We Might Welcome This Help From The Outside
May 3, 1960
We Might Welcome This Help From The Outside
In the busy days that Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Humphrey have spent stalking voters over the hills and through the hollows of West Virginia, they have been pursued by a growing number of news reporters, most of them from other states.
Ordinarily, the presence of these writers and commentators would be a source of quiet pleasure to those among our citizens who are piqued when the word "Virginia" follows a West Virginia place name in a national news account.
But they seem to have made a mistake during their visit. Instead of describing the grandeur of spring, the opulence of the Greenbrier or the retention of Elizabethean dialect in the Appalachians, they have had the temerity to write about and talk about the social conditions they have witnessed.
One of our gubernatorial candidates saw through the flimsiness of this journalistic chicanery and made a remarkable analysis of their accounts of the misery, unhappiness and human suffering they have encountered.
In the words of Harold Neely, who earlier suggested that the two senators go home, they are an "ungodly conglomeration of columnists, analysts, pollsters and phoney prognosticators who are creeping and crawling in the tracks" of Humphrey and Kennedy. He demands "a halt to this invasion from the North by these troublemakers and carpetbaggers with their satchels full of jealousy, hate and venom..."
Unfortunately, there is a flaw to his logic: it is hogwash.
For the same reason that we believe the men from the New York Times, the Boston Globe or NBC-TV are at least as competent and as well trained as the men from the Welch Daily News, the Logan Banner or The Charleston Gazette, we believe that their stories eventually will be an important help in relieving some of the pressures on our state's economy.
Who can argue that there is unemployment in West Virginia? Or that there is want? Or that the state is among the most depressed in the nation? We can't. And we don't think many others (Mr. Neely included) can either.
Instead of being outraged by the stories that these "carpetbaggers" are reporting, we should be grateful for this unique opportunity of focusing national attention on the plight of our unemployed. It is an opportunity that many of our own troubled leaders have unsuccessfully tried to find.
It takes no unusual insight to know that our displaced workers are unable to solve their own problems; a five minute talk with almost any unemployed miner would prove it. It doesn't take a genius to see that state government and the political parties that compose it are unable to offer more than token relief.
The most obvious alternative for quick, and perhaps permanent help, is large scale federal aid. To get it, we have to show the need for it.
For that reason alone, West Virginians should be glad to know that the condition of their suffering fellow citizens is being brought so forcefully before their political leaders and their fellow countrymen.
It is time to abandon the inane and provincial pride that is among the last vestiges of our "good old days". Instead of condemning our visitors for reporting what they see, we should applaud them for telling our story.
Kennedy Money Seen Issue
Kennedy Money Seen Issue
CHARLESTON - Book shops in West Virginia cities have crowded their windows with the new biographies of the presidential candidates. The faces of Jack Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon and Nelson Rockefeller peer out at one from the displays. With them also are books by Adlai E. Stevenson and magazines with articles about, or by, Lyndon Johnson and his fellow competitors.
"Has the campaign helped business? I asked of a nice lady in one shop.
"Not too much. Not as we had hoped. People talk about them. But they don't read much."
"How do you feel about the primary?"
"Well, my friends and I who do read, talk. We rather like the idea of a fresh young face in politics. The old ones have been around for a long time. There is an appeal about Kennedy. But there are a few things which worry one and I don't mean religion. It's money. He has never had to worry about money. He says he doesn't even carry money in his pockets. This concerns some of us who wear holes in the ends of our pockets trying to find that last nickel. A person who has never had to figure out things on the basis of a need for money may not know how to meet the needs of people and the country."
One encounters the young-man thought often.
"I don't know how I'll vote, but I like the idea of a young man," said a man who talked with his wife listening. She nodded approvingly. "Maybe we have been picking our horses after they have become too old. Maybe we need a three-year-old."
This sentiment, in varied form, is commonly met with. Some of it reflects indirectly the curious mixture of feeling about President Eisenhower. The people like him. There is not question about it. But a great many of those who have the most affection for him seemingly feel he has been more of a caretaker during a difficult period and that while he has done a good job in that capacity, the need is for a younger man.
Here and there one finds a voter who thinks Kennedy is too young.
"I think about him sitting down opposite that Khrushchev and it gives me the shivers," said one. "That guy would salt and pepper him and swallow him alive."
But in the main, Kennedy's youth seems to create little opposition at least in West Virginia.
Since victory and the momentum it would create are so important to him, Kennedy is not talking much about issues, save that of relief for the unemployed. What he is trying desperately to do is win in a state which is overwhelmingly Protestant. And so, he bends all to establishing an image of a winner.
A great deal of money is being spent. One of the shrewdest moves was to bring in Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., to speak for Kennedy. The concentrated use of young FDR has been in the region where most of the Protestant voters and much of the distress are located.
The magic of the Roosevelt name is great. Most of the people in the distressed areas are past middle age. They remember the distress of 1930. They know it was FDR who made John L. Lewis and the mine workers strong. They recall all the tremendous reforms of the New Deal. And to have the son of the dominant personality of those days come and speak to them for Kennedy dulls the edge of religious prejudice. Every reporter who witnessed one of these appearances noted how life flowed into faces thin, wrinkled and set into permanent lines of resignation. Their eyes lighted and smiles came. Men turned to one another and remembered the old days when the New Deal and hope were young.
This has hurt Hubert Humphrey. To be fair, one must admit he has been up against a well dinanced statewide organization. There are some who resent, as they phrase it, the fact the Kennedy's think they can buy the election. Hubert Humphrey, somewhat on the defensive, talks of the difficulty of running against a pocketbook which always remains full no matter how much is taken from it. Also, the argument put forth by Franklin Roosevelt Jr., that Sen. Humphrey can't win the nomination and that a vote for him is wasted has hurt.
It will be close in West Virginia.
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