The Charlotte News

Monday, January 20, 1941



Site Ed. Note: Yesterday, February 1, 2003, we were perusing the front page of the New York Times.

That was the day after we heard that the conservative Washington Times reported a source within the Administration saying that nuclear weapons would be used on Iraq if Iraq used biological weapons--weapons which they are only rumored to have still in the first place, rumored primarily within the Administration--in a war which has not yet occurred and which the Administration has also said will not occur if cooperation with weapons inspectors occurs. That, after weapons inspectors have been dutifully inspecting for over a month with nothing of consequence brought forth to show substantial and material breaches of U.N. resolutions banning weapons of mass destruction--some of which weapons, of course, we, the United States, have and have in great numbers still.

And from our perusal of the New York Times, we found out that the space shuttle which blew up on re-entry was the 88th mission since the last explosion, the one right after lift-off, right after, "Go with throttle-up."

Rocket 88. Like an "olde mobile"...

And the Captain of that ill-fated mission, crashing to earth as it did between the ranges of east Texas and Louisiana, was named William McCool. And, of course, on board was also the first Israeli astronaut, as well as a woman from India, and an African-American.

And we thought to ourselves a little while.

And some lines of poetry set to music, released in March, 1991, came to mind:

"Seen the arrow on the doorpost,
  Sayin', 'This land is condemned',
  All the way from New Orleans to Jerusalem.
  I traveled through east Texas
  Where many martyrs fell,
  And I know no one can sing the blues
  Like Blind Willie McTell..."

Such is the way with poetry sometimes.

Sometimes it's the coincidences of life, the mounting coincidences, which ultimately provide truth of something out of this world, circumstantial though the evidence may be.

Many fewer circumstances have sent human beings to their death in this world.

And in so realizing, perhaps it comes to us that rushing onward to God knows what is precisely the way to bring about a cataclysm, maybe the last one. Especially so when there is no rush.

Perhaps we should relax our fingers off that button, both the little one and the fat one.

Perhaps we should realize that vengeance is His, sayeth the Lord...

For, after all, those who were directly responsible for the tragedy of September 11, 2001 are dead. They died with their victims at that very instant. Like all living victims of tragedy, we wish to strike out. But when the murderers are dead, there is no one left living at whom to lash out. And so our instincts and emotions supercede our rational thought.

But a third-world sovereignty contained within its borders for twelve years, regardless of who they maintain at their helm, is none of our business really, as long as they remain within their borders.

It is no more our business than it would be theirs what we do within our own.

Yeah, but they broke their Treaty.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time. Seems to us, that we broke a few before, too--all in the name of Progress for our people.

But, they have shown a previous propensity for imperialism. Well, it would have to be admitted that so, too, have some of our chief allies.

But, but...

Oh, without doubt, we could bring on a literal form of Armegeddon these days. Everybody knows that and has for nearly 58 years. But what would really be the consequence? Death to all but the select, the good among us? Death to all Evil?

Somehow we doubt that. For man's instruments of death always bring on indiscriminate death. And with that death may come the death finally of the Spirit. Could be. Who knows?

And once done, no technological fix offered by some sliderule fool can replace that.

Build a new one in the sky? Not likely.

But that's just what we think.

By the way, has anyone ever really stopped to ask, amid all the flag-waving public relations of the last forty odd years, and especially of the last dozen or so, what in heaven's name they are building up there and to what end?


Two out of five which won't fly repeatedly seems to us not a very good record. Chances are about 1 in 22.6 that the strained looking contraption will explode either on lift-off or landing. If it were a product of an auto-maker, they would have never allowed it on the highways. It would be in the Smithsonian somewhere near the Tucker. Strap a Volkswagen to a tanker truck, bolt on a couple of rockets and give the Beetle wings and a rocket engine on its tail, don't forget your laptop, and that's about what you have. Cute, but dangerous and highly unstable.

Seems as though the money is better spent here on earth to eradicate problems of ignorance and poverty, and not just abject ignorance and poverty, but also ignorance of the educated and poverty of the soul.

Are we not becoming quickly to the rest of the world that which we really do not wish to become?

Flag Of Evil

Sailor's Rage Against It Is Natural Enough

The Charlotte sailor and his companion who hauled down the Nazi rag from the German consulate in San Francisco both landed in jail. Which no doubt was where they ought to have landed. Disturbing the relations of nations is after all a serious business and one to be discouraged. Even so, the sympathy of all decent Americans will be with the sailors and the judge who let them out of jail on a writ of habeas corpus.

The rag they pulled down is the most infamous in the history of man, for it stands for a conscious attempt on the part of once-civilized beings to retreat to barbarism. Racial hate, organized murder and looting, a cold-blooded attempt to restore human slavery on a colossal scale--that is what the thing stands for, and it deserves nothing but loathing and contempt.

It is characteristic that in Berlin one of Hitler's stooge newspapers observed that only in the democracies was "such war-mongering possible." An intolerable people follows an intolerable leader and plunges the world into war in an attempt to gratify its insatiable lust for power by enslaving mankind. And then it has the gall to talk about "war-mongering" quite as though its own hands were clean.

There is one reason and only one reason why Washington should recognize the Government of Berlin at all. It is that it serves the practical interest of the United States at the moment to maintain relations, quite as though we believe the Nazi regime to represent a civilized nation.


Lee's Flag

He Fought for Anything Else Than Nazi Ideals

In Asheville a woman mistook a Confederate flag flying over a cemetery in honor of the birthday of General Robert E. Lee for a Nazi flag. Which was about as wrong as you could be.

It is sometimes charged that the South fought for the preservation of slavery. But at best it is probably only a half-truth. Men never fight for a thing as simple as a single economic institution, particularly when it does not represent the interest of most of those who fought.

But in any case, nobody can suppose that General Lee fought for the preservation of slavery. He was one of the Southerners who boldly said before the war began that slavery was wrong morally and against the economic interest of the overwhelming majority of the Southern population. It took an enormous lot of moral courage for a Southerner to stand up in those days and say that Garrison, for whose head the Georgia Legislature had offered a reward of $5,000, was essentially right. But moral courage was the hallmark of General Lee. He fought for the South because of his loyalty to it and because of his belief that, right or wrong, its people were privileged to make their own decision. And in doing so he fought for fundamental American concepts--a thing which the nation has tacitly recognized by its treating him as one of the great Americans in whom all Americans have a rightful pride.


Blind Course 1

GOP Politicoes Seek To Destroy Their Party

The Republican Party seems bent on committing suicide.

In the last election it recovered its wits long enough to nominate Wendell Willkie for President instead of an Old Guarder or a young reactionary of the Dewey stamp. In consequence it piled up by far the biggest vote in its history.

Nobody in his senses supposes that any Taft or Vandenburg or Dewey could have done half as well. Indeed it is altogether probable that Willkie would have won but for two things: (1) the distrust of many people for the reactionary Republicans in Congress, and (2) the record of chronic obstructionism and isolationism which the Republicans in Congress had set up, the fear that they would cling to "Martin, Barton, and Fish" regardless of Willkie.

And now they seem determined to prove that these distrusts were well-founded. From Washington the Associated Press reports that the isolationists and Old Guardists are triumphantly chanting that Wendell Willkie has lost the leadership of his party by being big enough to put aside partisanship and back the President's request for powers to meet this grave emergency.

Willkie, they are saying now, will not be allowed to name the successor to Joseph W. Martin as chairman of the Republican National Committee. Instead of some liberal and intelligent young man of the stamp of Governor Stassen of Minnesota or Governor Dwight Green of Illinois, they plan to fill the place with an Old Guarder and an isolationist. Which is to say, to commit the party to a blind course of trying to go back to the 1920's and pure partisanship in the foreign question which involves the very existence of the nation.

This country needs a strong second party, all right, and will have one. But it does not need one which thinks the clock can be put back and which plays politics with the national safety or is too stupid to see where the national safety lies. And any party which attempts that course isn't going to be the second party long.


A Concert

Wheeler, Fish & Co., Find A Supporter Far Away

Mr. Virginio Gayda, stooge editor for Mussolini, comes enthusiastically to the aid of Burton Wheeler, Ham Fish & Co., with whom he sees eye to eye.

The President, he says, is trying to get the United States into war. That is precisely what Wheeler and his associates say.

There is absolutely no justification for the President's course, says Mr. Gayda. The reasons offered, he goes on, are invented out of thin air. The Axis has never dreamed of having any designs on America or the Western Hemisphere and the last thing it would think of would be attacking the United States when it has finished off Britain.

That is precisely what Wheeler, Fish & Co. say.

And finally, the President's course is a wicked violation of international law.

There also Wheeler, Fish & Co. are in agreement.

No doubt these gentlemen will be grateful for Mr. Gayda's earnest support.

True, there is a little inconsistency in Mr. Gayda's stand. His Boss is the man who began the destruction of international law by seizing Ethiopia and by practicing piracy against neutral shipping during the conquest of Spain by Fascism. And he is also the man who openly confessed that he was doing his best to help Germany win the war before he entered it.

But small inconsistencies like that do not bother Mr. Gayda. And they probably won't bother Wheeler, Fish & Co. either. These gentlemen have shown themselves thankful for all support, without inquiring too much into its source.



1 When we first posted this day's pieces, including the Site Ed. Note, on February 3, 2003, we did not have at our disposal the title to "Blind Course" or its first two paragraphs, or the last two sentences of "Lee's Flag". So now they are properly included. We are not sure, incidentally, that we totally agree with this latter editorial. Query whether Lee's flag properly was the stars and bars or the flag of Virginia, which included the phrase, "Sic Semper Tyrannis"? Thus, isn't it properly up to the will of the people--all of the people--whether such a flag is flown over a government building today, 138 years after that flag was properly taken down? If it is but an historical relic, doesn't it properly belong only in a museum? If more, and it truly only symbolizes rebellion generally against the Federal government, which is in the last analysis, all of us within the United States, then are there not under our Constitution far more salutary ways of exhibiting that rebellion, such as by petitioning that government for redress of grievances, especially as those grievances may be effectively given voice by state legislatures? If it symbolizes something more pointed than that, the deprivation of civil rights to some, for instance, then find no solace or defense in the above editorial.

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