The Charlotte News

Friday, October 13, 1939


Site Ed. Note: "Decision Needed" follows up on a by-lined piece of rare and poignant reportage which Cash wrote for publication June 11, 1939, "A Visit to Mecklenburg Sanatorium". What Cash is too polite to say--or warily chary about saying, perhaps worrying that he might offend the powers that be into old reactionary defensiveness--is that the very fact of a legal dispute over the legality of an election to raise taxes to improve the lot of patients, mostly African-American patients, at the sanatorium, speaks volumes of the racist resistance to such measures in 1941, continuing ideas entrenched in Southern thinking well into the 1970's, indeed, still anachronistically entrenched in some fewer numbers of people today in 2003. Can anyone doubt it? Some, after all, of the powers that be in the New South believe still that the presidency once should have gone to Strom Thurmond. Yes, almost-president Strom Thurmond, who recieved all of 2.4% of the vote in 1948, and was thought, even in 1948, even in every Southern state, save the one which started the Civil War of the 1860's and the other ones which gave the most fuel to start the second civil war of the 1960's, to be just a wee tad short of being bat-jacked crazy.

"They Got Her" makes self-congratulatory reference to an editorial Cash wrote which appeared in the News September 23, 1939, "Foxes Come Out". Was his boast, no doubt with tongue firmly in cheek, perhaps correct? Or, did some not-so-bright Nazi reader, some Mr. X, at least perceive it so--and resolve to help put an end to that one day when the opportunity presented itself, perhaps down Mexico way? Well, we shall never know. He hung himself, richtig?

As Launcelot said to the sand-blind Gobbo in The Merchant of Venice: "Well, old man, I will tell you news of your son: give me your blessing: truth will come to light, murder cannot be hid long; a man's son may, but at the length truth will out."

Decision Needed

Dragging Out Sanatorium Dispute Endangers Sick

The news that the Mecklenburg Sanatorium Board of Managers plans to force the dispute over the legality of the tax election to a decision is a relief.

As to the merits of the point at issue we don't know. An illegal election is just that, and should that be proved to be the fact here, then out this one ought to go, as all those others should have gone.

What we do know is that this long delay is working a hardship on innocent victims--the Negroes who have tuberculosis and who desperately need the new ward at the Sanatorium which the levy was expected to build. On these and all the innocents, white and black, who are exposed to catching the disease from these walking contagion stations. The five months that have already elapsed may well be the difference between life and death for some of those who are in the dangerous stage of the disease, may well mean the infection of more persons. And certainly, if the dispute is allowed to drag on indefinitely, it is going to cost the lives of several people, sickness and grave economic loss to others. For the County Commissioners, quite understandably, are reluctant to order the levy of the tax and the expenditure of the money, lest in the end it should come out of their own pockets.

Hence the quicker this business is settled the better. We do not believe that, in the showdown, Mecklenburg is going to leave the helpless to rot and die, at imminent danger to the whole community. And so, if a new election is necessary, the quicker we know it the quicker the sick will get aid.


England's Relations With Poles Are Anything Else

In a letter to our right appears an argument which is getting to be more and more familiar. It has it that England has betrayed Poland by promising to come to her aid before the war began, that she has fallen down on that promise, and has done no more than drop a few pamphlets and exchange a few courteous shots with the Germans on the Western Front and that as a result Poland lies prostrate and done for.

The fact is that England has in no way whatever betrayed Poland. She did come to Poland's rescue, and is at this moment waging a war to liberate Poland.

Why didn't she send a great air fleet to the aid of the Poles? For the good reason that all Polish air fields (quite inadequate to begin with) were destroyed in the first 24 hours of war, and that to have sent an air fleet there under those circumstances would have been criminal folly.

Why didn't she bomb Berlin and other German cities? It could not have saved Poland from being overrun. It certainly would have brought on a wholesale bombing of London and Paris.

But couldn't France and England have buried an army headlong against the Siegfried Line and smashed it--or at least forced Germany to draw off all her troops from Poland to defend it? That is pure nonsense, as anybody who will examine the history of the last war may discover for himself. To have attempted it would have been to betray Poland irretrievably, for it would have been suicide for the hopes of the Allies.

But isn't this war on the Western Front a phony? It is anything else. The British-French strategy is (1) to starve Germany by sea, while (2) forcing her to assume the offensive and bleeding her to death on the Western Front.

To these ends the most terribly effective blockade known to history has already been successfully established, and the French have moved into a position which cuts off the immensely valuable German industrial district of the Saar. Soon or late Adolf Hitler is going to have to take the offensive in order to try to force the lifting of the blockade by breaking through the French defenses and overrunning France. When he does, the Germans will lose at least three men for one, and the drive is virtually certain to fail and end in the collapse of the Nazi regime.

Far from being cowardly and weak, the British-French tactics have so far been brilliantly sane--show quite plainly that the generals have at length learned the lessons of the World War. And that sanity, so far from betraying Poland, is the very best assurance that she will presently rise again.

Still Hopeful

But Adolf Is Unlikely To Gain Much By This Move

The persistence of Mr. Hitler in attempting to get what he wants in the face of conclusive denial is only matched by his gall in assuming the role of the man with the whip-hand.

Even yet, he has his puppet say, he'll refrain from doing the same thing to England and France that he did to Poland if Mr. Roosevelt will "tell Chamberlain in no uncertain terms that he must express his readiness to meet Germany in conference."

That, of course, is an attempt to turn the heat on the President of the United States and upon all the nation. It will be probably taken up by the Coughlin-Nazi-Communist agencies and by a lot of other people who ought to know better, and made an instrument for charging that the President is a war mongerer, that anybody who refuses it is a war mongerer.

Nevertheless, there is little doubt that it will be, not refused but ignored. Such an approach is one most badly calculated to have any effect on stubborn people with a still more stubborn man at their head. The United States is not in the habit of assuming the tone of a dictator to other nations, which is what is asked. And least of all is it likely to assume the tone of dictator in order to become a cat's paw for pulling chestnuts out of the fire for one of its own worst enemies.

They Got Her

British Cruisers Take Our Tip, Bag The Cap Norte

We feel as though we'd had an active part in it ourselves, this capturing of the 13,615-ton German ship Cap Norte. Anyhow, we wrote an editorial about her.

She's a sleek creature, fast and maneuverable. Little less than a month ago she sailed one night in company with two German freighters, from Pernambuco, Brazil. The report was that she was going to try to make Vladivostok, Russia.

Vladivostok is away up in the northeastern corner of the world, so far east, in fact, that the shortest route for a ship from Pernambuco would have to be westward.

This believe-it-or-not we pointed out at the time of the Cap Norte's break, wondering if the information would reach the ears of the British cruisers reported in the South Atlantic waters. Also, we were careful to explain that sailing westward from the east coast of Brazil, a ship would have to (1) pass through the Panama Canal or (2) round the Horn.

Well, they got her. It doesn't say, in that exasperating way of dispatches containing military information, just where they got her, but she exactly matched the 13,615 tons of German shipping Admiralty Lord Winston Churchill cited as Great Britain's bag for the period of Sept. 24-Oct. 9. And it shows, whatever else, the power of News editorials. We wish now we had been on our toes and hadn't let the Bremen slip away.

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