MARCH 14, 1949
ST. LOUIS , Sunday—According to the morning paper, the crucial vote has been taken in the Senate on their change of rules to prevent endless filibustering. No one believes more than I do in complete discussion of any question of importance to the nation. But to prevent the final vote on a subject of interest to many people in the country seems to me to do away with real democracy in government, for the people have the right to know just how their representatives stand and how they voted on any subject of general public interest.
The coalition between Republicans and reactionary Democrats will have to take the responsibility for preventing the real freedom that is essential in a democratic government. This is a very interesting thing, because the Republicans should have learned something from the last election. As usual, they seem to forget that people sometimes take a great interest and follow the votes of their representatives. I believe that on a question of this kind there will be a very severe reaction against those Senators who voted in favor of preventing ultimate action from being taken on a bill after it has had a reasonable amount of argument.
I suppose, however, that now we will proceed to vote on renewing rent controls. I am quite confident of the fact that the administration of rent controls has not always been fair to the landowner, but I think the law is still needed as long as housing is as scarce as it now is.
It does require real discussion, however, because an effort should be made to correct those points where the administration has proved at fault. A woman wrote me in California suggesting that there be a national movement to get landlords and tenants together by starting a week in which everyone would be asked to "appreciate their home and the person who provides it." That, she said, would in many cases mean the landlord, and she thought it would lead to cooperation between landlord and tenant. I do not think this a very practical idea. Moreover, since a number of letters which I have received from different parts of the country all tell me in similar vein of the hardships of the landlord, I am just a wee bit suspicious that some special interest might be inspiring this letter-writing campaign.
I feel, however, that some of the letters are genuine, and I know that there have been real cases of hardship on owners who did not make enough out of their property to pay taxes, do necessary repairs and pay the increased costs of operation. This means that more individual care should be taken in reviewing genuine complaints of hardship, but the law should stay.
The campus at Stephens College in Columbia, where I spent Friday last, is a bit confusing. The business of Columbia is largely education, and the University of Missouri is only about two blocks away from Stephens College, so that the town and college campus seemed to me to be a trifle mixed.
I held a press conference in the morning, and at noon Dr. and Mrs. Rainey gave a delightful small luncheon. In the afternoon the League of Women Voters staged a radio interview. The league is very much interested in a campaign at present being waged for a new charter which will provide Columbia with a city manager form of government. They have succeeded in getting students to work in the campaign, which is of course valuable practical experience. I spoke in the evening, and left Saturday morning for St. Louis.