The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, August 01, 1913, Image 1

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The Commoner
VOL. 13, NO. 28
Lincoln, Nebraska, August, 1913
Whole Number 652
With this issue, The Commoner enters upon
its career as a monthly magazine and, as such,
greets its readers. It is scarcely necessary to
point out the difference between the political
situation today and that which existed when
The Commoner entered the journalistic field, in
January, 1901. The party was then staggering
under the second defeat administered to it under
progressive leadership. The struggle for eman
cipation from the domination of privilege and
favoritism began in 1896, and the deep interest
manifested in that campaign will never be for
gotten by those who participated in it. Between
189G and 1900, a number of causes had con
tributed to an improvement in economic con
ditions and the republican party, seizing upon
the cry, "Let well 'enough alone," warned the
country against a return to the hard times from
which it was beginning to emerge. The party
in power was also aided by the fact that it liad
conducted a successful war for the liberation
of Cuba, and it was at that time able to con
ceal from the public the imperialistic plans' which
its leaders had in mind. Under the circum
stances, it was not strange that the democratic
party should fail to socuro control of the federal
government the surprise is that it suffered so
little, as compared with its vote of 1896.
However, those who measure a party's merits
by such temporary standards as immediate suc
cess, loudly proclaimed the necessity for a re
turn to Wall street leadership. The Commoner
was established to withstand the propaganda of
"the interests" and to assist the rank and file
of the party in holding the party organization
true to the promises that had been made. How
well this paper has justified its claims upon the
confidence of the democratic voters how truly
it has kept the faith must be left to the public
to decide. It will not be denied that it has put
forth an earnest endeavor; neither will its right
Outgrown Criticisms
One of the ancient kings is said to have writ
ten above his door, for his admonition in time?
of prosperity and for his comfort in times of
adversity, "This, too, shall pass away."
It is a wise maxim and must often recur to
those who espouse a righteous cause before that
cause has become popular.
Criticism of those in public life is not only
natural but' necessary. It is natural because
there is enough of partisanship in our politics
to insure watchfulness, and those who desire
to find fault cannot be expected to judge oppo
nents justly at all times.
Criticism is necessary, too, for without it pub
He men would become careless. Jefferson went
bo far as to say that without the restraining in
to rejoice be iquestioned. Few journals, if any,
have ever had an opportunity, in tho same
length of time, to witness tho triumph of so
many of tho policies supported by it.
A change has come in the political situation
which justifies a change in tho form of tho paper.
While the republicans were in power, Tho Com
moner was one of tho leaders in tho journalistic
army which attacked tho policies of that party.
It conceived it to be its duty to present argu
ments against those policies and to point the
way to remedial legislation. Tho laws already
passed, such as the amendment which puts tho
people in control of the United States senate,
tho amendment authorizing tho collection of an
income tax, the laws providing for publicity,
before the election, as to campaign contributions,
tho laws extending tho primary and populariz
ing the government theso and other laws along
these lines assure to tho people tho enjoyment of
many of the benefits for which The Commoner
has labored; and, best of all, tho democratic
party has been called to supremo authority in
tho nation and to a much larger extent than
usual in the states. Tho friends of democracy,
therefore, instead of having to urgo their oppo
nents to recognize popular demands, are
summoned to engage in constructive work tho
application of democratic principles to the time
in which we, live.
As an incident to tho democratic victory, I
have been invited to become a member of tho
president's official family, and, as his represent
ative in ono of tho departments of the govern
ment, am brought into contact with lnterna
' tional problems. As a member of the cabinet,
too, I enjoy the opportunity of participating in
tho discussion of such problems as the presidont
sees fit to bring before that body. If I were
compelled to choose between the service that
I could render as a journalist and tho service
which I can rondor as ono of (ho prosidont'n
advisors, I would fool Justified in preferring
tho latter to tho former, but as there is no neces
sary conlllct between tho two positions, I am
glad to perform tho duties attendant upon both.
As an exponent ot rno plans and purposes of
tho administration, Tho Commoner can accom
plish even moro as a monthly than it could as
a weekly. Administrative and legislative plans
(lovolop-gradually, and there is no need of hasto
in mooting tho criticisms that may be directed
against tho program of tho party now in au
thority. Tho Commoner will bo nblo to present
to its Individual readers and through Its multi
tude of exchanges, to a still larger audience
tho government's side of tho questions under
My aaaociation with the president has in
creasingly confirmed my estimato of his aluglo
neas of purpose, of hia broad intellectual grasp
of tho situation, and of tho courage with which
ho grapples with public problems. My acquain
tance with tho members of tho cabinet and with
tho work which they have thus far done, makes
it a delight to interpret to tho readers of tho
paper tho efforts which they are putting forth
in their several departments. In spite of tho
obstacles that a new administration has to meet,
all theso cabinet officers havo been able to dem
onstrate their capacity for tho work for which
thoy havo been chosen and to make material
progress toward tho improvement of the public
Tho Commoner invites a continuation of tho
support which has been so generously accorded
it, and pledges itself anew to every movement
that has for its object tho making of this gov
ernment moro truly a government of tho people,
administered by tho people for tho protection
of their rights and for the advancement of their
welfare. W. J. BRYAN.
fluence of public opinion, officials would become
Criticism, it may be added, is helpful when
deserved and harmless when it is unmerited.
Even malicious criticism, however annoying it
may be at the time, does not permanently injuro
ono in public life. Tho more malicious it is,
the more quickly and the more earnestly do his
friends come to his defense and, in the end, tho
reaction overcomes any temporary wrong done.
Tho only thing to be decided is whether tho
losition taken is right. If it 'Is, time will vindi
cate it. If the position taken Is wrong, criticism
hastens Its correction and what well meaning
man can object?
Encouragement may be found in recalling a
few of the criticisms which have been outgrown
within the last twenty years. Tariff reformers
have been calling for a reduction of he tariff
for more than thirty years. In the beginning,
they were accused of trying to ruin American
industries, and it was even intimated that- they
were acting In the interests of foreigners. Now
tariff reduction is scheduled to arrive withia a