Here and There on the Turf: "Reform" in Kentucky. the Ways of the Busybody. Need of Vigilance. a Fight to the Finish, Daily Racing Form, 1924-02-15


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Here and There on the Turf "Reform" in Kentucky. The Ways of the Busybody. Need of Vigilance. A Fight to the Finish. By the cheapest sort of political trickery a bill to repeal the pari-mutuel law was brought to a vote and passed in the Kentucky house of representatives Wednesday. If the friends of racing in the legislature of the Blue Grass state had been on watch for trickery the bill would never have been reported out by a com-mitte2. Of course, racing in Kentucky is in no real danger, from all accounts. A poll of the senate indicates that the bill will be killed when it reaches the upper house and Governor Fields is known to be friendly to racing. But the passage of this "reform" measure by the Kentucky house is just another example of successful political trickery on the part of these "high-minded" individuals who are so anxious to enforce their own narrow views on their more numerous opponents. Anyone who wishes to fight the "reform" element and preserve what few traces of liberty are left to the citizens of this "land of the free and home of the brave" must keep awake at all times. For every two citizens who have an innate desire to derive some pleasure" from living and mind their own business there is at least one other who considers any form of pleasure altogether satanic and devilish and who considers it his dut to prevent anyone who does not agree with him from enjoying anything. The man who minds his own business as a rule docs not bother his mind about the activities of those who have appointed themselves guardians of the public morals. In this he is making a great mistake. The sanctimonious "devil fighter" docs not play the game in that way. He is busy at al times lining up his narrow-minded brethren in some sort of a society for the prevention or suppression of this and that and the other thing. When he has "anti-this and anti-that" society completely organized and has arranged the all-important matter of revenue he proceeds to do everything h can to make his crazy notions the law of the land. In other words, the United States has come to be a sanctuary for bigots and cranks of all varieties. There are so many societies for minding other peoples business that all shades and varieties of cranks arc amply cared for. And at the head of each one of these organizations is some self-sacrificing individual who is willing to devote all of his attention to the work of making pleasure illegal, providing he receives a sufficiently large salary to make it worth while. Some of these "high-minded" officials are even willing to waive an adequate salary provision, if there arc sufficiently good opportunities in the work for lining the pocketbook in some other way. One prominent "reformer" of this stamp is at present under sentence in New York for forgery in the third degree. His faithful followers continue to praise him in spite of the fact that he is a convicted felon. He is a victim of a vicious conspiracy, according to these far-seeing idealists. j j The Kentucky situation is an excellent ex- ample of minority domination, which is a characteristic of -all "reform" activity. The Blue Grass state has always been known as the home of the thoroughbred. Breeding and racing are two of Kentuckys largest industries. Without racing Kentucky would undoubtedly lose a great proportion of its present prominence as a breeding center. The great majority of the people of Kentucky know this. They spoke at the last state election when they elected Mr. Fields to the position of governor by 50,000 votes over his anti-racing opponent. Yet the misrepresenta-tive house of representatives passed a biil which is directly opposed to the wishes of the people as expressed in that election. They passed that bill because the "reform" lobby exerted enough pressure of one sort or another to persuade those so-called representatives to ignore the expressed wishes ol their constituents. It is time that the liberal elements in this country make some effort to effect an organ- ization to oppose these stead encroachments on the rights of the individual. The "reform" clement is a minority certainly, but it is a minority so highly organized and so cohesive that an unorganized majority is unable to fight successfully. This is not a suggestion that the questionable methods of the "reformers" sha!l be adopted by their opponents. That would be altogether unnecessary if the anti-reform element was organized. As long as the liberal-minded people of a community continue to take little or no interest in elections and campaigns this pernicious "reform" minority will continue to threaten the foundations of democratic government. Everyone interested in retaining the rights which remain to the individual should scan the record of each candidate carefully before each election and then go to the poils with the i idea of defeating every effice-seeker who is I tainted with the "reform" stamp. Unless a person is willing to go to this trouble to pro-l tect his interests I12 is not justified in objecting later if the "reformers" succeed in robbing him of his freedom. The friends of racing in Kentucky must take care not to be caught again in such a I trap as that which was sprung Wednesday. There is still plenty of time to block this particular bill, as that must still hurdle the opposition in the senate and the practical cer- tainty of a veto by the governor, but, era-bcldened by the success of this particular move, the same elements which backed this measure will undoubtedly make further ef- forts to stifle the sport in the Blue Grass state, j Kentucky needs racing and the majority of the people of the state realize the fact. Racing would lose rreatly if it was barred from Kentucky. The fight which the turf is making in the Blue Grass state is of national importance. There should be no surrender to the j pernicious "reformers."

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