SEPTEMBER 23, 1952
HYDE PARK, Monday—I remember many years ago the attitude of a candidate for President who was running against William Jennings Bryan. Mr. Bryan was speaking for free silver. The Republican candidate, when he invaded the free silver states, had the courage to say approximately this: "I stand for the gold standard in the East, I stand for the gold standard in the West, and I believe in it for the whole United States."
The very courage of this stand brought instant acclaim, though naturally it probably changed few votes in that particular area.
The people of the United States always have admired sincerity of expression, courageous conviction and the nerve to say what one believes, even when among those who disagree. Like an echo from the past was Gov. Adlai Stevenson's stand on civil rights as well as stand in opposition to unlimited filibustering when he spoke in Richmond, Virginia. He may have changed few votes in his audience but he certainly must have won much respect.
A change in the Senate rules to bar filibustering is, of course, a very important one and again should receive careful consideration.
To bar any real discussion, to keep someone from bringing out new facts and new opinions, on a subject under discussion would be in opposition to our democratic practices. That is not what a change should aim at, however.
The purpose would be not to limit real debate, but to make the indefinite prolongation of a debate impossible. When every opinion has been stated, when every fact that can be produced has been produced, and when legislators, in order to prevent a final decision being taken by a vote, talk to every possible device such as reading from the Bible or from any manuscript they may wish to choose, then a vote must be taken.
This type of behavior that prevents any final decision by the taking of a vote and leaves the victory to the side that can talk the longest seems to me to circumvent our democratic processes instead of making them function properly.
I think that, of course, it would be much better if the South itself would face the world situation, and, state by state, pass laws that would give full equality of education and employment to every citizen of the United States. There are no more second-class citizens in any state in the Union, and if we are going to be equally responsible then we should have equal opportunity for education and for economic advancement.
The South has done so many wonderful things in the past few years that it can make its own changes to meet modern world conditions—perhaps better even than could be done by the Federal government. Therefore, those of us who have an affection for our country as a whole hope that the South itself will meet these problems.