FROM MAVERICK IN 1952 TO NOW AUSTIN For those who would be liberal and Southern, the native soil is crowded with enemies. Indignant with injustice, and sometimes simply to survive, Southern liberals have battled on their home grounds their assorted foes, the early railroad barons, the later oil kings, today the corporate personalities operating subtly and crushingly through their lobbyists to distort the aspirations of the people and mock the spirit of the Republic. A formidable array, all these, yet Southern liberals have had yet other foes, more elusive and thus more seriousthe historic legacy of racial animosity, the violent insular pride, the unflinching defensive posture smothering thought in the region. With these Northern liberals have not had to cope ; in a sense they are the lesser for it, deprived as they have been of the necessity of snuggling closer to their ideals for comfort in times of near extermination. The Southern liberal who has stood alone in his particular neighborhood, like a fragile young plant in an undergrowth of Virgina Creepers, has been so busy trying to breathe in the local climate, he has had no time left for superiority toward his Northern compatriots. And if he has sometimes found his idealistic ground cut out from under him by his more pragmatic Northern friends, he has kept his eyes focused on the local conservative brigands even while sinking out of sight. On the altar of “party harmony” and “winning the election,” Northern Democrats have mortgaged their ideals and compromised Southern liberals almost since inauguration day, 1932. For the cooperation of highly placed Southern conservatives in Congress, for a given bill in Congress or a given election, they have traded out, not only their philosophical allies in the South, but the very principles of freedom. N ORTHERN LIBERALS have functioned thus, even when they knew the Dixiecrats with whom they were dealing were suavely preparing the double-cross. Who can forget the impassioned figure of Maury Maverick, Sr., pleading in 1952 before the credentials committee in Chicago for help in removing “the chains that are slowly constricting the throats of Southern liberals”? Maverick, leading a Texas liberal delegation contesting the seating of the Shivers delegation. asked only for a loyalty oath guaranteeing that Democratic Party officials would not go into the lists for the Republicans, a reasonable enough request in a party system, but one that was denied in the interests of “party harmony,” i.e., winning the election. Who can forget the same Maverick telling a national television audience that Shivers would heist himself and the whole state Democratic party ma Public Defender the public prosecutor. He has equal rank and investigative facilities. He is a man of ability comparable to that of the prosecutor. His clients are those who cannot afford to hire competent counsel of their own. He fights for the rights of the accused as fiercely as the prosecution fights for a convic tion. From such struggles comes the best human approximation of true justice. The states which have the public defender system are California, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. In recent years there have been too. many miscarriages of justice in this state to say the preient system is satis. f actory. chinery into the Republican camp post haste? For their weak compromise, the Northerners got only defeat, nationally and in Texas, too, with Shivers “Democrats” carrying the day for the Republicans. For his idealism, Maverick got another battle-scar in his fight for liberal democracy, the admiration of many the nation over, and abuse at home. Now, 18 months before the next conclave of the mighty, ominous signs of more pragmatism and less liberalism are already appearing before haggard Southern eyes. Mr. Meany, he of the AFL-CIO, is hoping his Texas labor brethren will be nice to Lyndon. That Johnson has throttled the cause of Texas liberalism for a decade is of less concern to Mr. Meany than getting appropriate labor legislation through Lyndon’s senatorial bailiwick. Thus for a political ingratiation nationally, Meany would harbor those who stifle the future of liberalism in the South. Practical, perhaps, but unjust. As liberals we react to the injustice. As Southern liberals, it is time we do more than that. It is time we advance human liberty and human dignity ourselves by reminding northern Democrats that is is more important to be right than to have party harmony. Meany is trying to breathe a dead horse to life when he tries to fan AUSTIN One must proceed with righteousness as with a bowl of liquid fire, for there comes a time in the life of every newspaper when it must sell out to its advertisers, and yea, the time has come for the Observer. Lone Star Beer is, too, Certified, and, after an exhaustive investigation, we are prepared to give it a complete throatwash. True, we have not yet been able to establish what i s ‘certified about itperhaps that it is beer, guaranteed to bubble, foam, and taste like beer ; but that it is certified, and by the United States Testing Company, which has a five story building at Hoboken, New Jersey, offices in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Memphis, Providence, Dallas, Los Angeles, Denver, Canada, Brownsville, and San Angelo, an endorsement from The New York Times, and an electric typewriter, we can now vow without quail or hiccup. Bird-dogging the ads, “Lone Star Beer Is Certified To Be One Hundred Percent Beer,” or however they go, bird-dogging them, I say, in the nostrils-up tradition of The Texas Observer, I directed a letter to Lone Star in San Antonio asking about this U. S. Testing Company and just when it started taking a stethoscope to the beer kegs. Lo ! good old Bob Holleron, a compadre from the old days on KTSA in San Antonio, replied in his capacity as advertising manager for This put me off stride, but true to the Observer tradition, I nevertheless with stern mien awaited the letter from Hoboken which my friend told me was coming. In the meantime we had several staff conferences ‘on the problem at Scholz’s beer garten. Howird Scoggins, a printer by trade who seems to have read everything set in type as part of his apprenticeship, suggested that soon we may be seeing TV hucksters pouring Lone Star through Kent’s ten thousand filter tips, thus certifying that Lone Star is the one beer certified to have all the alcohol filtered out of it. Testing the product, however, we concluded that this millenium had not yet arrived. Taking Ourselves to the -Unabridged, we found that one may certify another’s irresponsibility, pregnancy, or insanity, but recalling the arrival of a Lone Texas labor’s respect for Lyndon Johnson. He should have realized that when his personal emissary, Andy Biemiller, told the state labor convention in Houston that Meany had told him to tell them how great Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn wereand was greeted with complete and total silence from the thousand labor delegates. But the of fort, however illfated, is symptomatic of a sort of fumbling, pragmatic political outlook that has been all too present in the Democratic Party for a generation. It is the sort of straw in the wind that could foretell a watered down civil rights plank in 1960, reminiscent of the watered-down loyalty pledge in 1952. Southern liberals w h o have openly advocated full rights for Negroes when the faint-hearted were being covert or actually paying lip-service to racist demagogues mock their own courage if they do less than demand responsible liberalism from the party as a whole. To the fair-weather liberals of the North who have never seen red-neck violence or been called a communist because of belief in human justice, winning an election may, in truth, be the most important item on their political agenda. To that end, they may temporarily and clandes-finely clasp Eastland and Talmadge to _their bosom every four years without too many pangs of conscience. Future historians may hold them accountable; Star ad that morning, we concluded that this line of inquiry would not be decisive. We knew no course but to find for ourselves what was certified by dint of unrelenting application. Mr. Goodwyn is convinced that we discovered the secret later that night, but none of us can clearly remember. DECEMBER FOURTH arrived a letter, descriptive literature, and a. clipping from The New York Times, which reported that the United States Testing Co., Inc., of Hoboken, N.J., is “one of the oldest and largest” testing companies in the field, although, the Times remarked, “It should not be confused with the National Bureau of Standards, the Federal agency.” Passing over the company’s 30,000 clients and 200,000 tests a year, we picked up, from this story, some clues about what might. be certified about Lone Star. “Products,” said the Times of the U.S. Testing Co., “are literally put on the rack, stretched, pounded, and. mauled until they end up so much junk. In the process the manufacturer learns just how much punishment his goods can take. Weak and strong features are determined and the way indicated for improvement, if necessary.” From this we concluded that we had, indeed, given Lone Star the correct test, except that we felt somewhat aggrieved the morning after that it had tested us more than we had tested it. U.S. Testing Co., the Times conalso bten conducting another important inquiry, “the mattress endurance test. In this one, a 285-pound, octagonal roller moves back and forth across the width of a mattress mounted on a spring base. The action results in a continuous compression and expansion of the inner spring construction and, at the same time, subjects the padding materials to pres sure. The test, now in progress, will continue until some type of failure occurs in one or more of the mattress components.” From this we deduced that the firm likely conducted similar tests on a stomach after a reasonable intake of Lone Star, tests which we cannot but presume are continuing to this moment. in their triumphant present only the Negro will silently pay the price of their callow opportunism. THERE IS NO built-in guarantee of victory in the cause of justice. It has advanced waveringly through the centuries. Individual men have had to see their own hopes suffer temporary setbacks in order to advance the cause of justice as a whole. We have to look back no further than to the life of Maury Maverick to realize that real victory is won by men who accept defeat rather than cornpromise what they know to be right. In the mid-twentieth century, the value of the American democracy hinges on the Republic’s willingness to fight to bring to full reality the principle the founding fathers stated as an aspiration : that all men are created equal. Southern liberals should insist that the Democratic party have the guts to do what they have already done throughout the South, refuse to be compromised by those who are wrong or silent on the fundamental questions of civil rights. If the Democratic Party as a whole compromises on this issuefor whatever trumped-up political reasonit tarnishes its 60 years of justice-seeking and publicly concludes that militance for justice is, after all, too bloody inexpedient. L.G. However, H. M. Block, vice-president of the U. S. Testing Co., Inc., provided us the most relevant data in his letter. The staff includes 71 engineers, 35 chemists, nine chemical engineer s, four bacteriologists, 160 technician s, 21 inspectors, two physicists, and three psychologists ; the company has ten branch laboratories; it is affiliated with at least ten scientific societies, including the American Chemical Society; to be sure Lone Star pays for the testing services, but that is standard practice for independent laboratories. “Ours is not a one-time certification, as we require a continuing audit of the products certified in order to verify that original standards continue to be met,” Block wrote. “Extensive qualification tests were conducted prior to acceptance of Lone Star Beer …. The plant methods for quality control were verified and the ingredients were all analyzed …. Comparative tests on leading national and local beers were run.” H ERE IT WAS in black on white : a certification that Lone Star had been certified, and is still being certified. Chemists, bacteriologists, physicists, even psychologists vanquished we were, and we knew it. Who can fail to drink so scientific a beer? All that remains is for the United. States Testing Company to station a man at Scholz’s beer garten charged to keep out a sharp eye and stamp “Certified” on the midsection of each sampler of this supervised and authorized brew, plus the addition of a censorship division at the Hoboken labs that we may have clipped and burned as uncertified Robert Burns’s epitaph to John Dove, the innkeeper at Mauchline: Strong ale was ablution Small beerpersecution, A dram was ‘memento But a free-flowing bowl Was the saving his soul, And port was celestial glory. R. D. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 Dec. 26, 1958 A CLEAR AND CERTIFIED BREW
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