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THE POISONED CUP

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

Since the Anglo-Saxon nations have decided for conventional security by majority vote, they have taken much of the more blatant drama out of government. For the thrills of sovereignty, a cabled connection with dictators or a censored story of revolution must suffice. When ballots replaced bullets in the determination of national policy, the obvious excitement left political life. In its place remain subtleties of verbal by play which not all can applaud.

Hence many are thankful for the sabers which, according to the dispatches, will be drawn in threatening swordplay between two high officials of the Polish government. Were the custom to be followed in the United States, duels, lineally descended from the Burr-Hamilton affair of the early Republic, would settle insurgent politics. A single snick of a rapier in the dawn might prove an effective cloture rule for Senate debate.

For those mentally alert, however there still exist deadly bits of dagger play in domestic politics. By careful reading of the reports, one may reconstruct the Borgian episodes in which votes are used as weapons. The Pennsylvania primary, and the Wadsworth manifesto in New York are examples of the secret power of wet sentiment. For many a candidate, the prohibition issue will be as deadly a potion as ever was wine poisoned by intriguing princes. Thus, a sophisticated danger yet lurks in ballot box politics.

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