The Charlotte News
Wednesday, July 12, 1939
Site Ed. Note: Another letter to the editor from Tillie Eulenspiegel...
Some Candidates For Congress
Your editorial on filibusters in Saturday's News went straight to my heart, filibusters being a cross I have to bear. I don't understand them. I don't understand why they have to be. I've always thought Congressmen and Senators went to Washington to make our laws, and not drone on for days at a time to prevent bills from being heard, so that the laws can be neither passed nor voted down. It's all very strange.
It reminds me of my school days. The smartest student in the class--from the viewpoint of his classmates--was the one who could engage the teacher in some sort of argument and keep her from getting to the lesson. Many a time I have myself said something like, "Now, I don't exactly understand what you mean by 'ethical.' Where does ethics come into this case?" And the teacher would bridle, her eyes would brighten, her nostrils would flair, and she'd rush into a dissertation like an old fire horse answering the gong. And we'd settled down into a beautiful, comfortable apathy, knowing there'd be no brain-fagging lesson that day.
Is it possible that any smart schoolboy would make a good representative of the people in Congress? Let us look to our debating teams. Let us look to my Aunt Lula. She filibusters my Uncle Egbert right out of the house. Aunt Lula for Congress.
Words In Reverse
A New Contribution To The Fascist Lexicon
One of the most interesting contributions to the new lexicography rapidly being created by the Nazis and Fascists comes from General Franco's Spain. The 69-year-old professor, Julian Besteiro, who was the last head of the Loyalist Government and who arranged the surrender to Franco, is to be tried--on the charge of "aiding the rebellion."
The government which he headed, you understand, was the duly elected and constitutional government of Spain--the government established by the last vote of the people. And it was General Franco who was actually the rebel, as that word has always been understood. But the Fascist lexicography revises old meanings. General Franco was a Fascist. General Franco was busily bringing in foreign troops to murder Spanish women and babies, and setting the hated Moor back on Spanish soil again, to be its master. And so, under the Fascist logic, every loyal Spaniard was bound immediately to recognize him as the legitimate government of Spain, to ignore the expressed will of the people and to abandon the government they had set up under pain of being adjudged guilty of high treason. And so the old professor must, in all probability, hang as a rebel.
It is as though Father Coughlin should tomorrow raise a rebellion against Washington and, having won, should try and hang President Roosevelt, on the ground that his failure to submit at once and ignore the overwhelming vote of the people constituted treason to himself (Coughlin) and to the United States.
Site Ed. Note: The University of Virginia online collection maintains Ellis's On Life and Sex: Essays on Love and Virtue, two volumes first published in 1921 and 1931 and republished as one in 1937. Also available online is his six-volume tome, referenced below, Studies in the Psychology of Sex. And, not to worry, though racy it was perhaps in 1898, it is quite clinical and tame by our decades-old post-Victorian standards. His Dance of Life is available also, but only if you are in Australia. ('ey, aren't we all, mate?)
A Great Scientist, He Was Also A Great Artist
Havelock Ellis who died in England Monday was one of the greatest scientists the English-speaking peoples have produced. When he came on the scene with the first volumes of the "Studies in the Psychology of Sex" back in the 1890s, he encountered a generation which probably had the most benighted attitude toward the theme which the human race has ever exhibited. Though sex is obviously bound up with the happiness or unhappiness of every human creature alive, the convention of the times outran even the most rigid savage taboo, and decreed that everybody should pretend it just didn't exist. And so, of course, Ellis was made the target of an overwhelming outburst of abuse--called indecent and obscene--was formally so adjudged by an Old Bailey jury in 1898. And it was not until well up in the 1930's that a citizen of the United States could buy the volumes without signing an affidavit that he was a medical doctor, a minister, or a lawyer.
Nevertheless, Ellis lived to see--the human race grow wholly rational about the theme? Not that, but to see it at least absorb a great deal of the knowledge he had dug up and grow more rational.
But he was not only a great scientist, but one of the largest and quietest minds of our time. In such books as "The Dance of Life," he revealed himself as a great artist, and set forth what is perhaps the most lucid and most comprehensive view of life which has come out of the generation which in general has been remarkable for piecemeal observation rather than broad perspective.
What Made 'Em Vote
An Issue Greatly Important To Us Is Settled For All Sorts Of Reasons Besides Conviction
It is interesting to observe how they lined up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday on that vote to ignore the President and Mr. Hull and defer consideration of the Neutrality Bill until the next session of Congress.
Not a Republican voted to report the measure out. Of those, Borah and Hiram Johnson may be given full credit for honest conviction, for both are isolationists of old standing. They have a personal stake in the matter now, of course--a sort of vested interest, seeing that if it were admitted at this late date that isolationism is unworkable, they would look a little silly. But that sort of thing enters into the honest judgment of all men. Maybe LaFollette ought to be set down for honest conviction also, for his father was one of the early and determined isolationists. Nevertheless, it is worth recording that he comes from Wisconsin, the state with the largest population of German extraction, and that in his speeches during the session he has repeatedly revealed strong pro-German sympathies. It is no secret that this bill, while standing on the strict letter of our rights under international law, would have worked out to favor England and France rather than Germany.
But it is safe to say that for the rest--Vandenberg, White of Maine, Capper of Kansas,--the prevailing motives were something else than honest conviction, for none of them has any standing as old isolationists. First, as in the case of Vandenberg, the natural will of one prima donna to slap another in the face at every opportunity. Secondly, the delight of partisans in venting their spite against anybody on the other side, and particularly against anybody who has twice trounced the Republican Party as dreadfully as Mr. Roosevelt has. And thirdly, the canny believe that if the President is slapped often enough, he will lose face with the people, and Republican victory in 1940 will be made easier.
Well, and who joined the Republicans to make up that majority of 12 to 11? Shipstead, a Farmer-Laborite, who has some evidence for being an isolationist, but who also comes from a heavily German state. And these Democrats: Robert Rice Reynolds, Van Nuys of Indiana, George of Georgia, and Gillette of Iowa.
Robert, of course, makes no secret of his scorn for Britain and France; and besides probably had some scores to settle with the President, who obviously doesn't approve of his campaign to stir up hate in the country.
The other four are virulent anti-New Dealers, whom the President sought to get defeated in the last election--in the case of George and Gillette quite openly, in the case of Van Nuys and Clark almost openly. Their prevailing motive was undoubtedly the desire for revenge. And for George and Gillette, it must have been particularly sweet, since it was their votes which settled the issue.
Two votes for honest conviction; two more that may be honest conviction or pro-Germanism or both; three for partisanship; one mainly for pro-Germanism; and four for vengeance--in that fashion was settled one of the most important issues which any recent Congress has faced.
And it is important--not because it will deprive England and France of a great quantity of arms if war comes, but because it will inevitably be taken in Germany as indicating what our probable course in the future will be, and so encourage Hitler to risk war. The tragedy of that, for us, is that it is probably a totally false harbinger of what we will actually do if war comes--and that our best chance of staying out of war probably lies in heading off war in Europe in the first place.
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