NOVEMBER 6, 1945
HYDE PARK, Monday—This column is being written too late to affect the way anybody will vote in New York City or anywhere else in the country. Most of the elections this year are local ones; and as this will appear on election day, I want to make a few observations which apply, I think, to our candidates for Mayor in New York City and our own election here at Hyde Park—but which may also have an application to many people and many elections now and in the future.
In New York City we have three candidates for Mayor. In the last few days, the Governor of our state has made some serious charges against the Democratic candidate, General O'Dwyer. One of the New York papers, too, switched its backing from the Democratic candidate to the No Deal candidate. I have read both the Governor's speech and the newspaper's editorial explaining its switch. I have great respect for the editorial writer as a historian. I doubt if he is quite as good a practical politician.
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My own reaction to the accusations which have been made during the past few days is that they have been largely political accusations. They are perhaps not entirely untrue; but put in their proper context and with all of the circumstances out in the open, they would present a very different picture to the public eye.
The obvious expectation would be that a candidate would promptly refute any accusations which he could categorically deny, or at least that he would try to explain his side of the question.
For those who did not change their vote, I should like to say a few comforting words. The strong man does not rush to deny accusations. He relies upon what is known about him and upon the future, very often, to prove his integrity. People who make explanations are less apt to be sure in their own hearts that they are invulnerable. The public is entitled to the truth, but it is sometimes entitled to proof of what is truth through action. I think General O'Dwyer knows his enemies and the enemies of good government well, and I think the future will prove that he knows how to fight them.
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Tammany Hall was organized by some of the finest of New York City's citizens. In fact, it promoted art and music in its early days. But then the finest citizens got a little discouraged with dealing with human nature as it appears in the problems of city government. Perhaps it requires more tough-mindedness and more familiarity with both good and bad human beings to cope with the varieties of people that one must meet and work with in a city like New York.
I am going to trust General O'Dwyer and look for good government. I am going to hope, also, that Tammany Hall, through intelligent leadership, may return someday to the good standing which it lost because, as so often happens, the good people are too good to descend to the area where some of the mud may be made to cling to them.