The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, February 17, 1911, Page 2, Image 2

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The Commoner
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In ovory other stale tlio people can have a con
tltntlon lhat'uults them, why not' In Arizona?
Tho initiative and referendum are not now.
They have been adopted In eight states extend
ing from Oregon to Maine and from Montana to
Arkansas, thoy will he submitted to the people
lrr at least eight moro by tho legislatures now
In session. Tho recall Is already in opera
tion in soveral states and is rapidly spreading.
Tho only living ex-president is in favor of
tho initiative, referendum and recall; the Pro
gressive Republican. League is in favor of all
throe reforms. Can President Taft afford to
deny statehood to the people of Arizona be
causo of his opposition to three constitutional
provisions? Lot no friend of his charge him
with being so hostilo to tho fundamental prin
ciples of self government.
Ex-President Roosevelt Is writing a series of
Articles for tho Outlook on "Progressive Nation-.
alism"-v-tho titlo which ho has substituted for
now nationalism. Tho first is an Introduction
and in it ho classifies the friends and opponents
of his program and asks opponents to present
an alternative plan if they oppose his.
His second articlo proposes Ave reforms:
First, Drastic laws to prevent the corrupt use
of money in politics.
Second, Election of United States senators by
direct vote.
'Ehird, Direct primaries for the nomination of
eUctiYo officials.
"'Fourth, Direct election of delegates to national
conventions, the voter to express his choice for
president on the ballot for delegate.
' Fifth, The introduction of the initiative, refer
endum, and recall.
Tho first is a part of tho democratic program,
and is particularly desired.
' The socond has been a part of tho democratic
program for nearly twenty4' years; it is, almost
here: ' '
Tho third is actually in operation in'manyif
not most, of the states and is not only demo
cratic in principle but is favored by the demo
crats in almost every state.
Tho fourth is democratic in principle and
should bo adopted, although it has not been
spetiific'ally endorsed in our party platforms.
The fifth is democratic 'in principle and is be
cbnling more and more a part of the democratic
creed in tho various states. In Arizona a demo
cratic constitutional convention declared for the
initiative, referendum and recall, while a repub
lican constitutional convention in New Mexico x
rojoctod them.
Wo shall await tho proposal o& other reforms.
So: -for there is nothing to justify the word
NATIONALISM in the Outlook articles.
.It is begining to dawn upon, a great many
pooplp that tho proposed increase in magazine
postage does not relate entirely to a desire
to wipe out the postofflce deficit. Many news
paper men and others who are in a position
to"place proper value upon organized move
ments, believe that the real motive behind this
effort may bo found in tho "system's" purpose
to, crush every element that proves to be an
obstruction in the "system's" pathway. The
magazines have done much to awaken the
American people to the great danger confront
ing them. Some of the magazines are, to be
sure, under the "system's" control, but the reve
lations made by others of these periodicals show
ing ..the methods whereby tho trust system has
plundered and abused the American people
have educated thoughtless men and women, and
have impresed upon the public generally the
necessity on the citizen's part for serious
thqught and effective action. The .measure re
ported by the postofflce committee of the senate
providing for tho increase in second class post
age should bo defeated.
legislature should stand upon its merits, and.
even a good measure should not be made the
beneficiary of a trade. If the legislator who in
troduces "a good bill would not vote for another
particular measure, unless some one in-,
terested in that measuro voted for his favorite
bill, then tho measure cannot be meritorious
in tho eyes of the good bill's champion. Why
should he, then, vote for such a measure at all?
Ho should not do so and his duty to tho good
measuro does not require him to subdue his
conscience with respect to other measures. His
vote should be cast upon all propositions ac
cording to the merits of each, and once the
practice of trading is adopted, public interests
are bound to suffer, and one trade involving
a bill of somewhat indifferent character will lead
to trades involving really bad measures. Every
bill in which the public is really interested
can afford to stand upon its own merits. It
may be defeated temporarily because its advo
cates refuse to enter into trades, but if the
people really want it sooner or later, they
will have it, and sooner or later they will elect
to tho legislature men who place too high a
value upon their character as legislator to- make
their votes on public questions a matter of
barter and trade.
The State (Columbia, S. C.) is right a plat
form is binding. Every candidate for office
especially for a legislative office should run
on a platform and then Should follow it with
scrupulous care. The old plan of selecting a
man and trusting him to do what he thinks
best is past. Governments are growing more
and more democratic; they are coming nearer
and nearer to the people, and tie people demand
platforms that bind. The predatory corpora
tions are constantly pushing these men to the
front and they want ambiguous platforms. The
people believe in plain speaking and in honesty.
If a candidate dissents from his platform he
shodld dissent" during the -campaign, 'or "for
ever after hold his peace.1' A copscience that
hibernates during the campaign and then after
the election prompts its possessor to betray his
people such a conscience is not to be relied
When Justice Holmes, speaking for an unani
mous court, said, "When the Oklahoma legisla
ture declares by implication that free banking
is a public danger, and that incorporation, in
spection and the above described co-operation
are necessary safeguards, this court certainly
cannot see where it is wrong," he endorsed the
policy of the guaranty law. The democrats will
rejoice at this unqualified vindication of the"
wisdom of the plan endorsed in the last national
platform of th,e party. This is more than was
expected. Democrats would have been satisfied
with a1 decision sustaining the RIGHT of the
state to provide imch a system and to require
banks to .contribute to it but to commend the
plan and thus silence the, criticism of financiers
--this was beyond the hopes of the friends of
the law.
There may bo some "bird-men" among the
.senators who are still in the air on tho question
Of electing senators by popular vote but they
might as well be looking for a landing place-
thoy cannot avoid the question much longer.
. The practice, common in many state lecis
latures, of "trading on legislation," cannot be
too severely denounced. The vote entrusted to
the legislator by the pQople is top sacred for
it to be swapped around in the same way boys
swap jack-knives. A measure introduced Vthe
Tho democrats of' the house' have acted
wisely in endorsing the reciprocity -measure sub
mitted by the president. It is not perfect
by any means, but ves Senator Culbertson points
out, the rates fixed in it are less than the rates
in the Aldrich bill and that is an advantage
worth securing. fa
A fight will be made against it by the pro
tectionists and they may be able to prevent
ratification at this session, but that may prove
a blessing in disguise, for it will not only dnvw
the line more clearly between tariff reformers
and protectionists, but it may force an Sir?
session and. that is greatly to be desired. The
stars, in their courses, are fighting with us
uu w
For the first time since the great split in 189G
there seems to be a chance that the democratlo
party may be able to get together on national
policies. Mr. Bryan has been falselv -nwli
With a desire to keep the party divided F X?h
an unwill ngness to seo anv pamiE ' ith
where he had failed. Bu? his w sh iias
prevent the party from falling Tpreyto the in
terests. We can all now see what .
once did not see, how realms The' daTger Tn
New Jersey, there was a doterminnii 31 , In
tho part, of tho interest to 'caXTo" tho "Jar
In, New York tho interests are making a. desper
ate fight "to send Sheehan to the senate. Many
who did -not, and who do notagree with Mr.
Bryan in some" particulars, wllfTvish tiim all suc
cess in his effort to keep the democratic party
true to .th.e people. - -
Mr. Bryan's paper, The Commoner, has an
article In which Governor Wilson, though a gold
democrat, is spoken of In the most friendly and
complimentary terms. "If,", says The Com
moner, "Governor Wilson had known in 1896
what he knows today he would have fought
shoulder to shoulder with the democrats of that
year, rather than 'with the Palmer and Buckner
"forces that were working as aids to the repub
lican party." But 1896 is a good while away,
and it may be that we all, including Mr. Bryan,
know more than we did then. No good comes
of discussing dead and burled issues. The Com
moner, therefore, does well to deyote Itself to
the present aspect of the situation. It says:
"In the name of every lover .of popular gov
ernment The Commoner thanks Governor; Wil
son for his patriotic efforts. It congratulates
New Jersey upon having sent to the United States
senate such a; man as James E. Martine. and it
expresses the hope that from now on the fine
effort of which New Jersey's governor is so
capable may be given on .the sido o'f those demo
crats whd insist that the way to win a demo
cratic victory worth having is to keep tho party
free from corporation influences and to write its
platforms in harmony with the heart heats of
the people who believe in 'equal rights to all
and special privileges to none.' Tho flrsjb con
test will come in the effort of tho special' inter
ests to control the democratic national conven
tion of 1912.. Let us hope that in the great con
test Governor Wilson will be found speaking the
same language he spoke during the New Jersey
senatorial contest and fighting the same battle
for the upbuilding of, a democratic- party that
, shall be free from the domination of -special in
terests, and of real service in the-effort to per
petuate popular government in America."
Governor Wilson is most warmly praised for
what,he .has already done' and the; victory won
by him and Mr. Martine is spoken'of as 'one
of the most notable victories for popular govern
ment yet recorded in the political history of any
state." It is evident that Mr. Bryan does not
propose to judge men any longer solely by the
position which they assumed In 1896 It is true
also that the men who, opposed Mr. Bryan in
1896 have a much kinder feeling toward him.
And so we say that it looks as thbugh tho old
breach were at last to be healed. The question
- is, not what men thought fifteen years ago, but
what they think now. The most determined
enemy of Mr. Bryan must admit that during all
that time he has been the most potent influence
in the political thought of his nation. It is true,
as he said in his speech In this city during tho
late campaign that, though the republican party
lias beeji in power, the democratic party has
governed. The popular reforms today, such as
the direct election of senators, the-income Ytax,
control of railroad rates, etc., were all advocated
by Mr. Bryan long before any other leader took
them up. That is the simple historic truth. .Most
of the boasted Roosevelt policies are merely the
Bryan policies writ small.
There were some things said at the gold demo
cratic convention of which we think that even
Mr. Bryan will now approve. Among them is the
remarkable prophecy of the late Colonel. Breck
inridge: "And then when the night is far spent, and
?Ji k? U& K?e old"fashioned way the little
candle in the little candlestick, and start home,
as we go up the steps to the home of the sleeper,
Slf5amber Yhere Gratitude and affection bring
SJLag-? lne brotaers that have been
estranged, and when we get into the .room ar.d
shut the door, we will give our hand to' him with
Arr? QX? t0 say t0 him: 'Brother, the
S ?asAee bltter; let tt be wr; let the mor
row be a day when we shall rival each other in
iSLS deav?rs or a common country, for our
VirtI' for the liberty that was our fath
Swv i, i We want t0 gIvo our children a
nw L& f d. upon order making regnant tho Just courts for you and me; and when
on eP thlB herea'ter' it shall not be that
imvp WflainronE a?a one was right, but thatboth
tS? yeache,d ?nmsh different' pathways
that common road, that leads to the Jslory,- to
neon? ;twan(l hQ haPPies of a common
people through a triumphant democracy "
mn Sre 9uit Bure' that no one would rejoice
?ronhS2n 5' Bryan oyor the fulfillment of this
Sri??' Men wno t)nco opposed Mr. Bryan
SuaMS NeZ t0 mak lt SObGr faCt
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