The Shallowness of Political Professions
San Francisco Daily Alta California, May 10, 1860
The Democratic organs are in a quandary. They are looking for a soft place to fall upon, ere they attempt to get off the fence which divides Douglas and his popular sovereignty theory, from the Administration and its opposite doctrine. In the whole political history of the country, we do not remember a single event that marks so clearly and distinctly the utter absurdity and folly of the pretensions of party advocates in regard to party principles, as is witnessed at the present juncture in the results brought about by the assembling of the Charleston Convention. Nearly every Democratic journal in California, and the great mass of those composing the party in this State, have committed themselves, openly, and positively against Mr. Douglas and popular sovereignty doctrines. Some of them have heaped unmeasured abuse upon him, and consigned him to the deepest possible political perdition. Yet the whole mass of them are now waiting with breathless impatience to hear the result of the proceedings at Charleston, and are ready, with one accord, to pipe in shrill treble for an Anti-Douglas nominee, or to roar in deep bass for the "Little Giant" if, as appears now to be the case, he is the successful candidate.
Is it possible that there can be a greater refinement of stultification than this? It is the quintessence, the oil of absurdity, and shows how utterly futile it is, to talk about the sincerity and honesty of modern political professions. "Principles, not men," cannot avail here, because the nomination of Douglas carries with it an entire change of principles, from those which would attend the nomination of an Administration candidate.
We tender our condolence and sympathy to those political journals which are now so anxiously waiting to know upon what key to tune their political pitch-pipe, assuring them at the same time that if they will only exercise a little patience and discretion for a few days longer, the Alta will give them the news, so that they may know which side to jump at an early moment after the arrival of the next Pony Express at Carson. Meantime it might be well to bestow some faint praise upon the Douglas, just to prepare the way and make the path straight, taking care not to go so far as to make it a difficult matter to double and take the back track, in the event that he is defeated.