The Charlotte News

Sunday, October 2, 1938


Site Ed. Note: As a companion to Herbert Agar's piece of September 30 regarding Jonathan Daniels's "Democracy Is Bread", see Cash's "The South Hides Its Eyes", his book-page piece of this day regarding the South as "Economic Problem No. 1", as FDR had labelled it, and the tendency of both newspapers and politicians, especially those of the white supremacy stripe, to participate in the great collective cry of denial of the idea.

Incidentally, two Sunday editions of The News, September 4 and 25, 1938, in which we suspect there were both book-page editorials and plentiful regular editorials by Cash, are missing from the microfilm, both in Charlotte and in Chapel Hill, and thus, we assume, from the original library of editions maintained by The News archivist. Thus, if you may hap to have these dates in your prodigious collection of great literary works of merit, or any of our missing Sundays for that matter, a review of which may be determined by noting the book-page dates missing, (a few of which exist but are simply without Cash book-page pieces, such as, September 11, 18, 1938), please e-mail us. While we cannot promise bounty for your kindness, we shall be thy beadsmen.


We stretch now at last, and yawn. All of us.

It was a tough month, that last one--the whole of it, and particularly that last week. A tough one here in the office, with the European copy pouring in and piling up mountainously upon the desks of the harried managing editor and telegraph editors. A tough one for the editorial writers, forced to use snap judgments upon a situation that changed hourly and might cut the ground out from under them before the stuff got on the street. And a tough one for all the swarming hive of humanity that makes up the Western World. Rarely, or never, indeed, have so many people been so long subjected to such an appalling strain. For never before have so many people been so vividly aware of what is taking place in the seats of the mighty.

Well, it is over now. Life goes on in the streets of London and Paris and Berlin and Rome and Moscow and New York and Washington and Charlotte quite as though war had not last week swung in so close that even here we were terrified. Everywhere all over the evening lands, as the German language so beautifully calls the West, men turned back from the horrid vision of bombers and red battlefields to remembering that they need a haircut or that the dog biscuit is out. Even the first-of-the-month bills look almost pleasant.

But we have seen great things, masters. The events of this month will bulk very large in the history books of the future. For better or for worse, the world we have known since the last war--the world we took for granted as fixed and permanent--is at an end, and a new world is in the making. What its shape will be no man can say, but we stand now at its beginning, and its growth promises to be greatly interesting to watch.

Thus on to the day's work.

We Are Hoaxed

We pricked up our ears when we saw by the papers that up North in Reidsville they had arrested a "rustling ring." Ha, now, we remembered the shades of all horse-operas that ever we saw, and we have seen our share. The shadows and the shapes of bold, bad men riding hard upon the thundering herd, while pistols blazed and roared and scoundrels and heroes bit the dust by the [indiscernible word] filling our ears again with the great rumble of posses sweeping resistless through the hills to deliver fateful doom to Mexican Mike and his gang, the swift clatter of Mr. Mix as, escaped from the bonds that had bound him, he swooped to the rescue of the blonde. Exulted again as the steel-cold eyes of old Bill Hart (it was very long ago we saw our horse operas, you see) looked defiance into the eyes of the villain.

Ha, now! And they said, did they, that the old America was dead? That the old grand pattern for scoundrels and heroes alike was gone? Bah, and right here in North Carolina--

But, alas, we read on to find that they were in fact petty sneak thieves who had carried off seven cows, one at a time, in a truck. Rustlers? Fooey!

Disagreement In Japan

Japanese names, like Japanese faces, are hard for the Occidental to distinguish. Ugaki and Araki, for example, sound as though they might be the Nipponese equivalent of the Gold Dust twins, but as a matter of fact they are two Cabinet ministers who represent the difference between a moderate and an extreme Japanese military policy.

All Japanese policy is military. As in the other Fascist nations, most of its public men wear uniforms. Under the tunics, however, hearts beat in different tempo--all for Japan, all for extension of the Empire, but some for conquest piecemeal and with a "a decent respect for the opinion of mankind," some for ruthless, reckless Japanese domination of Asia and the East, and hang the consequences!

Last May, Premiere Konoye shook up his Cabinet. For Foreign Minister, he chose the moderate Ugaki. For Minister of Education, corresponding somewhat to the German Minister of Propaganda, he chose the extremist Araki. Now Ugaki, probably dissatisfied with the way the war in China is going and disapproving of its extent has resigned, and the significance of it, in all likelihood, is that he believes Japan has bitten off more than she can chew.

Bumble's Victory--Addenda

In enumerating the things which Mr. Bumble got in return for turning Czechoslovakia over to the tender mercies of Adolf Hitler, making Hitler the greatest power of the Continent, establishing Fascism as the political pattern of that Continent, and turning his ally, France, back toward the status of a second-rate power, we have overlooked several which now begin to emerge.

For one thing, he seems from that post-conference by proclamation issued Friday, to have got Mr. Hitler's worthless promise never again to make claim for the old German colonies held by England, and not to try to build up his navy to equal England's. For another--and we should have thought of it in the first place--he has made himself solid with the war-fearing English masses. Next year, he will undoubtedly run, or have one of his stooges run, on the slogan, "He Kept Us Out of War!" And undoubtedly win--thus keeping his Tory party in power and assuring himself a free hand to go forward with his schemes.

Mr. Bumble, in short, seems to have been following out the policy which has so often been charged against him--that he was horse-trading in other people's property for the immediate (and highly dubious) safety of England and the holding of power for his crowd at home. And what makes that even less pleasant to contemplate is his own practical admission--almost his boast--of Friday, that he had planned to destroy Czechoslovakia all along.

Down Bear, Up Bourbons

The whole business in Europe, indeed, seems to be shaping up to something startlingly reminiscent of the days of the Congresses of Vienna and Verona, with Hitler playing the modern Metternich and Chamberlain the modern Castelreagh. Thus the coming "appeasement" conference seems to promise two things:

1--A four-power anti-Russian pact into which skeptical France will be dragged unhappily by the hair, and under which Adolf Hitler will be given a free hand to attempt to take over the Bear, and perhaps even active aid in the task. The slightly astonishing spectacle, that is, of one democracy dragging another democracy into alliance with a totalitarian State which, having sworn to destroy democracy by force, craves first the destruction of another totalitarianism which, though it undoubtedly yearns to destroy democracy, is at least not trying to do it by force.

2--The restoration of the incompetent and reactionary Bourbons to the throne of Spain under a "constitutional monarchy." If you don't remember, it was under "constitutional monarchies" that the Congresses of Vienna and Verona restored to the incompetent and reactionary Bourbons the throne of Spain. And it is precisely the conditions made by the Bourbons and their "constitutional monarchies" which have kept Spain in the throes of revolution for a hundred years. Ever since the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Spaniards have been trying to get rid of this family from around their necks and every time they have thrown it out, Britain, the democracy, has stepped in and forced them to take it back again.

Whole Hog or Nothing

Mr. Averill's story from Raleigh Friday had it that the State Board of Elections would recommend outright repeal, with no ifs, ands or buts about it, of the absentee ballot statute. The vote, he said, would be 4 to 1 or 3 to 2, depending on Chairman Lucas, though he hesitates to recommend outright appeal until he is satisfied that there is no way to make it fraud-proof.

Mr. Lucas has showed his mettle and his devotion to the integrity of the ballot, and there can be no questioning of his sincerity. But in reasoning out the thing, he shouldn't fail to give due consideration to these factors:

(1) That Legislatures which are strangely reluctant to repeal the absentee ballot law will be equally and as strangely reluctant to make it fraud-proof;

(2) That no matter how high-minded the Legislature's intentions, absentee balloting cannot be made fraud-proof so long as supervision over it is vested in petty poll officials chosen mainly because of their interest in or aptitude for ward politics.

The privilege of the absentee ballot is as nothing to the pain of it. Indeed, we second another newspaper's nomination of it as North Carolina's Public Enemy No. 1, with the amendment that it is at one and the same time Public Enemy No. 1 of both the Democratic and Republican Parties.


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