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The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907, September 21, 1905, Image 9

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SEPTEMBER 21, 1905
&e Nebraska. Indopondcnt
PAoa o
PLATFORMS AND PASS HOLDERS
(Continued from Page 1)
to find me one old time pass
holder who has helped make the
public sentiment that now exists
against free passes. The pass
holder is a railroad procured man, and
the people cannot trust him. The
pass-holders are responsible for polit
ical conditions that have existed in
Nebraska for twenty-five years. The
people have been betrayed by some
body, and this somebody is the old
time pass-holder. Because a resolu
tion is now passed in a convention
does not mean that all these old pass
holders have become regenerated, and
that they have purged themselves of
corporation influence. It means noth
ing of the kind. The fact that he,
with passes in his pockets, votes for
an anti-pass resolution simply shows
that he is adding hypocrisy to the be
trayals that he has already practiced
upon the people all these years. .
Unbribed Officials Needed
So that I will be clearly under
stood let me say that populist and
democratic pass-holders belong in the
same class. I am not now talking
about any political party. I am speak
ing about pass-holders. In the ranks
of the republican party will be found
hundreds and thousands of voters who
"are not tainted with railroad influ
ence, and these republican voters
want to throw off the railroad yoke,
I believe, just as much as populists
and democrats do in this state. You
will never get rid of railroad influ
ence in this state, however, except
by delegates and candidates and pub
lic officials who are free from rail
road influence and who therefore must
be free from railroad passes.
Rejected Anti-Pass Bill i
Last winter, while 'the Nebraska
legislature was in session, I appeared
before the committee on railroads to
advocate the passage of an anti-pass
bill I had drawn. The committee
looked at me with glass eyes. It had
no t sympathy with any kind of an
anti-pass bill, and members of that
committee arose in that meeting and
openly boasted that they were riding
on passes and proposed to do so as
long as they could get them, and only
regretted that I did not do the same.
That committee treated that anti
pass bill with contempt. It did so
because everyone of them, as I am
informed, at that very moment had
their pockets full of railroad passes
from all. the railroads in Nebraska. If
that committee had been a committee
of free and independent men, who had
not been riding on passes for years,
they would have passed that bill or
another one that would have abolished
the free pass system. Let the people
not be deceived. Old time pass
holders cannot be trusted. If the
state government is ever purged
from railroad influence it must be
dene and will be done by men who
have not been the political agents
and friends and representatives of
the railroads all these years.
Throwing the passes away when the
public with the whip of righteous in
dignation is whipping these recreant
officials into line is like a death bed
repentance it means nothing. Public
officials who throw their passes away
simply because the public makes them
throw them away will again take the
passes just as soon as the public
quiets down upon the question. They
do not refuse the passes from a mat
ter of principle, or because they be
lieve the acceptance of them to be
wrong, but they refuse them because
they are obliged to to save their
political lives. 1 Beware of these old
pass-holders.
A. Meaningless Plank
In the second place the resolution
passed is meaningless. If the reso
lution had been passed by a conven
tion of delegates free from railroad
influence, it would have squarely
placed itself on record and in . un
equivocal language stated whether it
favored the abolition of passes only
in the hands of public officials, or
whether it meant to destroy the whole
system. It would have declared in
the clearest language its views upon
the pass question, which this reso
lution does not do. The resolution
is weak and stupid, and every man
can read his own interpretation into
it. Here is the resolution:
"We believe that the giving of free
transportation upon railways is det
rimental to the interests of the peo
ple, and recommend that a law be
enacted by the legislature of this
state to prohibit it."
The Omaha Bee Interprets this res
olution to mean that the- legislature
shall pass a law prohibiting the rail
roads from giving free passes to pub
lic officials only. The Friend Tele
graph says:
"Resolutions were passed against
the use of free transportation by pub
lic officials and recommending a law
prohibiting the same."
Pin Faith to a Subterfuge
I assert that a law prohibiting rail
roads from giving passes only to pub
lic officials amounts to nothing.. This
would simply mean that these public
officials, before they are elected,
would have the right to ride on all
the passes they , wanted to. The pass
holders of the state would nominate
them and elect them, and then upon
their elevation to any office, they
would stop riding on , passes. Then
just as soon as their terms expired
they would take the passes again.
Will any one argue that this kind of
an official is free from railroad influ
ence while in office? In order to
purge the state of Nebraska from rail
road influence the entire free pass
system must be destroyed. Any con
vention that declares for anything
less than this is declaring for some
thing that amounts to absolutely
nothing.
Trying to Fool the People
I am not a prophet, but I will risk
the prediction that any law that any
legislature will pass based upon that
resolution will be simply to prohibit
office holders from riding upon pass
es. I will make the prediction that
if a special session of the legislature
should be convened, it will pass a law
that will be weak and meaningless
and that it will not strike at the whole
svstem. This will not be done be
cause the Nebraska voters are in fa
vor of that kind of a law, but it will
be done because pass-holders in the
state are in favor of that kind of a
law. These pass-holders believe that
they can fool the people and make
them believe that something has been
done when in fact nothing has been
done.
Last Legislature Lax
There is some talk that the gover
nor will convene a special session of
the legislature to pass an anti-pass
law. That the present legislature is
a railroad procured, legislature no one
will doubt. Any kind of a law that
the present members of the legisla;
ture will pass will be the kind of a
law that the railroads themselves will
be satisfied with. That - legislature
did absolutely nothing last winter that
the railroads did not want done." Not
once did they do what the people
wanted them to do upon any question
touching railroad control. The gov
ernor, himself, in his last message to
the legislature said not one word up
on the railroad question, nothing
about free passes, nothing about
hsh freiaht rates, nothing about
taxation of the railroads. He
was silent as the grave' upon all of
these important questions. Open let
ters were written the governor de
manding to know whether he rode on
passes. He said he did, and that they
were given him only as courtesies
Because the republican state conven
tion adopted the resolution referred
to, has the courtesy been converted
into not only a discourtesy but into an
actual bribe? Let us not be de
ceived. Pass-holders and pass-holding
officials do not believe that a pass is
a bribe, and they do not care whetner
it unjustly discriminates in their fa-
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