Baltimore Evening Sun (6 August 1913): 6.
Farewell, Colonel! Take care of yourself! And don’t forget to present my respectful compliments to Fräulein Sophie, the most refined kellnerin in Christendom. And to the affable Herr Wirt of the Hoftheaterkaif.
A DAILY THOUGHT. Let reason be opposed to reason, and argument to argument, and every good government will be safe.--Lord Erskine.
The suffragettes are having a deuce of a time explaining away the current attack upon their pet and prophet, the Hon. Ben B. Lindsay, J., of Denver. A few short months ago, as connoisseurs will recall, Ben was exhibiting himself at all the hayseed Chautauquas as a sort of animated masterpiece of woman suffrage. The “interests” in Denver had sought to butcher him, but he had been saved by the votes of lady moralists. He was touted far and wide as the greatest living champion of virtue in pantaloons, and many enthusiasts went so far as to call him the male Jame Addams. Belonging to a sex made up almost entirely of voluptuaries, seducers and scoundrels, he was the shining exception, the redeeming archangel.
But now poor Ben is in the pan, and the betting is even that he will be cooked. The recall, that potent magic, is being invoked against him. He is accused of the damnable crime of being merciful to men tried before him for sexual offences. It is even alleged that he has actually acquitted prisoners against whom the evidence was plainly perjured. And his accusers are not the “interests” aforesaid, not the old camorra of white slave traders, saloonkeepers, child-stealers and roues, but a posse of suffragettes! In brief, he is being put to the torture by the very intellectual giants who were his chief champions but a few short months ago.
This situation is causing a lot of disquiet among Eastern suffragettes. If they take the side of Ben, they will appear to be apologizing for his horrid mercy to erring males. And if they bawl him out and advocate his slaughter, they will be confessing that he fooled them in the past, and that, in consequence, they are not infallible. Neither alternative is very attractive, and so they attempt variois ridiculous compromises. Being a suffragette, alas, is not all a bed of roses! No wonder so many women prefer the security and tranquillity of the harem!
But, as I have often maintained, the monkey-shines of the suffragettes do not constitute an argument against woman suffrage. The suffragettes, as a class, are so little gifted with sense that they become eager converts to every new cure-all that is preached. They are in favor of everything windy and preposterous, from the single tax to vice crusading, and from the recall of judges to prohibition. In particular, they are in favor of all perunas which promise to torture and dephlogisticate the abhorrent male. Homophobia, or man-hatred, is their salient complaint, East, West, North and South. And this malady afflicts the male suffragette as much as it afflicts the female.
In the normal, sensible woman, of course, it is almost wholly absent, just as misogyny is absent from the normal man. This normal woman has charity for the weaknesses of men. She known that all of them are liars and that most of them would proceed to worse crimes if they had the courage, but she is privy to their deceits and knows how to circumvent them, and so she regards them tolerantly and a bit pityingly, much as one regards a dog caught hiding a bone behind the piano. Out of this pity springs affection. The normal woman, as the saying goes, “babies” her men folks--and they like it. She doesn’t want to jail them or hang them: she knows simpler and humaner ways of holding them in leash. The suffragette, having no gift for such genial tyranny, tries force--and fails. All men, great or small, will submit willingly to wheedling, but not one healthy man in 10,000 will submit to browbeating.
But as I have said, the suffragettes are insignificant numerically, and it is not likely that they will have much influence after the suffrage has been extended to women. Even in Colorado they are a small faction, and their statements as to what they have done in this election or that are not to be taken too seriously. Here in Maryland, the vast majority of women are sane and happy. They trust and revere their husbands and fathers, and a good many of them have a reasonable faith in their sons. I know very few women who regard their husbands as scoundrels. A good many of them, perhaps, realize that the potentiality of scoundrelism is there, but they are perfectly willing to match their feminine guile against the inept and transparent chicaneries of the villainous male. They don’t call in a cop to help them. They know their own business.
Even our colored women, over whom so much fuss has been made of late, have a great deal more sense than the more extravagant suffragettes. Born and reared in Baltimore, it has been my good fortune, since infancy, to enjoy the acquaintance of many highly respectable and industrious colored women. They are all very human and some of them show characteristic human weaknesses. That is to say, they send money to the heathen, buy unguents for making their hair straight, or indulge in other such harmless follies. But I have yet to meet one who believed in the initiative and referendum, or one who thought that boot-leg whisky was better than license whisky, or one who argued that jailing men would make them better. In all Maryland, no club of colored women has ever indorsed the single tax. In all Christendom there is not a single colored vice crusader.
No; we need have no fear of our colored women. If they are ever given the suffrage, you may rest assured that they will exercise it with reasonable intelligence. They may vote the straight Republican ticket, as so many of their brothers do now, but certainly that will be no evidence of stupidity. The darky who sticks loyally to the party that freed his father is a great deal more respectable than the darky who sells out to the opposition. He has a sound and logical reason for voting as he does: when he puts his crossmark opposite the nose of old Abe he gives the best imaginable proof of his virtue. But when it comes to the new quackeries, he is against them--and his sister will be against them, too. The colored women, fresh from the washtub, will save us from the rages of the idle and ignorant white woman. She will stand like Horatius at the bridge, guarding our hard-won civilization against the bloody battalions of the New Thought.