The Charlotte News

Wednesday, June 22, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "Revelation in History" tells quickly the long confusing train to get to the Republican Party founded in 1854, out of the Federalists (who were actually more economic Royalists than anything else--as the Republicans typically still are, especially now, like never before, in fact--now that the voters in their grand wisdom have anointed them with all the power to be provided in this country, the most power any party has enjoyed since the Democrats during the New Deal--to the same end of the New Deal? In Oz, perhaps; not elsewhere.)

And the poetry battle continues this date on the other side of the page. (We cannot resist, d'ear Maude, suggestin' that "begorra" does not, e'cept, of cose, in the Sauth, r'hime with tomorra.)

We'll skip along now as we are being beset right now by some quite improvident fascists--who may soon be named here, by name, if they continue in their fascist ways toward us or anyone else--and so, good night and good luck. "Is that a threat?" these fascists always ask. Yes, we say in response, it most certainly is, Fascist. And?

Function of a Statesman

What may be the function of a statesman from South Carolina, home of the Pinkneys, the Rutledges, the Lowndes, and Calhoun, the three candidates for the United States Senate apparently had no doubt at all yesterday at Camden.

Said Senator Cotton Ed Smith, aspiring to succeed himself,

"For 30 long years you have given me a majority and I have kept the faith."

And went on to explain that keeping the faith consisted of getting things from Uncle Sam for South Carolina farmers.

Said Edgar Brown, aspiring to take over Cotton Ed's toga,

"You want somebody who can go to Washington and do things for you and bring home the bacon."

Said Governor Olin D. Johnston, aspiring to beat Mr. Brown in taking over Cotton Ed's toga,

"I have no apologies to make because Roosevelt is my friend and I am his friend. I wouldn't be in a position where I couldn't to him and ask for something."

Platform for Candidates*

Sometime ago a land-planning consultant of the FHA came to Charlotte, and while he was complimentary in general about the city we have here, he expressed amazement that it had a zoning ordinance whatsoever. In fact, he said that in his opinion no city in the United States needed quite so badly to be zoned.

This brought forth comment from the City Council, much of it favorable to zoning. Mayor Douglas said he thought Charlotte should have a "reasonable" zoning law, and several of the Councilmen sounded interested. One or two of them, however, were predisposed against it.

It is understandable why this municipal administration, which is an excellent one, is not on the lookout for more worlds to conquer. The Douglas regime has undertaken several big jobs, notably the waterworks project; the times are not propitious to further improvements, which have a way of costing money; and, besides, zoning and the establishment of new building lines are controversial subjects, sure to arouse much dissension. If they are to be done, it will be under the impetus of some fresh administration zealous to remake the city.

And the wish is father to the thought that perhaps the next crowd will go into office on a platform of city planning, a broad term which takes in zoning, street-widening, and the eradication of slums. There is no more challenging objective, and we hope that the seed will germaninate.

Doubtful Victory*

If Mr. Victor Christgau is right, it is a very dubious victory the New Deal has eked out in the Minnesota primary--provided Governor Elmer Austin Benson, New Dealish Farmer-Laborite, continues to hold his slim 9,000 votes lead over non-New Dealish Farmer-Laborite Hjalmer Petersen. Mr. Christgau is a former Republican Congressman who has been bossing WPA in Minnesota, and ignoring Governor Benson. And last week he was summarily fired by Harry Hopkins. Reason, said Mr. Christgau, was that he refused to spend $750,000 of WPA money on a weed-pulling project sponsored by Governor Benson by way of advancing his own political interests, and because Governor Benson needed desperately the 79,000 votes of WPA jobholders.

And if that is so--well, if Governor Benson, with all the State machine of the Farmer-Labor Party, all the State jobholders, and the WPA at his command, still can muster a load of only 9,000 votes, it obviously looks none too safe for him in the election this Fall.

What looks even more ominous is that the Farmer-Labor vote ran in the unexpected total of more than 350,000, as compared with 181,000 Republican votes and only 55,000 Democratic. And Petersen's share of that vote was more than 175,000. That is due, the political observers say, to the fact that conservatives of all parties left their own camps to register their dislike for the New Deal by voting for Petersen. And if their dislike of the New Deal should still dominate them in the Fall, the Republican candidate might easily be elected.

The Shamed Germans

Of the Jew-baiting in Berlin, the Associated Press reports that "many Germans went out of their way to assure foreigners how ashamed they were" about the whole sadistic performance. And that is excellent news for people who prefer to believe that in the long run the land of Goethe is not going to sink back into savagery.

Of course, there are many millions of Germans who have hung their heads about this sort of business all along. Decent Germans may be loyal Nazis, on the ground that Hitler is necessary and he gets things done, but decent Germans, like decent men and women everywhere, in their hearts despise senseless brutality. But they have not dared to speak out about it before, even to foreigners. It was too dangerous. Under Nazi law, the thing is definitely lese majeste. If their words got back to the authorities, the least that can be expected would be a year in a concentration camp.

But it is no less dangerous now than in the past. And if they speak out now, it would seem to argue that they are thoroughly disgusted and angry. And when men begin to get so disgusted and angry that they speak out in the face of concentration camps, they are falling into a mood which does not augur well for dictators.

Revelation in History

"It was on principles laid down by Thomas Jefferson that our party was founded... Whenever the Republican Party has departed from Jeffersonian principles it has not been true to itself..."

Thus the Hon. John D. M. Hamilton, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, before the Alabama State Republican Convention at Birmingham, Ala., at noon on Wednesday, June 22.

Where the hon. gentleman got his history we can't imagine. It had been our innocent notion that the Republican Party, as we know it, was founded in 1854, that it was made up a of Whigs, Know Nothings, and Abolitionists, and that it was the direct heir, through the Whigs, of the Federalist tradition of Alexander Hamilton, the great opponent of Jefferson.

But certainly if we take Mr. Hamilton at his word, it is an awful lot of explaining he is going to have to do. Jefferson's fundamental principles were: (1) a highly decentralized Federal Government, (2) championship of the underdog. But from the hour of its organization right on down until Franklin Roosevelt's second administration, when it began suddenly and astoundingly to discover that it was in favor of States' Rights, that party has been the consistent champion of: (1) a highly decentralized Federal Government, and (2) the top dog. That is, if Mr. Hamilton's second statement is correct, his party has spent about 80 of the 84 years of its existence being untrue to itself...

WPA Forever*

A flat refusal by the welfare superintendent of Granville County to void Mrs. Betty Powell's WPA eligibility unless her son looks after her adequately, brings up again a matter that is much too intimate for newspaper discussion, and yet, since it bears on fundamentals of relief and the Mosaic Code and simple common sense, is particularly worth discussing. Mrs. Powell's son is Charles G. Powell, $5,500-a-year chairman of the State Unemployment Compensation Commission, and he has said that she is well provided for. The relief authorities, however, insist that she has a "budgetary deficiency."

But who, when it comes to that, hasn't a "budgetary deficiency?" It's only another term for not enough money. A budgetary sufficiency, according to standards established in the awarding of old age pensions, is $30 a month, and it is inconceivable that Mrs. Powell does not receive that much or twice that much, if she needs it, out of her son's $460 pay check.

And assuming this to be so, when has it devolved upon WPA to support nice old ladies with competent sons in the style to which they would like to be supported by their children? WPA came into being that no one should starve. If it is to displace or, as in this instance, to complement the Fifth Commandment, then Heaven knows the damage to our national fiscal condition is going to be exceeded only by the damage to our national character, and the days of WPA are going to be long in the land.

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