The Charlotte News

Friday, August 19, 1938


Site Ed. Note: "A Little Exaggerated" suggests by reverse implication that which in part may have lain behind the administration's political purge of certain pols in the South, pols entrenched for the long ride, and despite their basic support for New Deal principles.

"Dewey Is the Name" asserts correct predictions for the prosecutor's ride to the top of the Republican ticket by 1944, as well again in 1948--the year he became President, at least in Chicago. It is a bit of the irony of history that Harry Truman, who came through the local ranks endowed by the Pendergast political machine out of Kansas City, has ultimately received the seal of approval from history for his years in the White House, while Dewey, the tireless fighter of corruption, who made his reputation cleaning out the royal seat of political machines, Tammany Hall, is remembered, by and large, only for an erroneous headline, a pronounced gap in his front teeth, a moustache, and an otherwise ignominious departure from the public stage in defeat twice in succession for the highest office, the second to an upstart with a high school diploma, two-term Senator, less than three months as Vice-President, before being thrust into the position of not only the ordinary weight of the Presidency but that of the dubious task of ending the War in the Pacific and doing so quickly on the heels of the victory by the Allies in Europe. With this upstart, however, having accomplished that in four months, and having presided over the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, and MacArthur's work in Japan, through the ensuing three years, one wonders historically what the country was thinking in 1948 that the election was ever much in doubt. But with a Civil Rights plank in the Democratic platform and a civil rights bill being promulgated by the administration, as well perhaps the idea of being tired of New Deal-Fair Deal changes to the society wrought over 16 years, suspicions that they were luring the country into socialism, sneaking fears in some of communists in the government, in the drinking water, the answer becomes clearer, perhaps, especially as the Republicans put forth a formidable challenger in Dewey. Nevertheless, "Dewey Is the Name" is scarcely recognized now as any header worth remembering, save perhaps by the headline, to most, except the finely politically astute, while the name of Truman remains, ever more impressively to most, a household word.

We don't disagree, incidentally, with the deserts of that conception as to Truman; we just offer it up to point out the curious patina of irony which the muse of history sometimes bedaubs upon such persons of principle as Mr. Dewey.

Incidentally, returning a moment to yesterday's "moompixures": Sal nixie bewoo w.

No sabe?

Go figure.

An eery bird, one from Saxapahaw, told us the whole story, back in the old times.

Or, should it please ye: Sal, ne Leven,...

And in searching "cat" yesterday across Bartleby's catalogue of seers' poetry, for what idle geste we know not why, we ran across a little play, The Borderers, by William Wordsworth, 1842. The handful of Borderers of the play--set on the border between England and Scotland, during the reign of Henry III, 1227-1272, while Alexander III ruled Scotland, 1249-1286--are Marmaduke, Wallace, Lennox, Lacy, and Oswald.

And so, with the compressor of our platinum air conditioner here in the Tower whirling its circulation at squared light speed, double-trebled, we peered through the lacy curtains, held to the slightest gossamer threads only by their rods, into it.

At a Scene of Act III, it goes:

MARMADUKE. Time, since Man first drew breath, has never moved
With such a weight upon his wings as now;
But they will soon be lightened.

OSWALD. Ay, look up--
Cast round you your mind's eye, and you will learn
Fortitude is the child of Enterprise:
Great actions move our admiration, chiefly
Because they carry in themselves an earnest
That we can suffer greatly.

MAR. Very true.

OSW. Action is transitory--a step, a blow,
The motion of a muscle--this way or that--
'Tis done, and in the after-vacancy
We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed:
Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark,
And shares the nature of infinity.

MAR. Truth--and I feel it.

OSW. What! if you had bid Eternal farewell to unmingled joy
And the light dancing of the thoughtless heart;
It is the toy of fools, and little fit
For such a world as this. The wise abjure
All thoughts whose idle composition lives
In the entire forgetfulness of pain.
--I see I have disturbed you.

MAR. By no means.

OSW. Compassion!--pity!--pride can do without them;
And what if you should never know them more!--
He is a puny soul who, feeling pain,
Finds ease because another feels it too.
If e'er I open out this heart of mine
It shall be for a nobler end--to teach
And not to purchase puling sympathy.
--Nay, you are pale.

MAR. It may be so.

OSW. Remorse--
It cannot live with thought; think on, think on,
And it will die.
What! in this universe,
Where the least things control the greatest, where
The faintest breath that breathes can move a world;
What! feel remorse, where, if a cat had sneezed,
A leaf had fallen, the thing had never been
Whose very shadow gnaws us to the vitals.

MAR. Now, whither are you wandering? That a man
So used to suit his language to the time,
Should thus so widely differ from himself--
It is most strange.

OSW. Murder!--what's in the word!--
I have no cases by me ready made
To fit all deeds.
Carry him to the Camp!--
A shallow project;--you of late have seen
More deeply, taught us that the institutes
Of Nature, by a cunning usurpation
Banished from human intercourse, exist
Only in our relations to the brutes
That make the fields their dwelling,
If a snake Crawl from beneath our feet we do not ask
A license to destroy him: our good governors
Hedge in the life of every pest and plague
That bears the shape of man; and for what purpose,
But to protect themselves from extirpation?--
This flimsy barrier you have overleaped.

MAR. My Office is fulfilled--the Man is now
Delivered to the Judge of all things.

OSW. Dead!

MAR. I have borne my burthen to its destined end.

OSW. This instant we'll return to our companions--
Oh how I long to see their faces again!

Characters in another scene from another play, a later scene, staged prior? or just a prior scene, staged later in the jest? Whose characters, in sum? Whose in play, as a whole?

--"But, you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate..."

A Little Exaggerated

Our contemporary, the estimable News & Courier down at Charleston, the old great town on the Ashley, seems to be a little upset by the action of the President in saying directly that he doesn't want Walter George re-elected and indirectly that he'd just as soon not have Cotton Ed Smith back in the Senate either. In a front page editorial, it gravely warns the people of South Carolina and the South generally that, "Your white civilization is in peril." And figures it out like this: if the President gets his way and George and Cotton Ed are beaten, why, then, the Federal anti-lynching bill will be pretty sure to pass. And if it passes, why then, again, Federal judges from Yankeedom will be coming into South Carolina and other Southern states to try lynchers--and wickedly to send them to jail or maybe the hot seat.

Now, now, now--we simply don't believe it. Ourselves, we never did plump for the anti-lynching bill, because we thought it might unduly exacerbate old wounds that had better be left closed for the good of everybody [indiscernible word]. But when it comes to the notion that Federal courts would be infringing on the sovereignty of South Carolina--or North Carolina or Georgia--by trying a gang of scoundrels who plainly ought to hang, we can't see it. And though we might agree that old Cotton Ed is more to be stomached than the funny men who are running against him, the idea that the preservation of white civilization is bound up with his fate--ah, now, Cap'n Billy, can you really think that?

Sounds Interesting*

We are sorry the Associated Press didn't carry more of Judge John J. Parker's speech at Manteo yesterday. The occasion was Virginia Dare's 351st birthday--a pretty profound thought in itself. From that first babe to mass production and John L. Lewis is a whale of a jump, even over a period of 351 years. Naturally, it gave the speaker of the day a rare opportunity to establish the beginnings of our democracy, to trace its progress and to speculate about its future. You may be sure that Judge Parker capitalized upon it.

But about all the meat of his speech that the AP brings to us is this:

MANTEO, August 18--(AP)--A Federal judge said here today that the greatest problem of the United States was to develop the social controls necessary for the regulation of the national economic life without destroying the fundamental liberties of the individual.

That's Roosevelt's philosophy, down to a T. Stated in such broad terms, it could easily be everyman's philosophy. But when actual beginnings are made at developing social controls, compounded functionalism sets in, and the offended brethren cry Treason and Radical and what have you. Those whose purposes reform serves, cry Hurrah!

We wish we could have read Judge Parker's speech in full. We want so badly to be able to clarify our own philosophy of government, and are so torn by conflicting opinions of the things that are taking place, that we need all the helping guidance there is to be had.

The Denver Plan

Out in Denver the local medical association, a unit of the American Medical Association, has decided to sponsor a group medical organization on its own account. Which somehow looks a more reasonable scheme than the effort of three noted Washington specialists, apparently backed by many of their professional brethren, to enjoin similar associations in the capital.

There is no question here of state medicine, which is certainly a dubious thing, since it threatens to destroy the personal relation between doctor and patient.

The Washington method is open to the objection that the associations hire their own doctors directly, on a permanent basis, and that the patient is bound to accept their services. But the objections look overstrained when it is recalled that membership is purely voluntary. And in Denver, the patient will be free to call a doctor he likes--since the whole body of them are committed to accepting the fee paid by the group.

The latter scheme seems one which ought to meet with the approval of everybody. It means that the doctor will have to accept reduced fees from the group, certainly. But it means also that he will be sure of his pay. And--that many people who can't afford to consult him now, save in desperate illness, will come to him oftener. He may have more modest sums listed on his books, but that his pocketbook is likely to be lighter does not seem probable.


Not the most intense isolationist can find much to carp at in the President's assurance to Canada yesterday that the American fleet would protect her against any attempt at invasion by a foreign foe of the British Empire. It might be argued, indeed, that it was unnecessary to make an explicit declaration. It was already implicitly clear to us and the Canadians. There never has been a time since the Civil War, at least, when invasion of Canada would not have aroused almost as intense feeling in the United States as the invasion of our own territory. And a case might be made out for the argument that to put the thing in explicit terms is merely to hearten Britain to go ahead and get into trouble about which she might otherwise be more cautious.

But, in fact, there seems to be good reason why our attitude should be made plain to everybody. Britain seems bound to get into war before long with the fascist powers. And while we may know and Canada may know that there is no question about what position we would take in case of invasion, it is entirely possible that the fascist powers, and particularly Germany, may not know. Moreover, an invasion of Canada is no longer the remote possibility it once was. She is the greatest and most accessible wheat reservoir Britain holds. To close her ports and destroy her terminal facilities would be to strike a smashing blow at Britain. And under modern conditions such an attack is probably feasible. So, all in all, it probably was just as well the President spoke out.

Dewey Is the Name

Forty years ago, the name of Dewey was splashed over the front pages of every newspaper in the land. That Dewey was the Admiral, of course, who was making it hot for the Spanish Fleet. And today another Dewey is getting top play. He is Thomas E., a New York Republican who made such a name for himself as special prosecutor of rackets that he became D. A. of New York County. On the name he makes for himself in that office he may ride into the Governorship of New York this Fall, and from that high place to a Presidential nomination is an easy step.

But we are getting ahead of the story of Dewey and his racket-busting. It started three years ago with his appointment by Governor Lehman after a runaway grand jury, amazed at the extent of crime and political corruption in New York City, had got only supine inaction from the then District Attorney Dodge, a Tammany man. First blood was that of the loan sharks, the 1,000-per cent boys, of whom 28 were sent to prison. Next came Dewey's greatest triumph to date, the discovery of a prostitution ring with chains of brothels, from the tenements to pent houses, run by and paying handsome tribute to Lucky Luciano, a polite Italian gentleman who resided in the Waldorf-Astoria. Mr. Luciano is now a guest at the penitentiary, where he is expected to remain for the 30 to 50 years.

From that point on, New York's special prosecutor obtained one conviction after another against racketeers and plug-uglies in lines of business ranging from trucking to tea rooms. But he knew all too well that, while racketeers might be put in prison and racketeering made less profitable, the ugly growth cannot be cut out at its roots until his knife reached the political corruption which nurtured it. With that in mind, he turned the spotlight on Tammanyman Albert Marinelli, County Clerk and potent district leader. To his face he called Marinelli a political ally of thugs, dope peddlers and big-shot racketeers, and when Marinelli challenged him to back up his words with action, he responded by subpoenaing 400 of the County Clerk's henchmen to appear before the grand jury. Marinelli promptly resigned--to save, he explained, his friends and supporters from malicious embarrassment.

But still Dewey realized that he had touched only the perimeter of the ring which shielded crime and extortion in New York City. Tammany itself was his target, and it is the trial of Tammany as represented by Boss James J. Hines that is now producing all the headlines in which the name of Dewey figures. The charge: that Hines took $500 a week from the late Dutch Schultz in return for fixing the police and the courts that Schultz might operate his lucrative ($100,000,000) numbers racket. Dewey's record of convictions is ample to show that he does not proceed without the best of evidence, but in tackling Hines and entourage he has taken on political power incarnate. Friend of Jim Farley and "the people," dispenser of Tammany and New Deal patronage, socialite and wealthy, Hines may prove more than a match even for so relentless a D. A. as Dewey. Like Hague in nearby Jersey City, he may be preserved for Democracy.

Site Ed. Note: The other critiques of the plays of the day, and their characters, the actors and actresses inhabiting the various roles born thereof, replete with the end results which can be pleasant, even pleasurable, or altogether in pain, which is the conveyance of the absence of pleasure, in principle, when the principal role players are without either pleasure in the simple things which are or priniciple sufficient to define them for themselves and their pleasure, such that they can bear it, their pleasure, are here.

The classic question posed by the philosopher is thus: Can pleasure and pain coincide simultaneously within the same object, the same being, the same electrical impulse on the single nerve jump amid the jangle within that being? We might add, the same nation? The same world? Do we laugh derisively, satanically, titanically, or out of fear of its satanic, titanic threat, at the world's pain as a hedge and bane because we feel it too closely upon our necks, or because yet we have at length become too insensate any longer to feel it lest we long to be so morose as to be warranted insane? Or is it not, in well-struck balance, the need, within the life recipe, of laughter as a bulwark, engendered of the spirit which is, finally against those whose solipsistic pain is at the end of the day so all encompassing, preventing access of the pleasure principle, that they can only choose pain inflicted without as a remedy to insure that their pain within is not alone?

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