The Charlotte News
Friday, March 4, 1938
Alas for Poetry!*
Representative Bob Doughton deserves, for his efforts in keeping the Great Smoky National Park a going project, some sort of monument. At the same time, it is a particularly unhappy motion, which the House adopted unanimously, that the official name of the broad highway connecting the Great Smoky with Shennandoah National Park be changed from Blue Bridge Parkway to Doughton-Blue Bridge Parkway.
A superficial objection to that is that the name becomes at once too long for every day, familiar usage. Our real protest, however, is that the surname of a mere man does not belong in that grand and majestic company of scenic names--Great Smoky, Shennandoah, Blue Bridge. After all, if a Congressman named Smalz had happened to get a large appropriation for a national park in the Blue Bridge, that wouldn’t make it any the less grotesque if we had to sing,
In the Smalz-Blue Bridge Mountains of Virginia...
Besides, there is a precedent, a good Democratic precedent, for not naming even man-made scenes of beauty after mortals. Boulder Dam, you know, first was known as Hoover Dam. It was changed, not as you might think because of the risk that people would reverse the order of the two words, but because, as Secretary Ickes put it, things of that sort were "too big" to bear the name of a man. By the same token, the Blue Bridge Parkway between Shennandoah and Great Smoky National Parks is too imposing a name for Congressmen to take liberties with.
Rule No. 1
Ingenious to say the least is Nazi justice. The Rev. Martin Niemoeller for example after standing trial and being sentenced to seven months imprisonment, was released because, forsooth, he had already served his seven months while awaiting trial. But it turns out that he was released only "technically". That is, he remained in the custody of the Gestapo, the Nazi secret police.
And there was some likelihood that in spite of having served the sentence of the court, the Rev. Martin Niemoeller would still not have freedom restored to him. "It would be dangerous," Nazi bigwigs observed, "to allow a man so obviously opposed to the Nazi regime complete liberty to resume his activities."
But the most ingenious thing of all is the reasoning by which the Nazi court reached its verdict.
The court found that he had acted from an inner conviction within the meaning of the law: But, on the other hand, he must have been aware of the effect his words from the pulpit would produce.
That means, if it means anything, that it is all right to have religious convictions but not to preach them, that it is all right to differ with Nazi doctrine provided you conform to it. It means, in sum, that you have got to do and say precisely, no more and no less, what your masters order.
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