Editorial: No! (10-22-42)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 22, 1942)

Editorial: No!

Like the horned toad, the bluenose seems to have thrived on suffocation.

We thought we had buried him for keeps, nine years ago come Dec. 5. But here he is again, umbrella and sleazy plug hat and all, oozing piety from every pore and ready to be his brother’s keeper – over his brother’s dead body if need be.

Nine years. It doesn’t seem that long. The noisome scent of bathtub gin still quivers our nostrils. The headlines are still fresh in memory – “Beer Baron Slain,” “Booze Convoy Hijacked,” “Coeds in Rum Orgy,” “Senator Shot by Dry Agent.”

Lord, have we got to go through that again!

Wayne B. Wheeler, Bishop Cannon, Izzy and Moe, Al Capone, Rum Row, hip flasks, blind pigs, counterfeit booze, “just off the boat,” clip joints, flaming youth, “Hello sucker!” and jake paralysis. It seems incredible that the most fanatic of fanatics would want to revive that awful era. But here they are. The bluenose is under the tent.

Quietly they capture local-option elections here and there. Now they put the heat on Congress to:

…save our boys in uniform from demon rum.

Our “boys,” who would a sight rather be called men, deserve a better reward than this rabbit-punch from behind. The Marines in the Solomons, the Fortress crews over the Channel, the Navy’s “expendables” in their motor torpedo boats, must be boiling at the news – unless the censors have charitably kept it from them – that the pecksniffs are trying to “reform” them in absentia.

For heaven’s sake, let’s slap this thing down before it goes any further – before it builds up the momentum to roll us back to the bootleg age. From another noble experiment, may the good Lord deliver us!