The Charlotte News

Wednesday, September 14, 1938


Site Ed. Note: For more on U.N.C. sociologist Howard Odum, as discussed in "Tell It Not in Gath", see the note accompanying "Man to Honor", June 27, 1939.

For more on "Ol' 42" as also discussed in the same editorial, see "Ol' 42 Up", October 19, 1939, "Ol' 42", September 22, 1940, and "Not So Bad", March 12, 1941.

That Relieved Feeling

Nobody, of course, had any fear that the hospital bond election would fail to go over. Well, not much, anyhow. There didn't seem to be a great deal of opposition, and that was scattered and unorganized. The proponents were organized to the hilt.

Still, in any election, on no matter how open-and-shut a proposition, you can't tell for a dead certainty, until the votes are in and counted. And when it's all over and the dye is cast for better or for worse and you find that the result is just what the doctor ordered--oh, boy, ain't it a grand and glorious feeling!

Speaking of Plebiscites

The ingenious Mr. Chamberlain, who breeds "plans" as a pup breeds fleas in August, has begotten another one. This time he has plumped for Mr. Hitler's "self-determination," and is reported to be preparing to try to force the Czechs to submit to a plebiscite as to whether or not the Sudeten Germans shall be allowed to amalgamate with Germany.

And that being so, why, then it is a logical assumption that Mr. Chamberlain is prepared to order plebiscites in a great many places where the business would be wholly in his power. He will certainly order one in the Kenya province of South Africa, which is almost entirely inhabited by Germans who are very fond of Nazism and who hate British rule quite as hotly as the Sudetens hate Czech rule. Yes, and in Palestine, where the "poor Arabs," to whom Mr. Hitler referred so touchingly in the same speech where he set forth his view of "self-determination," are very bitter in their demands for their right to cast off the British yoke in a country that has been theirs for 1,300 years. And then, too, to be sure, there is India... There, indeed, is a country which pants and hones for "self-determination," and where a plebiscite would really be welcomed.

But--but--why, all this is to propose to destroy the British Empire, and of course, Mr. Chamberlain would be expected to carry his devotion to "self-determination" that far? All right, but what he is proposing for Czechoslovakia involves exactly the destruction of Czechoslovakia too. For the Sudeten areas are the military key to the republic--and to all Mitteleuropa for that matter. And once Mr. Hitler takes them, he can carry out the announced intentions of "Mein Kampf," and take the rest of the it at will.

Heart of Czechoslovakia

Not only are the Sudeten areas the military key to Czechoslovakia (see above) and the Sudetes mountains a natural barrier to the eastward ambitions of Adolf Hitler. This Bohemian province, in the northeast of which Germans predominate, is the industrial heart of the Czech nation. Britain and France may be planning to parcel it out, as is reported, in order to appease the bellicose Mr. Hitler, but Czechoslovakia will never sign its own death warrant.

Were the Sudetens to secede from the Czech nation into the German fold, the first result would be the loss of two, perhaps three, Czech fortifications. Naturally, fortifications are placed immediately behind frontiers. Were this dismemberment to take place, Czechoslovakia would be menaced by her own guns and overawed by her own fortifications. Prague, the Czech capital, would be almost within rifle shot of its worst and most aggressive enemy. Valuable coal deposits and Czechoslovakia's second-largest wheat-producing area would fall into German hands. Textile mills, metal industries--these too would become German acquisitions.

The dismemberment and partitioning of Germany and the inclusion of the Sudeten areas in the synthetic Czech state by the Versailles map-makers was, it must be conceded, an original sin now being visited upon the second generation. But Germany had lost a war of her own seeking. She now sets out to regain those possessions, and the coldly practical questions for England and France to answer are:

1. Will she go as far as war to regain them?

2. Regained, will she use them as the means of further conquests continually threatening war?

They Will Happen

The political career of Governor Olin Johnston of South Carolina, in its culmination in the historic atmosphere of Columbia's state house, has been distinguished chiefly by dependence upon--

1. The Militia.

2. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Once allegations of irregularity in the primary voting at Charleston were made by the defeated gubernatorial candidate, obviously Mr. Roosevelt could be of no help at all. That left the militia, which Governor Johnston promptly called out and ordered to take possession of the paraphernalia of Charleston County's 20,000-vote majority for Maybank. It was only a distressing accident that in the carrying out of this order a soldier's pistol went off and wounded a bystander, but such accidents are almost bound to happen when a State official or anybody else plays too freely and too frequently with guns.

Maine's Small Voice

Time was when Maine's election of Representatives in Congress would have impinged with greater effect on the composition of that body. Northernmost and easternmost state, Maine entered the Union in 1820 and was assigned, according to the method of apportioning representation, seven seats in Congress out of 184. After the census of 1830, this number had increased to eight out of 242, but as the admission of new states, the opening of the West and the increase of population by births and immigration caused the placing of new upholstered seats for Congressmen, Maine's representation decreased numerically and proportionately. In the 1830's she was down to three out of 357: and after the census of 1930, when for each 279,712 population or major faction a state was entitled to a seat in the House, Maine had only three out of 435.

At that, however, in 1930 Maine was the 35th most populous state. Her allotment of three Congressional places exceeded that of Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Utah, with two each, and Arizona, Delaware, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont and Wyoming with only a single Representative (but two Senators) apiece. New York tops the list, of course, with 45, followed by Illinois and Ohio with 27 and 24 respectively. North Carolina, 12th in population, has 11.

Incidentally, we have just accomplished the feat of writing a piece about Maine without making quip or crack about "as Maine goes, so goes" (a) the nation, (b) Vermont.

Tell It Not In Gath

The South is in danger of cutting off its nose to spite its face. Newspapers all over Dixie are still feeding their indignation by a constant yapping about that Report on Economic Conditions of the South by the National Emergency Council, and the chorus of resentment is joined by falsetto barks from other quarters.

The Young Democrats in North Carolina for example. At their Durham convention they adopted a significant resolution:

We approve economic and social surveys of the entire country: remaining forever proud of the Southland, we do not fear any discussion of its problems which presents all the facts...

The Young Democrats would have to approve, then, Dr. Howard Odum's monumental tome, "Southern Regions." It is a survey, economic and social, of the entire country, but of the East and the Central States and the Western States only incidentally to Dr. Odum's main purposes. That was to show the relative deficiency of the Southern regions in nearly every phase of economic and social standards. He painted a far worse picture than the National Emergency Council, on a more extensive scale, of what the South lacks to bring it up to other sections.

Ourselves, we have grown into the habit of calling North Carolina "Ol' 42" because of its tendency to stick around 42nd place in any table listing the states in the order of their wealth and general enlightenment. Our affection for the state does not blind us to the fact that in spite of its celebrated progress it is still far closer to the bottom than the top. Is this heresy? In any case, it's the sad truth.


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