the 1960's, into the mid-Seventies.

A letter transmits a resolution passed by the Main Street Methodist Church of Reidsville, N.C., taking to task Burke Davis for having supposedly misrepresented the facts of the recent campaign to make Rockingham County dry, successful at the recent election. It takes umbrage at his allegedly having mischaracterized the campaign from the pulpit of the Church's Reverend Waggoner, whose conduct, it says, was above reproach. They also would publish their ad hominem attack on the character of Mr. Davis in the North Carolina Christian Advocate.

Well, if everything the preacher did was so above reproach, why do you need to engage in a public attack on a reporter? If you don't drink, you certainly make a good effort at trying to appear as if you do. We could understand the matter had the election been the other way about. But why not learn to turn the other cheek, at least when you win? Surely a study of the words and life of Jesus Christ taught you that much.

Apparently not. Apparently, you never heard of something called Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech, even if your pastor had things said about him that you didn't think were quite nice or accurate. He had his pulpit from which to respond and plentiful avenues within the community for same without a public attack on a reporter.

Inez Flow adds another brilliant statement on the controlled sale issue in her latest letter.

Another letter says that liquor control advocates were simply interested in collecting revenue.

He wanted the voters on their knees, praying for guidance before voting for or against legal sale of liquor.

A regular letter writer, who usually makes sense, wonders where those who normally voted liberal could turn with the present "Cincinnatus from Missouri" in the White House, as under his Administration, the concept of being a little left of center was "farcical". He finds the dichotomy between Jeffersonian principles and Hamiltonian principles to have broken down in the era of 1946 and become blurred.

And, a letter writer tops off the day with what he offers as the "North Carolina Toast":

Here's to the land of the Moonshine Booze,
Of old Cawn Likker and Mountain Dews;
Where the sober get drunk
And the drunk get limber;
Here's to Down Home
In the tall, tall timber.

He dedicates it to the "two-faced hypocrites, of our county, who always vote DRY then go and drink WET."

It reminds of the quote from Bruce Clayton's 1991 biography of W. J. Cash, ascribed to the late Tom Jimison, who had died the previous September, describing Mecklenburgers as the "lowest-kneeling, loudest-praying, tightest-fisted, hardest-drinking clan of Scotch Presbyterians that ever staggered to the polls to vote dry... They'd crucify Christ again right in front of the First Presbyterian Church if ever he dared to show up here."

And judging by the tone of some of these letters, the trait would appear to have extended well beyond Mecklenburg County.

As we, ourselves, have observed, the only thing worse than an alcoholic is a too reformed alcoholic, who then insists that the rest of the world do penance along with him or her for the sins they committed while an alcoholic, dryly so, without the slightest bit of humor, for fear that a smile might crack their very serious demeanor, as they have lived life so very seriously. We have to wonder whether some of these Rockinghamites might have fallen within the category.

For want of better nomenclature, we shall call it the "Clara Edwards Syndrome", or Pecksniffian Simon Pures and Nice-Nellies, as you please.

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