The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee on November 23, 1967 · Page 18
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The Tennessean from Nashville, Tennessee · Page 18

Nashville, Tennessee
Issue Date:
Thursday, November 23, 1967
Page 18
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THE NASHVILLE TENNESSEAN SILLIMAN EVANS SR. (Publisher. 1937-1915) SILLIMAN EVANS JR. (Publisher, 1955-1961) AMON C. EVANS, Executive Vice President and Publisher JOHN SEIGENTHALER. Editor LLOYD ARMOUR, Associate Editor The news columns shall be fair tad accurate and the editorial columns shall be honest and just in the expression of conscientious opinion. Silliman Evans Sr. Another Thanksgiving in Vietnam Page 18 Thursday Morning, Nov. 23, 1967 Other Periods Have Had Consumer Bills Less Cause for Thanks IT WAS in 1863 that President Lincoln issued the first national Thanksgiving Proclamation, from which we date the observance. The nation never before or since had darker hours. The country was torn apart by a bitter war pitting section against section and brother against brother. There was deep doubt it could be rejoined. By 1863, enthusiasm for the war in the north declined so alarmingly Mr. Lincoln must have had doubts of carrying it along. Bloody draft riots hit New York in July of 1863. For three days the city was ravaged by mobs, sacking, burning and looting. Hundreds of lives, black and white, were lost and millions of dollars of property damaged. It took federal troops to quell the riots. The North, and to a lesser extent the South, all through the war had to face persistent opposition to the continuance of the conflict. The "Copperheads" (as the war's opponents in the North were called) were so numerous and so powerful their challenge to Lincoln's administration has been rightly called "the hidden Civil War." Both in the North and the South inflation ran. In the Confederacy, housewives rioted against high prices and their sisters in the North complained bitterly of the cost of living. Disloyalty and patriotism often lived side by side. Ohio, Indiana and Illinois where lived many people of Southern birth were hotbeds of discontent often bordering on treason. When Mr. Lincoln penned his proclamation, there had been little in the way of great victory, except Gettysburg. His stock with the voters was so low, it was almost universally proclaimed he couldn't get re-elected. From his own party in Congress, Mr. Lincoln faced great opposition and danger. The Congress itself was trying to usurp presidential authority and war policy making. And no one could foresee how long the bloodletting would continue. Yet in this period of travail and tragedy, Mr. Lincoln wrote of the "blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies . . . and the "ever watchful providence of Almighty God." He asked the people to fervently implore "the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it . . ." And, the people gave thanks, not only in gratitude for survival but for the hope of peace and unity. On this Thanksgiving, 1967, the nation is involved in conflict over which people are divided. New nuclear weapons cast shadows on the globe. There is racial unrest and the bitter aftermath of rioting in the cities. There are urban problems and rising prices, and the daily crises of a troubled world. But America is the most affluent society in the world today. More people have more reason to be thankful than at any other period. For all their troubles, they are immeasurably less than those1 in Mr. Lincoln's time. The country is singularly blessed, and on this day it ought to count them and be thankful. A Look at Consfifution AN ORGANIZATION to be known as the Foundation for Better Government in Tennessee is laying plans to promote a comprehensive revision, rather that a limited patching, of the Tennessee Constitution. Formation of the organization was announced Monday by six civic and political leaders, including members of both political parties. They are Dr. C. C. Hum-, phreys, president of Memphis State University; Congressman Richard Fulton of Nashville, Democrat; Congressman William Brock of Chattanooga, Republican; Lt. Gov. Frank Gorrell of Nashville, Mr. Edwin 0. Norris, Kingsport attorney, and Mr. Ridley Alexander, Jackson banker. The group expects to add about 100 members next week to head a study organization to look into ways in which the Constitution might be changed to better meet the demands of modern government. "We have become aware of the increasing severe handicap of operating a modern, progressive, state under an 1870 set of restrictions and present-day irrelevan-cies," said Dr. Humphreys. "Because someone had to take the initiative, the six of us, representing different occupational backgrounds, different political affiliations, different sections of the state, have joined together for the purpose of organizing such a statewide movement for a modern constitution." There is no doubt that a study of this type would be helpful, if it is comprehensive enough and takes in a wide enough representation of the people of Tennessee. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the present Constitution is too outmoded to permit the flexibility of government that is essential in the rapidly changing conditions of today. This is especially true in the matter of taxes and the classification of property for purposes of taxation. It is hoped the Foundation for Better Government can stimulate discussions on the Constitution which will be meaningful and involve citizens and leaders from throughout the state. Such a discussion could be beneficial if it is representative of all the people and does not fall into control of special interest groups whose purpose it might be to revise the Constitution to their own benefit instead of that of the public. Need Approval AFTER SIGNING a new law setting up a National Product Safety Commission, President Johnson has urged Congress to push 11 pending consumer bills to passage. These range from a meat inspection bill to truth-in-lending responsibility" to give people the protections and services the pending legislation would provide. Congress should heed the President on what he called an "urgent responsibility to give people the protections and services the pending legislation would provide. The pending bills are a step in the right direction. The President was right in saying, for instance, that there is a greater need than ever for passage of a bill that would require consumers be told the interest charges they are paying. Interest rates are rising and may continue in this climb. While many consumers may be more interested in what the monthly or weekly payments are, they at least should have the protection of knowing how much and for what they are paying for time purchases. Consumer bills are generally not very exciting to the Congress, a main reason being that the consumer voice is seldom heard clearly, if at all. But there are indications that one day soon the present mumblings will turn into resounding clarity through a nationwide organization representing the buying public. Congress hastens that day by its indifference to consumer protection legislation. Show of Action Is Not Enough A METRO policeman has been suspended from duty and a wrecker service suspended from the department's tow-in list as a result of an investigation into "payoffs." The department has been investigating complaints that some patrolmen were accepting money for calling certain wreckers to the scene of accidents. The suspensions of the policeman and the wrecker service indicate the reports are well-founded. There is no indication, however, of the breadth of the practice. In its present efforts to build a public image of purity and efficiency, it seems the department can ill afford the taint of the present situation. The department should make a determined effort to get to the bottom of the wrecker payoff affair, and this will not be done by making a sacrificial show of suspending one officer. Questions & Quotes By Hugh Walker Q. What prominent citizen of East Nashville had a brand of whiskey named for him. A. George A. Dickel, who lived just beyond Bowman Hill on Dick-erson Road. Q. What ship fired the first shot of the Spanish-American War? A. The gunboat Nashville. Letters to the Editor One's Blessings on Thanksgiving To the Editor: These are some of the blessings for which I am thankful: My husband for I have walked through many doors draped with the mourner's crepe or severed by the judge's final rap. My children for I have visited the lonely, quiet houses whose belongings are never in disarray. My friends for I have seen the hopeless eyes scanning the face of each new arrival on visitor's day. My country for I have been touched by the imprisoned stares of the souls appearing on the world's front pages. My health for I have daily passed the crippled, the blind, and the helpless. My God for I have found that He is Life, and the Giver of all blessings. GENEVIEVE J. WADDELL 3600 Kings Lane 37218 The Fitness Of Thanksgiving To the Editor: The Feast of the Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Dedication, came at the end of the harvest when the vines had been stripped of their fruit and the grain garnered. Deuteronomy was written by Moses and observance of the feast was mandatory. It was celebrated with great rejoicing as a time for happiness, as a time of thank- Letters to the editor must be signed and names and addresses will be printed except in unusual circumstances. Because of space limitations, letters may be edited. All letters must be 350 words or less before they will be considered for publication. Exceptions will be made to this rule only in special cases. An award of $1 will be made for the best letter, designated by three stars. fulness to God for all of his blessings. The command of Moses was carried out by the Pilgrims of Plymouth. In the fall of 1621 following a year of famine and hardships, the Pilgrims, with the assistance and guidance of Squanto, an English speaking Indian, reaped a bountiful harvest. It was followed by a three day feast and thanksgiving to which Indian friends were invited. It is interesting to know that one of the main foods served was wild turkey. This was the beginning of our American "Thanksgiving Day" which is now a national holiday. Every day we are given many blessings which we usually accept without conscious gratitude. We keep so busy with daily affairs we fail to pause long enough to count our blessings. We accept them as a matter of course. It is good to have Thanksgiving Day to remind us to be thankful for health and hap piness; for loved ones who are near as well as those far awayj for friends who will stand by us in sorrow or rejoice with us in successes that may come our way. It reminds us to be thankful for useful work to do; for our homes; for the necessities of life; for the pleasures we are privileged to enjoy. F. H. TREADWAY 226 Carden Ave. 37205 America's Come A Long Way To the Editor: America was "born in religion and forged in trust In God." It is the acknowledgement of both need and gratitude. Above and beyond all other factors for which a responsible people will give thanks is the blessing of freedom as a way of life, bestowing responsibilities, and rich in opportunities. Many Thanksgiving Days have come and gone since the Pilgrims gathered around the festal board to thank Divine Providence for a bountiful harvest which marked the end of a tragic experiment in socialism and two successive years of famine. America has come a long way, materially, since the Pilgrims were Inspired to offer thanks to Almighty God for blessings bestowed perhaps because as a nation, it long ago recognized the participation of the Deity In the affairs of men. It has not been selfish with its abundance, but shared these blessings with those in need. And the thoughtful among these cannot fail to see, at least in degree, that central to bounteous achievement are individual freedom and initiative. America should be thank-ful that it has the capacity, the material means, the moral and patriotic courage, to stay the hand of those who would destroy our heritage brave sons willing to give their all to defend it. Although we have countless things for which to be thankful today, for the most part each stems from the fundamental freedom established when Founding Fathers laid the legislative keel for the United States of America. Let us, on this Thanksgiving Day, be mindful of the precious heritage which makes possible this day of family reunions and unite in prayer that it will endure. CARRIE PIGQ D-6 Jefferson Apts. 2115 Portland Ave., S. 37212 Bissell's Brave New World President on Shaky Ground in Criticizing Priorities By ALAN L. OTTEN In the Wall Street Journal WASHINGTON President Johnson has taken to attacking Congress of late for applying "a disordered sense of priorities" to domestic spending programs, and almost surely the nation will be hearing more of this as the campaign heats The Visitor's Corner Presidential up. Yet the President has poor grounds for his protest, because the Congressional actions are the natural and quite expectable product of a vacuum created by Mr. Johnson himself: His own reluctance to set forth clearly, and advocate firmly, some very definite spending priorities of his own. Given this vacuum, Congress was bound to make its own decisions, and almost inevitably it has favored older, firmly established, better-lobbied programs over newer, more controversial ones. For a long while after the Vietnam war began consuming so much Federal revenue, the President continued to argue that the nation could afford all the guns it needed and all the butter it wanted, too. Gradually, though, he began to admit that perhaps the nation couldn't have quite all that butter but certainly it could afford to give a little more to practically every Federal program, old and new. Now, with his notice to the House Ways and Means Committee that he's willing to propose some sizable spending cuts, he f i n a 1 1 y seems ready to concede the butter portions must be reduced but all signs are that he'll still try to accomplish this simply by taking a little away from each. Mr. Johnson, in short, doesn't yet seem willing to acknowledge that the times and the Government's money squeeze require a very different approach: The setting of definite priorities among domestic programs, with perhaps large increases for top-priority items and level spending or even sharp cutbacks for less urgent ones. There really is no evidence in the budget or any other Administration pronouncement that Mr. Johnson has indeed confronted more than the most superficial problems of priority-setting. Where is the evidence that the White House has weighed whether to switch moon-landing money into the reconstruction of rotting central cities, divert dam and dredging dollars into slum children's education and Negro job creation, spend high- President Johnson Created a vacuum way and airplane millions on pure air and water instead? It's possible that the spending cuts the President proposes to Congress next week may seem to deal with a few of these questions, but chances are that any effort in this direction will, at this late date, be more sham than real. And the Presidential proposals will almost certainly avoid tackling such other basic questions as whether the Administration is spending too much to help older people and too little to help younger ones, or too much to help teen-agers and too little on pre-schoolers, or too much on medical research and too little on building medical schools. The President has clearly been ducking these and dozens of other tough decisions. Presumably motivated by a politician's desire to keep everyone as happy as possible (or at least to make everyone as little unhappy as possible), he has encouraged all programs almost equally model cities and supersonic transports, aid to old folks and aid to young, education and pork-barrel projects. First they were increased together. Then the increases were scaled back to gether. This may all be good politics (although some would argue it's not even that) but it certainly is poor leadership. It's easy to understand the President's reluctance. The choices are indeed difficult, the competing claims convincing. Politically, it's almost impossible to make the "right" decision, to avoid enraging somebody. And the views of key lawmakers aggravate an already complex chore. Moreover, the President had an unhappy experience last year when he tried just a mild priority-setting. He proposed cutbacks in school-I u n c h funds, in aid to land-grant colleges and in a few other programs and the howls were deafening. First lawmakers accused him of trying to pull a fast one, proposing cuts he knew Congress would reject. Then they proceeded to reject the cuts. The Congressional system, indeed, almost guarantees fragmented and often erroneous decisions. Long - established programs such as farm price supports, highway building, health research or aid to aviation tend to build up widespread, almost un questioning support. Voting for them becomes a habit with many lawmakers; to convince others, advocates can tick off evidence of accomplishment and progress. In contrast, new programs like model cities have to be taken on faith, or develop early snags that create antagonisms (the war on poverty is an example). Lobbyists for the older programs tend to be the more influential. Somehow, too, the Congressional committees handling the older programs push them with more unity and conviction than the committees handling newer ones display; in part, this results from the differences in lobbying impact. The seniority system provides the top members of committees handling older programs more prestige and following among their colleagues. Shortcomings inherent in the Congressional approach make it imperative that the President fix the priorities not only making the hard choices between competing claims but also dramatizing the decisions and rallying the nation behind them. " and after the Pilgrim Fathers were scared stiff h the wild Trick and Treaters, old Santa brought them wnmW ful TV dinners of turkey and dressing andranbeauce and loads and loads of wonderful presents and so hZall our first Hallothanksmas." 80 begaa

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