The Charlotte News

Tuesday, June 21, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Offsides" suggests that, while carping back and forth between parties and among disaffected partisans is as American as all the rest of the apple tree, certainly the level of discord and disharmony, as many veterans in Congress themselves have come to complain over the last several years, continues to reach new levels of acrimony in the country. By comparison to that which we have seen since circa 1994, that of which the editorial complains is downright chivalrous, with a coat laid in the mud to accommodate such that the mud created in the slinging doesn't despoil the President's shoes, even if a little gets in his eye.

Here's the rest for today. Too bad that innovative stuff going on in the Birmingham schools did not extend into smooth integration when it was finally ordered in 1954-55, or even into the state university at Tuscaloosa as late as 1963.

The letter to the editor, indicating that Soviet backing of the Loyalists in Spain was more dangerous to ultimate liberty there than the cutting off to them of arms from France, paving the way ultimately within nine months for the victory of Franco's fascist-backed Insurgents, bespeaks a point of view held by many at the time, held tragically, that fascism, seen by these somehow as relatively benign, provided the final bulwark to dreaded Communism, not only in Spain but in the rest of central Europe also, a point of view bemoaned below in "The Spanish Sale". Nevertheless, thus was paved the way for the thinking which led three months later to Chamberlain's concessions on the Sudetenland, resulting in Munich, and thus...

We note, too, that the previous year, The News editorial writer, not Cash then, had already thought of our suggestion that the Republic Cans might have avoided much toil and trouble by having a picnic with the NLRB and the President, etc., to resolve the various labor disputes afoot, something on the pattern set by the President's June, 1937 invitation to the Democratic Congressmen to gather around to resolve the confrontational issues of the day: reorganization of the executive branch bureaucracies, wage-and-hour limitations, WPA relief, and subsidies to sharecroppers and tenant farmers. It didn't seem to come off, that picnicking, all too well, maybe. Too many hotdogs and burgers, not enough discussion during the digestion, maybe.

Meanwhile, we hear more news from the Fayetteville Observer, that soon it would be announced that Johnson and Pemberton will have defeated Grant's army at Vicksburg. Yes, yes, all in good time, little Adolf, all in good time.

After and Therefore

We do not go so far, messires, as to tell you point-blank that it was cause and effect, for, after all, post hoc does not equal propter hoc. But it was pleasantly startling to observe what happened hard upon the heels of the launching of the salesmen's crusade here last week, and the prompt taking up of the idea by any number of other towns.

Yesterday the price of steel went up for the third week in succession, and production climbed back to 28 per cent of capacity. Copper gained 5.70 to 6.625. And shares on the stock exchange board when up $1 to $6 a share in the first broad upturn of two months, with Steel, Telephone, automobiles, International Harvester, Westinghouse, Du Pont and utilities in the lead. Cotton advanced, wheat rose 1 1-4 cents, rubber went up. The Federal Government bought 20,000,000 yards of cotton textiles, mainly from the mills of the Carolinas.

And out at Hoskins, the Chadwick-Hoskins Company announced that it will reopen two of its mills and put 550 people back to work.

And everybody, of course, who looked at this pleasant combination of good news, said to himself, "D'you suppose--could it be--is this the beginning of the end of the junior depression?" As to that, we couldn't say, but yesterday it got better, for a change, instead of worse; and all because of that sales crusade. Well, partly, anyhow.

No Common Ground

Two members of the American Olympic Committee have resigned in protest against the doctrine of Avery Brundage, president, that "sport transcends all political and racial considerations." They argue that American participation in the games to be held at Tokyo in 1940 can't possibly help peace and good will, and that we ought to stay out.

And, on the whole, they seem to us to have the best of the argument. It may be true that sport ought to transcend mere political and racial considerations. But it is not true that sport ought to transcend--the sporting attitude. That attitude is the essence of civilization. It recognized that men cannot live together in peace and good will save on the basis of fair play and on the basis of the acceptance of rules. And the plain fact is that Japan, like Germany, has utterly repudiated that attitude. Men who bomb women and babies and boast of it are as far removed from the sporting spirit as the Mongol hordes that followed Genghis Khan and Tamerlane.

Nor is there any use in pretending that games with such peoples promote kindly feeling. The games with Germany in 1936 certainly didn't promote it. The snide hissing of the Nazis when other nationals won, their strutting and blowing when a Nazi won, so disgusted our American delegation that it was all the committee could do to get home again without an open breach.

A Natural Park

Our Dot Knox undoubtedly has something there. It is a pleasant place, that old cemetery, planted on its long slope, with the church towering above it, the wind rustling in the trees and particularly in the great high-domed old oak on the eastern side. The cardinals fleck it with color, and the evening fireflies congregate there, and the church towers up in tall silhouette against the glaring sky over the town, to make what is probably the most magnificent sight Charlotte affords. Down at the lower end it is almost singularly unoccupied, and the old fashioned tombs and gravestones above sleep very peacefully now.

All it needs is some paths and benches, and the taking down of that barbaric barbed wire, to turn it into a perfectly glorious park. And in a town which hasn't a single downtown place where the wayfarer can pause to rest himself for a moment, it is a crying shame that it should go to waste. Sacrilege? An affront to the dead? That is the purest stuff and nonsense. The old monks and priests of Europe have been planting their dead under the floors of their cloisters and naves for a thousand years. And the celebrated cloister and cemetery of the Innocents was for many centuries the favorite strolling place of the Parisians. There's plenty of precedent for the same thing in the Protestant cloisters and churches of England, too. And as Miss Knox was pointing out yesterday, there is Southern precedent in the colonial cemetery at Savannah. The dead will not lie any the less quietly for the weary living who pause there in the daytime common or for the lovers who may come strolling and whispering there in the evening.


The Hon. Roy Woodruff, twenty years a Republican Representative in Congress from Michigan (Bay City), smells a mouse and frankly sniffs. Three and a half months ago, he reminds anybody who will listen, the President made a deal to syndicate transcripts of the press conferences and notes on his papers and public addresses. To lay the charge that he was using his office for private gain, the President's Secretary Early announced that the proceeds from these sales, which were considerable, would be devoted to some useful public purpose, which Congress would be asked to approve.

But oh-hoh! cries Mr. Woodruff. Congress has adjourned, and not a word did the President say about this useful public purpose. Perhaps, he announces cynically, he can think up one, or--and here he gets down to the meat in his coconut--

"Or perhaps the answer is that Mr. Early's statement stalled the criticism, thus serving its only purpose."

This readiness to impugn the President's common honesty is typical of a great number of people. And while we suppose it is their privilege, not liking his public character, to assail his private character, it is one thing for individuals to vent their cynicism and an entirely different thing for it to be vented officially. And the statement by Mr. Woodruff, himself a member of Congress, was issued through the Republican National Committee. And that's going too far, even for politics.

The Spanish Sale

Finis to the life of the Spanish Government appears to have been written in the decision of the French Cabinet to send a diplomatic mission to Franco and to close the French-Spanish frontier to train shipments of arms and munitions from Russia, Czechoslovakia and Poland. It all is a part of the Chamberlain plan, of course, the "realistic" Chamberlain plan to let Mussolini win his war in Spain against the Spanish people, and to hope that thereafter Mussolini will be appeased and will actually withdraw from Spain and be a good boy forever and ever, amen.

This is realism, all right--realism in the sense that Mr. Chamberlain cooly trades the autonomy of a proud nation for the promise of a treaty-breaker and murderer to twist no more the tail of the British Lion. It is realism in the sense that it has finally induced the French--the French Government, that is, not the French people--to let the Lion-tamer extend this fear of his influence jamb up against the French frontier. It is realism in the sense that it completes a bargain between Italy and England to which, in all probability, neither party is unreservedly committed--Italy because it breaks bargains as easily as it makes them, and England because a considerable part of the English people thoroughly despise the part which their nation is playing under Chamberlain.

But that is hypothesis. The fact appears to be that Chamberlain, an Englishman, has just sold out the Spanish Government to Mussolini, an Italian. And somehow that is saddening.

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