Sunday, June 12, 2005

More free Cash 

The Cleveland Press | The Shelby Publishing Company | Shelby, North Carolina | W. J. Cash ... Managing Editor | Subscription ... $2.00 per year (1928).

From The Cleveland Press, November 6, 1928:
"We are no more than a moving row of fantastic shapes that come and go."


Tomorrow we shall know whether Al Smith or Herbert Hoover will be President for the next four years. Whatever the outcome, the election will, in perspective, be no more than a dogfall, an incidental victory in the battle joined. There will be nothing final about it, nothing decisive. For, I think, the campaign has been no more than a prelude to the coming storm, the struggle which must, I believe, inevitably engross American politics for the next quarter century, at least.

In the beginning, the campaign resolved itself into chaos. But, at the end, certain things begin to grope to the surface of the formless whirl, lines begin to fix themselves amidst the dizzying confusion, new armies arise, new standards are raised. And these lines, these armies, I am convinced,--fluid, unfixed as they yet are--are those which will be limited, set, consolidated during the next four years.

It is probably not too much to say that the traditional Democratic and Republican parties are on their last legs. The names will be retained--but that will be all. What we are probably about to witness is the formation of parties on strictly drawn lines of Conservatism and Liberalism. It is, perhaps, fitting that the Democratic Party, inheritor of the tradition of Jefferson, should become the Liberal party, that the Republican Party, heir to the Hamiltonian tradition, should be the Conservative. Yet pure chance has probably been the deciding factor. The movement has been long coming. There was Bryan, whose liberalism in the fields of politics and economics gradually died out after the beginning of the war to give place to the Bourbon reaction of Harding and Coolidge. And there was Roosevelt who conceivably might have made the Republican Party the Liberal one had it not been for the war.

First of all, we shall probably be witness to a great battle for the control of the Democratic Party. That will mean the inevitable shifting of that part of the South which is militantly dry--if, indeed, it be so and stands by its convictions--to the Republican Party. For if Smith is elected, it is very clear that the Democratic Party is fore-ordained to carry the banner of modification of the Eighteenth Amendment and the Volstead Act. If he is not elected, the outcome will probably be the same. The party is already identified with the issue and the greater part of the Democratic voters of the country probably wish it to be that way. That being true, it is inevitable that the Democratic Party be the party of Liberalism in social legislation, the sworn enemy of cramping laws, the sworn champion of individualism in personal habits.

By the same token, the Democratic Party will carry the flag of anti-clericism. Dr. Edward Martin, editor of Harper's, points out that one of the most potent things which has emerged in the campaign has been a determined protest against the meddling of the Methodist boards with Congress and the blackjacking of that body with threats by the Anti-Saloon League. The breach between the bishops and the Democrats is unlikely to heal. Clearly, then, it will fall upon the party to fight the battle of absolute separation of Church and State, in spirit as well as in letter. That means losses in the South, but it means also that the political complexion of the East will be completely changed.

Ironically, the Republican Party is placed in the position of having to fight the battles of the present liquor laws whether it desires it or not. It has gained powerful allies. But as the price, it will have to defend paternalistic legislation in the social field while battling it in the economic field. As the champion of laissez-faire, of private ownership, it will appeal to the South, which is yet so young in industry as to retain all the traditional Conservatism of early Nineteenth Century England. But the Democratic doctrines of public ownership of natural resources will appeal powerfully in the East and the Progressive West. The belief that laissez-faire is a brutal dogma, that Big Business must be limited to preserve Small Business and the worker--flourishes in the old industrial regions.

Again, the cleavage is likely to be, more or less, on rural and urban lines. The man in the streets in the cities is naturally a Liberal in economic matters and, because irritating contact has taught him to value his individualism, one in the social sense also. The farmer is traditionally a Conservative. That is, of course, only partly true, as witness the case of the Progressive in the West. But wide spaces and little interference cause the farmer to care for abstract liberties, makes him an advocate of paternalistic legislation in the social field. Particularly is that true in questions having directly or indirectly to do with morals.

So--I think that we are going to see the final break of the things that have been. The Bloody Shirt, the Negro issue, the Grand Old Party, the Glories of Democracy--all the old watchwords, I think, are going to be cast aside. In short, we are going to quit battling over straw men and go after the things that really matter to us. I expect the East, not the South, to become the stronghold of the Democratic Party. I expect the West and part of the South, at least, not the East, to become the stronghold of the Republican Party. Because of the possible opportunity of the Negro to exert a balance of power, we may yet see the ultimately ironic spectacle of the Republican Party raising the standard of "white supremacy!"

I think sectional lines are breaking up. I think we are coming to think in national terms and to fight, therefore, over national issues. I think we shall presently have a referendum on liquor control, though it may be that it will be successfully headed off. I think we will come to a showdown on the questions of how far a majority may go in forcing its opinions, its morals, on a minority, of whether we shall have government ownership of national resources or private. It is altogether possible that we may see far-reaching changes in the basic structure of our Government, in the woof of our political thinking.

Kind of eerie isn't it?

This post is dedicated to officer "nick": Office of Political Correctness/Ministry of Scoldpottle/Code-Word Enforcement Division. Who, one can only hope, will come flapping into the threads, feathers-a-flouncing, blue smoke wafting from his tailpipe, and bluster and boo-hoo and generally produce cockeyed denouncements, leveled at some yet unforseen horror or another, for one excitable reason or another, assembled from whatever sinister transgressions he may glean from the above reproduced text, ultimately twisting whatever it is that sets his pants-a-fire into a full throttle five alarm galloping bugaboo. Keep hope alive!


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