EVERY MAN A KING
MY Negro friend had also been invited. But he didn't come until midnight. He hastened to apologize to the hostess: "I'm awfully sorry I couldn't get here sooner, I was detained in my professional capacity." She was a little peeved. "It's just too bad you poets can't keep regular hours like other ordinary mortals. And do your writing in the daytime!" "Writing?" He grinned. "Did you say writing or riding? I run an elevator in an apartment house!" Everybody roared.
"Well, it's his own fault," I spoke up. "When he was over in the Soviet Union, we coaxed him to stay and do his work there. We offered him the best of everything, but he wouldn't stay. He told us he didn't want to eat our pie -- America's pie was yet to be made!"
"We had our Revolution in 76," said the actor. "All we have to do is to go back to it."
"No, not back, forward to the new 1776," said the Negro boy.
"Don't make any difference to me, as long as we get out of this mess. The New Deal is a flop -- and Roosevelt will go next. Then, maybe, we can do something."
"That's what everybody said when we got rid of Hoover. It will take more than merely getting rid of Roosevelt."
"Well, who do you think can do the job?"
"All of us together, the people. The workers and farmers and we helping.
"Oh, that would take ages! How about Huey Long?* He's out to give a job to everybody with an income of at least $2500 a year. It's not much, but at least it's security and that could be done at once."
"Huey Long?" the poet laughed. "The trouble is that you prefer to believe in Messiahs instead of doing something for yourself. I come from the State where that man is Boss and has been for years. He himself said, 'I'm the Constitution in Louisiana'. He is, virtually a dictator. Have you any idea of what he had done down there?
"I'll tell you. I have a brother working down there on State Construction jobs. Twenty-five hundred dollars a year? My brother gets 10 cents an hour. Do you think it's because he's a Negro? The white man gets the same. In that respect there's 'equality'. A labor union delegation went to Huey Long protesting the coolie wage. You know what he told them? 'The wage scale in this State is the lowest that we can get men to work for'. That's the man who'll make every man a King. On ten cents an hour!"
*Since this was written Huey Long was assassinated by his political adversaries, who are even more reactionary than he was. I also read in the American newspapers that a labor party actually representing the workers, farmers, small business men and the intellectuals is in process of formation.