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HOMERIC AMERICANS

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Emily Newell Blair, being Vice-Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, ought surely to know how men act in politics; and consequently her ramifications on this subject in the current Harper's bear the stamp of authenticity. She finds the masculine half of mankind exceedingly dilatory and shortsighted, consistent only in its love of a fight. She finds the pugnacious instinct in politicians so ingrained that every political operation of form or fancy must run the gamut of battle. When women, writes Mrs. Blair, hold a convention, they allot to each delegate an equal number of complimentary tickets, but when men convene politically, they pass through the throes of civil combat to appoint a ticket committee favorable to one side or another.

The net result may by chance be as just. But the game is different. And throughout such political organization as the country possesses, there is a constant aversion among hardened campaigners to anything which could be called a system. The city machine, falsely so-called, is bound only by ties of self-interest to the party throughout the state; while a national party contains manifold units of unequal cohesion. The men who run politics take a fancy to leaving the door wide open for rebellion, usurpation, and insubordination. They work, as Mrs. Blair remarks not by program but by prowess. They have a fight complex.

One cannot claim a burning interest in the subject. Yet there is a mild fascination in this reaction of an eminent political lady to the conduct of political men, eminent and extremely otherwise. Why should the politician, handshaker though he is in some circumstances, habitually dive for a fight when he could be assured of modest winnings by gentler means? Mrs. Blair believes that explanations begin at home; that the housewife has long acted by program, unhampered in her kingdom of accomplishment, while man as warrior, bread winner, or political warder has always faced competition, and, being long habituated, now creates that competition where it is found lacking. This is equivalent to warning feminists that they too will acquire the fight complex, if indeed they have not got with some quarters already. But the impression also remains that Mrs. Blair has shown women, whether more or less cultured than men, to be innately more academic.

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