The Charlotte News

Sunday, April 2, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Added previously, the other editorial of this date, "Was It Hesitation--Or Guile?", regarding Hitler's Wilhemshaven speech the previous day, we maintain separately here.

Cash also contributed "Country Boys Write Better Books" on the book-page of this date.

Stags and the Huntress

The boys at Davidson are at it again. Yesterday they announced for the warning of all the little pretties with designs for taking husbands from among them, that they had voted on the kind of gal they would marry and that they concluded overwhelmingly that it will be thumbs down for those who smoke and sip cocktails, for those who use heavy make-up and paint their fingernails red, and for those who go in for mysterious perfumes--and that what they want is a natural, frank [indiscernible word] (well, almost natural anyhow: they admitted that one without any make-up at all might look dreadful) and not beauty but intelligence.

All of which no doubt set the pretties to giggling behind their hands. After all, it was April Fool's Day yesterday. Not that the boys didn't solemnly mean it. They did. But that, as the girls, with the sly wisdom of their guild, know without being told, is a very old phenomenon. The boys resolved just like that in our time at college. So did they in Grandpop's time. And no doubt the Cro-Magnon lads used to do the same with each returning April. But in the end, the boys were only thinking, and Nature has no use at all for thinking when it comes to mating time. What will happen to each and every one of them--what has already happened to many of them, the hypocrites--is that a little smoothie will cross his vision, their glances will meet, and straightway she, in the living flesh, red fingernails and all, will become the ideal measure of all his notions. Have her he must, and his recorded vote won't even occur to him.

To cooly apply such standards as they set up yesterday, the boys would have to wait until all their hair and most of their teeth were gone. And it wouldn't be any fun then. Nor could they make any time even with the sensible ones who are left.

Now Is the Time...*

The developing move described elsewhere in today's paper to put a weightier list of citizens in the field for City offices is one which we shall watch with a great deal of interest. A good many people, ourselves among them, have uneasy suspicions that something sinister threatens in municipal politics, has already begun to smoulder under the surface, that the wrong crowd, wrong by almost any standards, is trying to get hold of the machinery of the City Government for purposes that bode no good for it, us or them.

Now is the time--if the virtue of capable city management and the integrity of the Council are to be preserved--for all good citizens to come to the aid of their government. The situation calls for volunteers and strength, for the other crowd is believed to be well-organized and well-heeled with funds from sources that are, to say the least, questionable.

A Phoney Wins

The guild spirit won out among the boys in the Legislature. The Governor said he wanted a law about the markers and primaries. So they gave him one. But not one to remedy the abuses in that system. But one to replace the professional marker by the election officials--to make these the instrument of the fraudulent practices they are supposed to judge and eliminate! The claim is made, of course, that these men can be trusted: that they are entirely honest. But who believes it? Honest men they may be in their private capacity. But most of them are party men, thoroughly trained in the doctrine that the Democratic Party and their own clique in it are ends which justify any means. Moreover, the abolition of the professional marker is made to apply only to the Democratic primaries and not to elections.

In its essence it is simply a law, designed to hold on to all the old fraudulent devices of vote-buying and vote-intimidation for the benefit of the party and the clique to which the boys belong, while pretending to [indiscernible word]. And so we wish that Representative [indiscernible word] might have been speaking the certain truth when he warned that the people are apt to get mad at such brazen measures and "turn us rascals out." But is there much evidence that it is true? Unfortunately, there isn't. Someday perhaps--even surely. But as yet it is hard to see anything but apathy. And no people, of course, deserves any better government than it asks for.

Arrival of Mr. Ritch

The late Will Hall used to have an expression he applied to himself. Generally ridiculed because of his fondness for raising controversies with public servants, he finally became a public servant himself--a County Commissioner and a pretty good one. The people, he said, "had imbued him with respectability."

The elevation of Mr. Marvin Ritch has been equally astonishing. A few short years ago Mr. Ritch, hereinafter to be referred to by his short title of Philly, was a rabid Republican (whatever Philly is, he rabidly is). One fine day, between the going down and the rising of the sun, he became a Democrat, and since there is no law against becoming a Democrat, there was nothing that his self-selected fraters of the majority party could do about it. Thereafter he set out to make himself the champion of the aged and infirm, and he succeeded in at least two particulars. He succeeded, that is, in vexing the County Welfare Board into a purplish rage, and he succeeded in becoming known as a true friend to the common people.

So Philly, not at all to his own surprise but to the consternation of a great many other people, notably the organized Democrats, was elected to the Legislature, where he settled down, caught step with the wheel-horses and in due course, became so imbued with Democratic respectability that he was elected a trustee of the University of North Carolina, a place for which his mouth watered.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you Mr. Marvin L. Ritch--an amiable fellow, on the whole, whose obstreperous phase was succeeded by an abiding tractability and who arrived at his chosen destination by a most remarkable series of detours.

Coming Event*

The House Veterans Committee voted down last week a proposal to pay a pension of $40 a month to every veteran of any war, regardless of the state of his health, earning capacity, bank account or any other factor save that he had served for a period with his country's armed forces and had reached the age of 65. This is the notorious general pension which has come about after every war and which imposes a maximum load on the Treasury some 45 years after peace.

It was voted down, we say, this time. But, mark you, there will be other times, and in the course of them the bulk of World War veterans, now in their forties, will take stock of their advancing infirmities and forget the high idealism of their enlistment to save democracy and in the end compel the facile politicians to do their bidding and to put them down for a monthly hand-out, thereby compounding an assault against a principle of democracy, basic for all its neglect; that no man, simply because he did what was expected of him and what he had to do, is entitled to emoluments over and above the body of the people.


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