The Charlotte News

Saturday May 13, 1939


Site Ed. Note: We doubt the third and fourth editorials of this date are by Cash, but we include them anyway, not so much for edification as for contrast. If they were by Cash, we would chalk this day's offerings up to fuddy-duddy Saturday. They are all a bit on the dismal side, quite frankly.

Everybody needs rest and Cash, with the writing of the book still ever pressing upon him as the Knopfs grew more and more frustrated with his delays over finishing it, combined with the daily grind on the newspaper, got precious little in these days. The Knopfs had met with him at Greensboro on April 15 to urge him to finish the book by summer to make the fall publisher's list and he had reassured them he could, that he was at work on the final section and it only needed some last touches and typing into final draft form. Instead the "last section" would prove problematic for him and would grow much larger and the book would require until the end of July, 1940 to finally finish. Thus, it may not be surprising if there were days in spring and summer, 1939, especially with war drums pounding ever louder out of Europe, where Cash's mood was dreary.

As to "Sarah's Error", which has Cash sounding like a "law and order" advocate with ultra-conservative stripes, he is making an ironic point, that white Democrats got away with it regularly and a black woman was chosen for the "example", while at the same time generally condemning the use of fraud at the ballot box. A re-reading of the editorial once or twice shows it to be not quite as condemnatory of the badly misled Sarah as to the system which misled her. At least it is refreshing to know that Sarah could vote in 1939.

He should have lived to be 100 and seen what fraud at the ballot box really means. Only, in that case, it wasn't by the Democrats or African-American women or just in one or two local or state races...

We know. We know. Get over it.

Having thought about it for four and a half years, and seen the results to the country, no, we don't think we should.

Let's see. Shall we buy groceries or gas?

Or just a gas mask?

Sarah's Error

She Thought She Could Behave Like A White Democrat

Sarah King, Negress, made a mistake. She acted, indeed, as though she thought she were a good white Democrat of high moral standing. Last month in Raleigh, where she lives, they had a municipal election--and Sarah was so ill-advised as to go to the ballot box and pass off for somebody else-- so ill-advised, indeed, as to get caught. And now, Sarah is on her way to spend the next six months in State prison getting her sense of perspective adjusted to things as they are.

All of which represents a very notable triumph for justice in North Carolina. We are proud of it. Sarah, you see, had indubitably committed a gross crime against the dignity and integrity of the ballot. And it was very desirable to have an example made of somebody to clear the good name of the Democratic powers that be. After all, people and newspapers had got to saying openly that fraud is almost the rule rather than the exception, and directing attention pointedly to the fact that in some counties the thing was so blatant that representatives from those parts could get up in the Legislature and blandly admit that they wanted to keep the absentee ballot so as to go on cheating the Republicans. And there were rumors everywhere about how this man and that man came to high office. Worse, both rumor and the newspapers were saying that nobody ever had gone to jail for it and nobody ever would go, apparently. Maybe that was Sarah's undoing. Maybe she read the newspapers. Anyhow, she knows better now, and so do the people of the State. And we bet that the next Negress is going to think a long time before she decides she can behave like a good white Democrat.

The Question

Will England Stand By Spirit Of Her Promises Kept To Poland?

The question is not whether Britain can build up a front that will stop Hitler. The entry of Turkey into the British bloc yesterday testifies to that. What is questionable is whether His Majesty's Government yet has the will to do it. Ultimately everything depends on lining up Russia, and it is plain that Russia is not going to give guarantees unless she gets them in return. But today, and despite his attempt to cloud over the fact, Chamberlain has refused such an arrangement--the revival of the old Triple Entente--at some risk at least of losing Russia altogether, and at even greater risk of having Rumania, Greece, and Yugoslavia (which is now on the fence) lose heart, throw up the sponge, and pass over into the German camp.

But even more important at the moment than lining up Russia is the question of whether England will really stand by her agreement with Poland. Bumble has promised Hitler war if he uses force at Danzig, certainly. But then he plainly isn't planning to use force if he can avoid it. What he clearly intends to do is to have the Nazi Government of Danzig order a plebiscite there. It will unquestionably go German, and then, under the plea of self-determination, he will annex it to the Reich. And Poland will either have to acquiesce or use force first--thus giving him a chance to charge that she is the aggressor. It will be a pure legalism, of course. For it is manifest that he wants Danzig because it controls Poland's trade--as an opening way to doing to Poland what he did to Czechoslovakia. But England and France squirmed out of their obligations to Czechoslovakia on the basis of just such legalisms. Will they do the same in the case of Poland? Upon the answer to that depends the hope of building the stop-Hitler front.

$5.66 To $9.09*

FDR Lays Down Those Figures As Inviolable

Four months ago the President sent over to Congress a bulky portfolio containing the budget for fiscal year 1939-1940. Boys, he said in the message that went with it, we are going to spend $9,095, 663,000 and we are going to collect in taxes $5,669,320,000. And there is one thing I want distinctly understood. If you all appropriate any more money than I have indicated here, you'll have to levy the taxes to pay for it.

Why the President permits himself the luxury of committing the Treasury to the expenditure of $9.09 for every $5.66 taken in, and peremptorily denies to Congress the privilege to appropriate in excess of the one arbitrary figure without a corresponding increase in the other, is hard to explain in any consistency. If his budget were in balance, there would be some sense in cautioning against its unbalancing. But since it is hopelessly out of balance, since the Administration is committed to a policy of spending for spending's sake, what possible difference can a few more hundred millions make?

Nor is that the only paradox in Mr. Roosevelt's present position. Remember, now, that he has permitted himself in his budget to levy in taxes only $5.66 for every $9.09 he proposes to spend. But, he says, he simply cannot allow any reduction in taxes, no matter how much it may be argued that a reduction would help business to relieve the Government of emergency expenditures; that he has got to have that $5.66 and not a penny less.

Again the same rebuttal applies, only with more force. As long as the budget is hopelessly unbalanced and Recovery is so elusive, what possible objection can there be to trying tax reduction and seeing where it leads? After all, we are getting nowhere under present policies. It is time for the quarterback to change his strategy.

Laws Are Laws*

When In Rome, Observe The Roman Traffic Laws

In St. Joseph, Mo., a man from out of town received a traffic ticket. He mailed a dollar to the police department. Forthwith he got a letter back from the St. Joe police chief saying:

"Please find enclosed the dollar bill as we do not want people living in other cities paying for violating our traffic laws. We invite you to come to our city as often as possible... Should you get a ticket in the future... forget about it!"

All of which moves one of our contemporaries in North Carolina to hold forth in this fashion:

"Did it hurt the chief to be nice? Did it hurt the city of St. Joseph? The answer in each case is a thunderous 'No.'"

But, ourselves, we are moved to defy the lightnings and state an opinion that the St. Joe copper was much too nice. And that if he had his proper dues he would be called on the carpet.

The argument for this sort of thing, of course, is that it helps business. But what does it do to traffic? Traffic laws are laws like others, and it is the business of the police to enforce them without favor. More than that, traffic laws, as a whole, are laws most profoundly involving the safety of life and limb for every man, woman, and child who uses the streets of the city or the public highways. You can make out some case perhaps for suspension of parking laws in the case of uninformed strangers. But as for the traffic laws in general--their suspension in behalf of anybody for any cause whatever is utterly indefensible. Murder and mayhem are neither good politeness nor good business.

Bomber's Nerves

Some Medical Light On Hitler's Alleged Plans

Out of military medicine there comes some hope for those people who live in expectation that the next war will bring an endless chain of bombings. There is a story going around, for instance, that Hitler has 2,400 bombers all set to hurl at London, in relays of a hundred each hour, until British morale collapses. According to it, 750,000 civilians are supposed to be killed in the first two weeks, and 500,000 more in the second two weeks.

But the International Congress of Medicine and Pharmacy, which met at Washington last week, was told that experiments show that the maximum efficiency service of a pilot in a modern high-speed plane is 34 hours a week, and that even at that rate he quickly begins to suffer with neurotic irritability and fatigue and to become panicky and irresponsible.

If that is so, then Hitler would have to have seven times 2,400 first-grade pilot--16,800--to carry out his scheme even for a week. And home defense would naturally require at the minimum as many more--33,600 in all. Of course, he has no such number. And moreover, after the first week, these would begin to crack up and lose their planes by wholesale. Really to be feasible the scheme would probably require double the number of pilots indicated--67,200. And, supposing the accuracy of the medical report, that reduces the story to the status of a fantasy.


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