The Charlotte News

Saturday, April 30, 1938


Site Ed. Note: As to "Under the Circumstances", it is not 1938 anymore; so should the United Methodist Church, or for that matter the Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Baptists, what have you, ever truly unite and integrate their churches across color lines, across the railroad tracks, well, wouldn't that be a hell of a Christian day's true services finally? Until then, the rest is pure babbling brook hypocrisy.

We include, also from the page of this date, the below editorial by Heywood Broun:

Third Term For F.D.R.

By Heywood Broun

It is a sound American tradition which holds that no Chief Executive of the nation should have a third consecutive term. And so it might be a good strategy for Franklin Delano Roosevelt to announce that after his re-election in 1940 he will serve no more.

To me it is unthinkable that he should not be a candidate to succeed himself two years hence. There is no one else who can maintain the gains which progressive government has made in the last few years.

I thoroughly agree with many of the criticisms which have been directed against Mr. Roosevelt. It seems to me that he has proceeded with an excess of caution and that on all too many occasions he has held out an olive branch instead of a hickory stick. He has played with forces which have welcomed periods of truce only as opportunities to undermine and undercut all his liberal policies.


And at times the technique of the man in the White House has been singularly inept judged by any political yardstick whatsoever. I refer to those occasions upon which Mr. Roosevelt has succeeded in alienating his supporters and maddening his foes with one and the same gestures.

But all this should be skipped by those who are interested in the forward march of liberal policies in America. This can be proved by a simple laboratory test. Let any progressive take a pencil and a piece of paper and set down the names of those who are available to carry on New Deal policies.

Nor can the worth and ability of the potential candidate be the sole consideration. The man to be named upon your trial balance sheet must also have some chance of nomination and election.


A small group tried it the other night, and we ended up with Lehman, Minton, Schwellenbach and Harry Hopkins. Most of the support among the members of this particular small cross-section went to Hopkins, but there was no one who seriously thought he could get by the Democratic delegates, let alone the voters, in 1940.

La Guardia is a progressive, but his only chance of a major party nomination lies with the Republicans, and that party most certainly is not going to choose a liberal as its standard bearer. At the moment the GOP leaders feel that they are sitting pretty, and that they can win with anybody. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them pick Bruce Barton.

The La Follettes--Phil and Bob--are liberals and behaving very much like old-line liberals of the moment. There is a fatal tendency among men of that persuasion to step out and strut their stuff at the very moment when it will do the adversaries the most good.


Now that the Governor and the Senator have indicated a breach with Roosevelt, their Republican associates are beginning to kid them along and say that Bob and Phil are not such bad skates after all. If either La Follette runs in 1940, he will have to do so on a third ticket, and it will be an adventure calculated to make the election safe for a Republican reactionary.

Friends of the President seem to be of the opinion that he wants to get out at the end of his term. That's irrelevant. Mr. Roosevelt's wishes in the matter are not important. Progressives must draft him, and they must get behind him now. He is no longer an individual. He has become a symbol, and once that symbol has been pushed aside the voter will find himself in the hopeless spot of having to decide between Vandenberg or Byrd or make some other selection equally fruitless. Franklin D. Roosevelt is the only one who can save the progressives of America from becoming Hobson choosers.

They Live in April

Tomorrow is May 1, a day inaugurating a month in which Charlotte, if it keeps its schedule, will kill at least three persons. On May 31 we will be able to carry the list of the dead, explaining how it happened. Just at present the doomed individuals are living and, we hope, enjoying life very much, for their time is short.

On past performances we may be permitted to guess what will take place. One will be killed in an automobile accident because he or someone else will choose a fatal moment to drive recklessly. A second will be a Negro man who returns to the home of his girl friend to find a rival enjoying her charms and goes berserk. The third will result from the high passions following a contested crap game or a game of skin. We may be wrong on the details, but it is almost inevitable that by the end of May three persons now living will be dead through violence. It is a ghastly thing to look forward to, but we may as well be realistic if anything ever is to be done about it.

Under the Circumstances

The overwhelming vote of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in favor of merging with the Northern branches of the church, is news of the first order. John Wesley, observing Negro slavery in Georgia, pronounced it the most damnable that had ever existed under the sun, and before 1800 the American Methodists adopted a rule under which slave-owning became ground for dismissal from the communion. But Eli Whitney's invention of the gin and the great spread of the cotton plantation made that impossible of enforcement in the South. And when, in 1844, the church suspended a Louisiana bishop for owning Negroes, the Southerners broke completely with their Northern brethren and set up their own church. It was the first overt rupture between North and South, the first certain herald of the Civil War.

And the conclusive vote in favor of union is undoubtedly greatly and genuinely significant of the healing at last of the breach between North and South. It is quite true that the Southern church still draws the color line sharply. And it probably will be much criticized for presuming to measure out the love and grace of Jesus Christ within the limits of its own prejudices. But as a matter of fact, it is undoubtedly doing the best it can under the circumstances. For better or for worse, the Southern position on the Negro exists, and must be dealt with as a fact. The Southern church's position is as liberal as is possible in view of the feeling of its membership. And the Northern church shows good sense--better sense than it once showed--in recognizing as much, and refusing to push a doctrine to the point of making union impossible.

Cuckoo Economics

Mr. Joseph B. Keenan, who enjoys a nice job as assistant to the Attorney General of the United States, told the Southeastern Conference of Women at Columbia Wednesday that the public works in buildings on which the New Deal has poured out staggering sums should be regarded as "capital assets."

Which seems about the height of something or other.

Old Adam Smith defined capital as "that part of a man's stock which he expects to afford him revenue." And modern economists have expanded that slightly punitive definition to make it read: "An aggregation of goods used to promote the production of other goods."

Granted at once, public works and buildings do, within limits, fall within the latter definition. Within limits, they can, and sometimes do, make for increased production. But how about abandoning a post office perfectly adequate to serve a village for 50 years, and throwing up a duplicate of the Louvre in its place? How about junking high schools already huge and grand enough to house a couple of European universities and building others, on the model of the United States Steel Works, to take care of the possibilities of the next 500 years? Or about laying down hard surface pikes on roads along which one automobile passes every other day? Or dredging obscure creeks and rivers to make waterways with which to choke the railroads to death?

Obviously, public works are "capital assets" only so far as they are justified by need, only so far as they actively contribute enough to production to repay the people at least what they have paid for them. Beyond that, they become simply silly extravagances, fit for nothing but the breeding of more jobholders to fill them up and man them.

Return to the Attack

The President's thorough-going message on monopoly opens up for discussion one of the most complicated, the most baffling and the most important questions of our time. Monopoly has been condemned as intolerable in every political platform for more than the last 30 years. The admirable Democratic platform of 1932 condemned it, and the Republican monopoly plank in 1936 was lifted almost bodily from the Democratic platform of 1912, when Wilson came into office.

Wilson was going to do something about the trend of concentrated wealth and industrial power, but the war broke up his plans. The series of Republicans who followed him hesitated to move a finger lest it awaken the country from its dream of everlasting prosperity, and when Roosevelt succeeded Hoover, his first job was to revive the prostrate economy of the country as soon as possible, and hang the incidental adjustments. Five years later he returns to his original objective, though unfortunately in the midst of a depression quite as severe, if not yet of such duration, as the depression which saw him into power.

It is an essentially democratic reform he undertakes, apparently by the democratic methods of thorough examination and considered legislation. It is a complete reversal of the NRA idea, which legalized monopoly in exchange for submission to bureaucratic governmental regulation. It may lead us into something of a commercial Utopia or it may not, but in all events it is worth trying, for we are getting nowhere fast under our present system.

The Poor Rich

One facet of the glittering monopoly issue, the President neglects to present. In 1935-36, he reports,

"Forty-seven per cent of all American families and single individuals living alone had incomes of less than $1,000 for the year; at the other end of the ladder a little less than one and a half per cent of the nation's families received incomes which in dollars and cents reached the same total as the incomes of the 47 per cent at the bottom."

Ah, yes; this is bad, and something should be done about it. Indeed, something is being done about it. In 1935, for example, 41 persons had net incomes in excess of $1,000,000, and the aggregate of their incomes was $73,631,000. At best they paid in income taxes to the Federal Government alone $41,500,000. State income taxes took millions more on top of that. Federal taxes, moreover, have been raised since that year.

To be sure, our millionaires had enough left to keep the wolf away from the door. But it cannot be denied that income taxes, running all the way up to 79%, are an ever-present guest at the parties of the rich, or that share-the-wealth theories have been put into operation--with a vengeance.


Thursday a man who runs a filling station ordered a Negro employee to do a job which the Negro declined to do. Then he ordered the Negro to get off the place. The black man did not obey and cursed the white man. But it does not appear that the black man made any move to attack the white man.

And so--did the white man play the law-abiding citizen and call the cops to remove the stubborn black from his premises, or to jail him for creating a disturbance? He did not. He took matters into his own hands. He got his gun and started shooting. He says he only shot at the Negro's feet to scare him, after the fashion Western bad men use in the movies, but somehow one of these bullets lodged in the Negro's knee.

And the reason we bring this incident up at all is to ask the Police Department, in all innocence, why a warrant was not issued for the white man, at the very least for shooting a gun in the city?


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