While gathering information for our “The Way We Were” feature we came across this letter to the editor in the February 19, 1931 edition of The Mountain Eagle. The letter — written during the height of The Great Depression — and response from founding editor Nehemiah M. Webb shows that worries about the future of the United States are nothing new. The good news is that our country and democracy survived that perilous time of 90 years ago, and will do so once again.
Editor of The Eagle:
You have been looking out of Time’s window and viewing things a long time. Won’t you tell your hundreds of readers just what is the matter with our country and with our millions of people? Will we ever get back to normal conditions or are we to finally perish as a people and nation?
AN OLD CITIZEN
Answer: There is nothing the matter with our country, the United States. The matter is with those who rule over us and legislate for us. … Much as we hate to say it, the United States is a political nation. When the politics of a nation or state or section become rotten, the whole people suffer and groan. They lose confidence in their chosen representatives and are prone to disregard the law.
Is there now that high and noble confidence, regard and respect for the rulers in either of the two dominant political parties that once prevailed among their followers. … Too many times already the masses have been betrayed and their rights usurped.
Now, let’s name some late disturbing factors. The long and uncertain tariff-tinkering called session of Congress; the heavy drought of last year that followed it; the nation-robbing and gambling Wall Street stock grabbing with its loss of billions out of the public’s purse and out of industries and trade; … the suffering and actual starving of women and children, generally for want of employment. …
My old citizen, may we hope and pray for a Moses to come up from the bulrushes, take charge of our forces, command us in righteousness, and lead us through the Red Sea of distress? As yet his face is not above our horizon in our beloved state and nation.