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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Aug. 13, 1909)
ANGUST 13, 1909
Letters From the People
B. A. Paffrath, Amarillo, Texas
1 note with pleasure yours of the
13th inst. addressed to his excel
lency, W. H. Taft, president of the
United States, on the question of
two constitutional amendments, one
for an income tax and the other for
the election of United States sena
tors direct by the people. I would
respectfully suggest that you add an
other amendment if, after consider
ation, it meets with your approval,
and that is to give the people the
right to recall United States senators
when they do not conform with the
national platform of their respective
parties. In other words, to cure the
possibility of a "United States senator
alter being elected for six years,
misrepresenting the will of the peo
ple in the United States senate in the
interest of combines and trusts, a
thing that should not be possible
without the people having a remedy
if ,we expect to continue this a gov
ernment "of the people, for the peo
ple and by the people." .
William Burgener, Riverdale, Cal.
As a number of problems have
been sent in to you for solution by
the readers, allow me to suggest a
real hard one. We have been told
by republicans in years past that the
reduction of tariff duties on commo
dities (sugar, for instance) would
lower the price to the serious detri
ment of the producer. So the pro
posed reduction of the duty on sugar
would lower the price on sugar, but
recently I heard a salesman tell a
merchant that the price of sugar
would go up as the new tariff would
give them no protection. Now the
great tariff conundrum is, how does
the reduction of the tariff lower the
price to the producer, and raise it
to the consumer? If this problem
is too hard for you, perhaps some
good "standpatter" will answer it
if you would offer a free subscrip
tion to The Commoner. To me it
seems that the protective tariff ques
tion is getting to be a double-edged
sword that will yet Drove also to
have a sharp handle.
S. G. Redd, Beaver Dam, Va. I
am more than amused at the stric
tures upon Mr. Bryan as a temper
ance man made by Henry B: Maine,
Rochester, N. Y., in The Commoner,
issue of the 1 6th inst. He says: "It
is regrettable to see the democracy
through its principal leader making
the way to minute interference by
government with the affairs of citi
zens." There is always more than
one way of looking at social matters.
What is considered right by one man
may be regarded as wrong by an
other. These different views are
often the result of moral associations.
One man can see no evil in drunk
enness, while another may regard it
as a very serious detriment to so
ciety. I am 73 years of age, and
for thirty years of my life I was a
police justice, and came In contact
with all sorts of crime and evil in
cident to our social life, and I am
thoroughly convinced that the grog
shops of our country were the cause
of more crimes and necessary crimi
nal expense than all other sources of
evil. Government, especially demo
cratic government is instituted for
the general welfare of the governed.
Equal opportunities (for good and
not for evil) for all and special
privileges to none, is our democratic
principle. And "the greatest good
to the greatest number" is another.
Good democratic government does
not offer equal opportunity for mur
der, rape and robbery. Its object is
to suppress and prevent these. An
other principle of democracy is to
protect the weak against the strong,
and the simple against the wiles of
the cunning. It is not the province
of-good government to ordain that a
citizen shall not make strychnine,
but it does say he shall not sell it,
give it or administer it to his neigh
bor. "Undermining our institutions
to prevent degenerates from abuse of
alcohol is the greatest absurdity of
the time," says Mr. Maine. And this
charge he brings against democracy
and Mr. Bryan as its principal lead
er. The charge is unfounded. The
chief object of the law Is to prevent
making "degenerates" of our citi
zens. Degenerates don't abuse alco
hol, but alcohol makes and abuses
"degenerates." Alcohol is a, poison,
the most insidious and therefore
most dangerous of all poisons. It
creates it own demand, and is sat
isfied only in the death of Its victim.
I am an old man and I have never
seen a grog shop licensed in any
community that did not in a' few
years debauch and ruin it. Its use
may never be prevented, but its sale
should be suppressed by the govern
ment. You may drink yourself, but
you shall not sell to your neighbor.
This is good democratic government.
A Cornell, Burr Oak, Kan. This
is a country precinct. All told it
cast 129 votes, seventy of which
were for Mr. Bryan. To my knowl
edge there was at least $35 con
tributed within eight weeks of elec
tion by democrats of this precinct
who had no thought of any return
from the Investment other than the
interest they held in the success of
democratic principles. I suggest
that what may be known as The
Commoner Volunteer Army be or
ganized on the following lines: In
every precinct where there are
enough democrats in sympathy with
the Denver platform reforms, an or
ganization be effected, that will
guarantee $5 per year for the jiext
four years. This $5 together with
the names o five voters who did not
vote for the adoption of these re
forms be sent to The Commoner each
year. Out of each $5 the expenses
incident to the five yearly subscrip
tions be taken and the remainder
of the $5, that Is, the profit that
would otherwise fall to the publisher
of The Commoner, be considered as
a contribution to the expenses of
national organization. If there is no
better plan suggested for the future
and this plan should be adopted, as
committeeman, I pledge the co-operation
of this precinct. Considering
results, this plan can be urged as
one that promises an economical in
vestment of campaign funds. There
by It is possible to make a continu
ous appeal for a whole year to twen
ty different voters of each precinct.
The appeal will come not for a few
weeks only, when it will fall on
minds made unfriendly by campaign
prejudice but every week In the year
the message will fall into the life,
suggesting, repeatedly suggesting,
sometimes, it is true when prejudice
would be the master, but at times,
again, when prejudice would be at
Robert Lee Smith, Benton, Tenn.
Seeing so many letters from the
people In The Commoner I thought
I would join the number. I am a
Bryan democrat and not a Jacob M.
Dickinson democrat. I have sup
ported William j. Bryan three times
and am ready to do so again. I
hope the people of the south will
surely not believe that Dickinson rep
resents them as a democrat in Presi
dent Taft's cabinet. Ah, as ignorant
as I am, I never will believe it; he
may have been a democrat in times
past, but now he is a republican.
J. E. Doom, Shawnee, Okla.
I Will you be kind enough to publish
Markham's poem, "The Man With
the Hoe." I think it very appro
priate to conditions, to which we are
rapidly tending. After years of read
ing I am, if possible, a greater friend
of The Commoner than ever; long
may It live. Years ago I saw a poem
by James R. Lowell, styled "A Par
able," representing the second com
ing of Christ, "but not by the gates
of birth." The great of the earth
hastened to do Him honor, exhibit
ing the magnificent temples and
images erected to do Him honor.
But the Son of Mary, beneath the
foundation stones heard the groans
of his toiling brethren. Christ
brought a "Swart Artisan," and a
"motherless maiden" whose fingers
"faintly pushed from her Tempta
tion and Crirtio." "These," said the
Christ, "are the images ye have made
of Me." A good companion piece
to the "Man with the Hoe." The
poems contain an object lesson and
touch consciences, which mere logic
and statistics never reach. The pub
lication will bo a great favor.
W. P. Switzer, Forest, Ohio. I
have been reading "letters from the
people," some of whom have come
dangerously near the truth. In our
precinct there was no gain from re
publican to democratic except where
republicans moved out and democrats
moved in. I do not think that the
country is ready to draw a lino be
tween righteousness and ungodliness.
You came as near being elected as
a man can bo along moral lines.
Nine-tenths of the voters are still
looking for tho dollar. An illustra
tion of the fact is tho election of J.
Cannon speaker of the house. By
the word voters we do not mean tho
masses, but tho few who control tho
masses. There are generally a few
men in each ward and precinct who
have no principle and less politics,
who control the elections for per
sonal gain. One mistake tho demo
crats make is In not taking advan
tage of every means at hand to fill
places -with democrats and thus
further our principles. I do not ex
actly believe in tho spoils system,
but the republicans take advantage
of every availing means to further
their cause, an illustration In tho
appointing of Dickinson to a cabinet
office. I believe to win tho only way
is to follow tho example you have
set to educate the people. If we
can properly show up the tariff farce
wo will have gained a long stride
jtoward success. In the president's
message one is reminded that "when
he openeth his mouth he putteth his
foot in it." I am not disappointed
in the man. Several things appear
ing on the horizon look good to dem
ocrats, but a lamentable thing that
so-called democrats would betray
their party and their platform.
You did Just right in expos
ing them. The insurgent repub
licans are doing a great work In
exposing the g. o. p and thus materi
ally aiding the democrats. Let the
good work go on. All hope of re
form Is centered on the younger gen
eration. All men of Aldrich's and
Cannon's ilk should be removed from
authority, and no more lobsters
should be elected to the presidency.
In conclusion will say that I have
voted for you three times and would
vote for you three times more should
you be a candidate and I bo spared
to do so. The cause is just and
right. You have done a wonderful
work. I would rather have the
credit that is due you than be presi
dent. While you may never reach
the presidential goal', you have been
and are making it very "hot for
them in the old town." I am proud
to be numbered In line with your
thoughts and ideas, and doubly proud
In all and them, all that you havo
said or done, the spirit of the lowly
Nazerene has been shown. This life
should bo more than "meat and
drink." Last fall I distributed over
two hundred Bryan lithographs and
over two hundred Bryan buttons in
this vicinity. I say we had "them
going some." My work is not con
fined to any ono precinct but whero
over I can do any good for tho party.
Nor will I lond a hand to anything
that I would need to bo ashamed of.
I would say keep hammering away.
Last fall tho g. o. p. woro on tho
defonsivo and I hope by tho next
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