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Charge of the Right Brigade

Cabbages and Kings

By William W. Bartley iii

They were obviously energetic. In fact, they were determined. When they swept through the dining room door, the one in blue tweed had a card table tucked under one arm, a bunch of placards under the other, and a ballpoint pen in each hand. His friend were a dark brown jacket, glasses, and a briefcase. He walked very fast.

"Put everything right down here beside the door," the one in brown commanded. "Now they'll just have to go past us to get anything to cat." As the blue tweed struggled over the card table's legs, the one is brown sorted the placards.

By the time the members of the House began to come in for dinner, the two were firmly established. The largest sign was scotch-taped across the front of the table. In big red letters it said, "Scared to sign? That's the McCarthy issue!" On the left of the table were mounted newspaper clippings, with appropriate lines marked in heavy red pencil. On the right was a pile of signed petitions, in the middle a fresh, blank petition and a ball point pen. And squarely behind the table sat the one in brown--ready to educate the public.

"Don't be a scared liberal!" he shouted. "The McCarthy issue has reached the stage at which we can no longer afford the luxury of criticism. We must act!" His friend in blue stooped down to pick up the petition, which bad blown away.

Several shook their heads and passed by in silence. Finally, scrutinized the petition, and said, "What group are you connected with?"

"With none, we're independent," the brown suit replied.

"Against McCarthy and independent. . . Hmmm.. . . . How do I know you're not red-affiliated?"

"Now certainly you realize that being opposed to Senator McCarthy is not tantamount to communism," the brown suit intoned indulgently. "Why, even President Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson are against McCarthy, you know."

"Sure, but they're politicians." Then he looked at the ceiling and quickly signed.

One of those who had refused to sign got up from the dining table where he had been watching the proceedings and strode quickly over to the door. Placing himself four fact from the card table, he crossed his arms, moved his head from side to side, and forthwith started a tirade against "Fifth Amendment Communists" who were opposed to "the greatest blessing sent to America by God since Theodore Roosevelt."

"That a go! Give to them" several bystanders exclaimed. As a group of amused spectators began to gather around the opposing orators, the conservative gentleman pulled out a crisp petition for the Ten Million for McCarthy movement from his vest pocket. No one would sign.

The brown suited one smirked from his prosperous corner. "Look at him, he hasn't even signed his own petition. At least I've been brave enough to sign this one," he said, waving the top piece of paper.

The conservative whirled around to report. "That's a lie," he cried. "I've already signed one of them. But . . . just to show you I'm not afraid I'll sign another one." He did.

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