The longest struggle of the Good Citizens’ League was against the Open Shop—which was secretly a struggle against all union labor. Accompanying it was an Americanization Movement, with evening classes in English and history and economics, and daily articles in the newspapers, so that newly arrived foreigners might learn that the true-blue and one hundred per cent. American way of settling labor-troubles was for workmen to trust and love their employers.
The League was more than generous in approving other organizations which agreed with its aims. It helped the Y.M. C.A. to raise a two-hundred-thousand-dollar fund for a new building. Babbitt, Vergil Gunch, Sidney Finkelstein, and even Charles McKelvey told the spectators at movie theaters how great an influence for manly Christianity the “good old Y.” had been in their own lives; and the hoar and mighty Colonel Rutherford Snow, owner of the Advocate-Times, was photographed clasping the hand of Sheldon Smeeth of the Y.M.C.A. It is true that afterward, when Smeeth lisped, “You must come to one of our prayer-meetings,” the ferocious Colonel bellowed, “What the hell would I do that for? I’ve got a bar of my own,” but this did not appear in the public prints.
The League was of value to the American Legion at a time when certain of the lesser and looser newspapers were criticizing that organization of veterans of the Great War. One evening a number of young men raided the Zenith Socialist Headquarters, burned its records, beat the office staff, and agreeably dumped desks out of the window. All of the newspapers save the Advocate-Times and the Evening Advocate attributed this valuable but perhaps hasty direct-action to the American Legion. Then a flying squadron from the Good Citizens’ League called on the unfair papers and explained that no ex-soldier could possibly do such a thing, and the editors saw the light, and retained their advertising. When Zenith’s lone Conscientious Objector came home from prison and was righteously run out of town, the newspapers referred to the perpetrators as an “unidentified mob.”
In all the activities and triumphs of the Good Citizens’ League Babbitt took part, and completely won back to self-respect, placidity, and the affection of his friends. But he began to protest, “Gosh, I’ve done my share in cleaning up the city. I want to tend to business. Think I’ll just kind of slacken up on this G.C.L. stuff now.”
He had returned to the church as he had returned to the Boosters’ Club. He had even endured the lavish greeting which Sheldon Smeeth gave him. He was worried lest during his late discontent he had imperiled his salvation. He was not quite sure there was a Heaven to be attained, but Dr. John Jennison Drew said there was, and Babbitt was not going to take a chance.
One evening when he was walking past Dr. Drew’s parsonage he impulsively went in and found the pastor in his study.