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About The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 1915)
know what a team means wlien I see it; and I
know what the captain of a team must have if he
is going to win. So it is no idle figure with me.
Now, what is their duty? You say, "Hasn't
this congress carried out a great program?" Yes,
it has carried out a great program. It has had
the most remarkable record of any congress since
the civil war has had, and I say since the civil
war because I have not had time to think
about those before the civiL war.
HALF THE WORLD ON FIRE
But we are living at an extraordinary mo
ment. The world has never been in the condi
tion that it is in. now, my friends. Half the
world is on fire. Only America among the great
powers of the world Is free to govern her own
life; and all the world is looking to America to
serve its economic need, and while this is hap
pening, what is going on?
Do you know, gentlemen, that the ocean freight
rates have gone up in some instances to ten times
their ordinary figure? And that the farmers of
the United States, those who raise grain and
those who raise cotton these things that are
absolutely riecessary to the world as well as to
ourselves can not get any profit out of tlie great
prices that they are willing to pay for these
things on the other side of the sea because the
whole profit is eaten up by the extortionate
charges for ocean carriage?
In the midst of this the democrats propose a
temporary measure of relief in a shipping bill.
The .merchants and the farmers of this coun
try must have ships to carry their goods, and just
at the present moment there is no other way of
getting them than through the instrumentality
that is suggested in the shipping bill; and I hear
it said in Washington on all hands that the re
publicans in the United States senate mean to
talk enough to make the passage of that bill im
possible. These self-styled friends of business, these
men who say the democratic party does not know
what to do for "business, are saying that the dem
ocrats shall do nothing for business.
CHALLENGES HIS OPPONENTS .
I challenge them to show their right to stand
in the way of the release of American products'
to'"the rest' of ihe world. Who cqmmissioneil
them, "au minority, a lessening minority? 'Fjpr
.they will-be in a greater minority 'in 'the riext
senate than in this.
You know it is the peculiarity of that great
body that it has rules of procedure which make
it possible for a minority to defy the nation,
and these gentlemen are now seeking to defy the
nation and prevent the release of American prod
ucts to the suffering world, which needs them
more than it ever needed them before. Their
credentials as friends of business and friends of
'America will be badly discredited if they suc
ceed. If I were speaking for a selfish, partisan point
of view, I could wish nothing better than that
they could show their true colors as partisans
and succeed. But I am not quite so malevolent
as that. Some of them are misguided; some of
them are blind; most of them are ignorant. I
would rather pray for them than abuse them.
But the great voice of America ought to make
them understand what they are said" to be at
tempting now. I have to say "are said to be at
tempting" because they do not come and tell me
they are attempting them. I do not know why,
I would express my opinion of them in parlia
mentary language, but I would express, I hope,
no less plainly because couched in the terms of
courtesy. This country is bursting its jacket,
and "they are seeing to it that the jacket is not
only kept tighVbut is riveted with steel.
The democratic party does know how to serve
business in this country, and its future program
is a program of service. We have cleared the
decks. We have laid the lines now upon which
business that was to do the country harm shall
be stopped, and an economic control which was
intolerable shall be broken up. We have eman
cipated America, but America must do something
with her freedom.
BILLS TO AID BUSINESS
There are great bills pending in the United
States senate justnow, that have been passed by
the house of representatives, which are intended
as constructive measures in behalf of business
one great measure which will make available the
enormous water powers of this country for the
industry of it; -another bill which will unlock the
resources of the public domain which the repub
licans desire to save locked up so that nobody
could use them.
The reason I say the republicans have not had
a new idea in thirty years is that they have not
known how to do anything except sit on the lid.
Now, it you can release the steam so that it will
drive great industries it is not necessary to sit
on the lid-.
TO USE GREAT RESOURCES
What wo are trying to do in tho great conserva
tion bill is to carry out for tho first time in the
history of the United States a system by which
tho great resources of this country can be used
instead of being set aBide so that no man can get
at them. I shall watch with a great deal of In
terest what the self-styled friends of business try
to do to those bills.
Do not mlsundorstand me. There are some
men on that side of the chamber who understand
the value of these things and are standing vali
antly by them, but they aro a small minority.
REAL FRIENDS OF AMERICA
The majority that is standing by them is on
our side of the chamber, and they are tho friends
of America. But there aro other things which
we have to do. Sometimes when I look abroad,
my friends, and see the great mass of struggling
humanity on that great continent, it goes very
much to my heart to see how many men are at a
disadvantage and are without guides and help
ers. Don't you think it would be a pretty good Idea
for the democratic party to undertake a system
atic method of helping the workingmen of Amer
ica? There is a very simple way in which thoy
"can help the workingmen.
If you Were simply to establish a great federal
employment bureau, it would do a vast deal ; by
the federal agencies which spread over this coun
try men could be directed to those parts or the
country, to those undertakings, to those tasks,
where they could find profitable employment.
LABOR NEEDS GUIDANCE
The labor of this country needs to bo guided
from opportunity to opportunity. We proved it
the other day.
We were told that in two states of the Union
30,000 men were needed to gather tho crops We
suggested in a cabinet meeting that the depart
ment of labor should ftave printed information
about this in such form that it could be posted up
in the postoflicesall over the United States; and
that the department of labor should got in touch
with the labor departments of states, so that no
tices could go out from them.
BRING JOBS AND MEN TOGETHER
What was the result? Those 30,000 men were
found and were sent to the places where they
got profitable employment. I do not know any
one thing that has happened in my administra
tion that made me feel happier than that that
the job and the man had been brought together.
It will not cost a great deal of money and it
will do a great deal of service if the United States
were to undertake to do such things systematic
ally and all the year 'round; and I for my part
hope that it will do that. If I were writing an
additional plank for a democratic platform I
would put that in.
COURTS IN U. S. LAG BEHIND
And there is another thing that needs very
much to be done. I am not one of those who
doubt either the Industry or the learning or the
integrity of the courts rf the United States, but
I do know that they have a very antiquated way
of doing business. I Co know that the United
States in its judicial procedure is many decades
behind every other civilized government in the
world; and I say that it is an immediate and an
imperative call upon us to rectify that because
the speediness of justice, the inexpensiveness of
justice, the ready access of justice is the greater
part of justice itself.
JUSTICE MAY BE LACKING
If you have to be rich to get justice, because
of tho cost of the very process Itself, then there
is no justice at all. So I say there is another
direction in which we ought to be very quick to
see the signs of the times and to help those who
need to be helped.
And then there is something else. The demo
crats have heard the republicans talking about
the scientific way In which to handle a tariff,
though the republicans have never given any ex
hibition of a knowledge of how to handle it scien
tifically. If it is scientific to put additional profits
into the hands of those who are already getting
the greater part of the profits, then they huve
been exceedingly scientific.
SCIENCE OF PRIVILEGE
It has been the science of selfishness; it has
been the science of privilege, That kind of sci
ence I do not caro to know anything about, ex
copt enough to stop it. But if by scientific treat
ment of tho tariff thoy mean adjustment to th
actual conditions of America and the world, tke
I am with them; and I want'to call their atten
tion, for though they voted for it they apparent
ly had not noticed it, to the fact that the bill
which creates the new trade, commission dee
that very thing.
Wo wero at pains to soo that It was put ia
thore. That commission is authorized and em
powered to lnqufro into and report to congress,
not only upon all the conditions of trade in thto
country, but upon tho conditions of trade, the
cost of manufacture, tho cost of transportation
all the things that enter Into tho question of the
tariff in foreign countlrcs as well as in the
United States, and into all those questions of
foreign combinations which affect international
trade between Europo and tho United States.
POINTS LESSON TO CLASS
It has tho full powers which will guide con
gress In tho scientific treatment of questions of
international trade. Being by profession a
schoolmaster, I am glad to point that out to the
'class of uninstructed republicans, though I have
not always taught In tho primary grade.
At every turn tho things that tho progressive
republicans have proposed that were practicable
tho democrats cither have done or aro immedi
ately proposing to do. If that is not our bill of
particulars to satisfy tho independent voters of
tho country, I would like to have one produced.
There are things that tho progressive program
contained which wo, being constitutional lawyers,
happened to know can not be done by tho con
gress of the United States.
QUESTIONS FOR STATES
That is a detail which they s'be'm to have over
looked. But so far as they can be done by state
legislatures, I for one, speaking for one demo
crat, am heartily in favor of their being done.
Because democrats do not congregate merely in
Washington. They congregate also In tho state'
capitals and they congregate there In very Infill- '
ontial numbers and with very Influential organ-'
Just before I came away from Washington I
was going over some of tho figures of tho last
elections, the elections of November last. The
official returns have not all come in yet.
SHOWS DEMOCRATIC VICTORY
I do not know why they aro so slow In getting,
to us, but so far as thoy have come in they havp'.
given me this useful information, that taking
the states where senators were elected and where
senators were not elected, taking the election of
governors and whore governors were not elected,
taking the returns for the state legislatures or
for the congressional delegates, the democrats,
reckoning state by state, would, if it had been a
presidential year, have had a majority of about
eighty In the electoral college.
Fortunately or unfortunately, this is not a
presidential year; but the thing is significant to
mo for this reason.
A great many people have been speaking of
the democratic party as a minority party. Well,
if it is it is not so much of a minority party as
the republican, and as between the minorities I
think we can claim to belong to the larger minor
ity. INDEPENDENT VOTER BOSS
The moral of that is merely what I have al
ready been pointing out to you, that neither
party in its regular membership has a majority.
I do not want to make the independent voter too
proud of himself, but I have got to admit that
he Is our boss; and I am bound to admit that
the things that he wants are, so far as I have
seen them mentioned, things that I want.
I am not an independent voter, but I hope I
can claim to be an independent person, and, I
want to say this distinctly, I do not love any
party any longer than it continues to serve tke
immediate and pressing needs of America.
NATION ABOVE PARTY
I have been bred in the democratic party; I
love tho democratic party, but I love America
a great deal more than I love the democratic
party; and when the democratic party thinks
that It is an end in itself, then I rise up and dis
sent. It is a means to an end, and its power depends,
and ought to depend, upon its showing that it
khows what America needs, and is ready to give
it what it needs. That is the reason I say to the
Independent voter, you have got us in tho palm of
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