The Charlotte News
Sunday, April 28, 1940
Site Ed. Note: This day's pieces, with the exception of the first one, pose in combination a perfect blueprint for both the despotism and the reaction to it, which would ultimately produce the manifold changes, in the United States, throughout the world, in the time which would follow the war, continuing, in the case of the desultory fight in Northern Ireland, perhaps now finally laid to rest recently, and as well in Kashmir between India and Pakistan, right through the present.
The perpetual fear of peace for time immemorial, and the belief that somehow it hearkens the End, the thought of it for many being an analogue to the grave, is nothing as compared to the sickness besetting the species from the supposed caveside comfort afforded by the knowledge that somewhere on the planet there remains the purblind, boiling precursor to war in the heart of Man.
Is that state of mind as, for instance, set forth by John Lennon in "Imagine", the ultimate idyll, only that state which may be held, with any more than temporal existence, in death? Or, is it Eden? Or is Eden merely a characterization of that state preceding and following consciousness, with its closest analogue in life being but sleep, its perfect comparison being death? Is Eden, in life, that state which arouses the jealousy of the gods, the fear that Man is intruding without proper permission on the turf of Heaven, before the calling, thus to be put down by the gods perpetually by temptation followed by hardship, if not from Man and his demons, from Nature and its daemons? Is it all merely a reaction to a psychological complex within human consciousness aroused by fear of the unknown, fear ultimately of Death?
Well, approximate the answer to those for yourself, and you might effectuate world peace--as long as some lunatic malcontent, bent on disproving the premise by irrationally holding the view that he or she is among the gods or is one of their dedicated messengers, doesn’t shoot you, or stab your reputation in the back, in the process for attempting to understand and to be understood.
And, the wary speculation at the conclusion of "Oh, Say..." indeed has come to fruition again in this country, now in the last six years, much as it did in the aftermath of the War, in the early 1950's, due to the same ultimate source, chicken-fear, penumbrally, of one's own Shadow, and of one's individual weakness in the face of it, leading on to the necessity of developing that barbarian gang mentality, even within officialdom itself.
Census May Give Tar Heelia Another Seat in Congress
An outright guess, but nonetheless interesting, was Washington Merry-Go-Round's forecast of the states which would gain and lose by the reshuffling of the 435 Congressional seats that takes place after census reports are in.
States gaining one Congressman apiece: Alabama, California, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
States losing a Congressman apiece: Louisiana, Kansas, Michigan.
States losing two Congressmen apiece: Illinois, New York and Ohio.
If this prediction holds up, it will show a population shift which may not be at all unhealthy. New York State, with its 47 electoral votes, Illinois with its 29 and Ohio with its 26, exert a political influence in the country far beyond their relative importance to its destiny.
On the other hand, the prospect of gains of Florida and California, the vacation states, are not altogether comforting. The combination of climate, old bones and upstart politicoes in these two bailiwicks of the sun produces some of the weirdest economic cults the country has to subdue.
North Carolina, now--ah, North Carolina is different. North Carolina is eminently respectable. Its progress and progressivism have been steadily achieved rather than sensationally. One of the elders in the councils of the nation, its quota of seats in Congress has increased constantly, but only from eight to eleven since 1880. One more would be simple recognition of merit and accomplishment.
This Evil Will Come in Disguise if It Takes Us
When 800 pupils of the high school at Jersey Shore, Pa., reported last Thursday morning, they found a swastika floating at the top of the flagpole in place of the customary Stars and Stripes.
Promptly they refused to enter the building until the rag was hauled down. While a janitor shinnied up and got the Nazi emblem (the unknown parties who had raised it had cut the ropes), they sang the "Star Spangled Banner" and recited the pledge of allegiance to the Stars and Stripes, which seems to have entitled them to the holiday which the principal promptly declared.
It simply proves over again what was already apparent--that German Naziism as such hasn't the faintest chance of catching on among American youth, despite a few vociferous converts here and there.
If Naziism ever comes to the United States, it will come in the shape of some native organization, or rather perhaps an amalgam of native organizations, like the Kuku Klan, Coughlin's "Social Justice," and Robert Rice Reynolds' Vindicators--disguised as One Hundred Per Cent Americanism and busily preaching hate, coercion, gag-rule, and brutality as necessary to the saving of America from all sorts of imaginary menaces.
Unfortunately, we cannot be sure that it will not someday happen, but it is far from happening now.
Into His Dream of Unity John Lewis Takes Malcontents
Were it not for the ferocious cast of John L. Lewis's countenance, perhaps there would be less ferocity read into his little scheme of proselyting the National Negro Congress, along with farm organizations and the American Youth Congress, into Labor's Non-Partisan League. After all, it is the traditional way of politicians to bid for votes where they may be found, and John L. Lewis is rapidly disclosing his hand as that of a politician with a considerable stake in the game.
And where else, pray, could a man whom many people consider a sort of bugaboo, something to frighten the children, turn for support save to the immature, incredulous, and those with a consciousness of oppression?
The Lewis prospectus, terrifying as it may sound, would never get by a political SEC. Dissatisfaction is a common denominator of those whose favor he solicits, but apart from that he has laid out the job of reconciling in his behalf the most dissident elements that the whole country contains.
For years slick politicians have realized that a Farmer-Labor Party could sweep the country with one hand tied behind its back. But neither the symbolic farmer nor the symbolic laborer would ever submit to having a hand tied behind his back. Too much risk of infighting.
In fact, John L. Lewis must have discovered that he cannot rule undisputed and adored even over Labor's house. If to this factional fight he introduces Youth and the Negro, it's going to be every man for himself.
Klan Teachings Are True Criminal in These Cases
The conviction of the man Cawthon in Atlanta, the lair of the Ku Klux Klan, is pretty fair evidence that Southern juries can be trusted to convict the masked hoodlums when the prosecuting officers go vigorously enough about getting the goods on them. Evidence also, perhaps, that the South generally is awake to the danger of the activities of this sadistic gang.
The sentence, which--with the exception of a $1,000 fine--is no more than a Negro sometimes gets for stealing a few chickens--seems a little weak. For the court, however, it is to be said that it was the maximum under the law. Moreover, Cawthon is after all fundamentally a sheep in this case, not the wolf--a dunderhead betrayed by cunning racketeers. The real criminal is the Ku Klux Klan itself. The men who maintain this racket by way of lining their own pockets and achieving power for themselves.
The reigning Wizard has tried to clear the skirts of the outfit by withdrawing the charter of the local to which Cawthon and his fellow bullies belonged, and by ordering the national order to unmask. But such moves cannot really whitewash it.
Cawthon committed his crimes, in the ultimate analysis, because the Ku Klux Klan had systematically taught him hate and intolerance, had convinced him that his most brutal prejudices were his most honorable sentiments, and that he was entitled to ignore the law and let his bullying instincts run wild in the assertion of those prejudices and that hate and that intolerance, and that in doing so he was engaged in the noble enterprise of defending morality, religion, and Americanism.
There is not the slightest indication that the Klan has abandoned that program. And so long as he continues to inculcate such doctrines, orders to unmask, etc. do not much matter one way or the other. Outbreaks such as Cawthon was guilty of are still mathematically certain to issue from it.
Gandhi Looks at All The Facts in Making It
The striking contrast to the Irish Republican Army hotheads and the Indian Nationalist extremists is Mohandas K. Gandhi. The latter, as everyone knows, has devoted his life to lifting the British yoke from India, and no one can truthfully accuse him of cowardice or any inclination to compromise on the issue.
But while the IRA rushes about in the criminal business of killing innocents by way of attempting to force the British to force reluctant Northern Ireland under the Irish yoke, and while Indian extremists indulge in much the same sort of activities, Gandhi writes in his Bombay newspaper that he has no intention of embarrassing Britain now that she is engaged in a life-and-death struggle, and so will not order his followers into the civil disobedience campaign which the hotheads demand.
Difference is that Gandhi thinks with his mind instead of with his emotions. He knows that however much he may dislike British rule for India, however much may be justly said against it, it is a perfect paradise compared with what rule by the Nazis or the Russian Communists would be. And that if Britain loses this war, India isn't going to be free, but the possession of either the Nazis or the Reds, depending on which can grab and hold--with every prospect that the Indians will be reduced to abject slavery.
The Irish might do well to take the same thing into account for their own country, which hasn't even the excuse that Britain is in anywise oppressing it.
Site Ed. Note: For a piece on the Dalai Lama, in exile in India since 1959, eleven years after the assassination of Gandhi in New Delhi, go here.
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