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ON WHAT ONE. HAS UPON HIS ARRIVAL GALVESTON When the material sport is over, when we have enough, what then? The playwright Arthur Miller suggests the end of poverty is in sight this generation for Americans. When we have few more things to want, he says, we are going to have to discover again, as the Greeks had to discover, what it really means to be a human being. Education, politics, and literature must ask again the hardest questions,. doubting, challenging everything we have acceptedor we shall find ourselves rich and successful but, as a friend put it, “When you get there, there’s no there there.” There is a there in the forest, on the mountain trail, by the lake, the riverside, the long shore by the sea. The habituations of the city fall away like clothes before a swim; frustrations, the scheduled pursuit of pursuit, the spurious status have no force AUSTIN Talking to some Arab students at the University of Texas, one soon discovers that native cliches don’t have any special meaning for foreigners. The rather time-honored press traditions any American can instantly call to mind are ruthless refuted by unimpressed stoics from the Middle Last. In an argument about the American press, survival is still possible after all, there is Radio Cairo to confront them with, truly a horrible example of perverted journalism, as full of falsehood as Tass and not half as consistent. But intelligent Arabs scotch this gambit by simply agreeing with it. After all, the burden of “a free press” is not a part of their national heritage, it is a goal to work toward for them. So, freed of burdens, they retrain their guns on “your American corporate press.” They ask interesting questions : “Why don’t your papers explain American Middle Eastern policy in terms of what it really is, a preservation of the economic policies of your oil companies?” “Why, in vilifying Nasser, have your papers not given the facts that his regime is the most corruption-free in the Middle East, that he has not lined his pockets but has worked for what he thought was best for Egypt?” “Why are your papers so uninformed ; the papers who praised Dulles for his stand on the Aswan Dam gave reasons that even Dulles wouldn’t respect ; why are you so provincial ?” Having no desire to defend the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey, or Gulf, on the question of Middle Eastern oil, one suggests amiably that Adlai Stevenson might have a different foreign policy than Eisenhower, although domestic political realitiesthe Jewish vote for the Democrats, the oil monopolies for the Republicansmake any consistent U.S. policy in the Middle East an elusive goal. The other questions are harder to answer. IN FACT, they give rise to the whole question of what passes for “news” in America, a subject intermittently addressed by liberal journals, sociologists, public opinion peddlers, market research hirelings, advertising moguls, and newsmen generally. Among the controversial extion of the important from the trivial, as all storesfrom a sudden international crisis to the latest sex slayingare like wisps which flare into life briefly and then die, buried by the wisps of tomorrow’s news. big business slant because almost all newspapers are owned by conservaand are absurd. The cities are more crowded now, but not the countryside, the land abandoned as the people try urban life and work, and now is the time for the saving of the great green stands. ENTREPRENEURS, who are often so active in politics and the civic life, may not take time to let grow in them a companionship with nature. Sometimes they write editorials, like one in the Houston Post called, “A Logical Plan for National Forests,” but which, in accuracy, should have been named, “A Logical Plan for Giving Away the National Forests.” “In ten East Texas counties,” the editorial said, “the government bought some 658,000 acres which became the Sam Houston National Forest, paying an average of less than $5 an acre for it … The national forest pro ing an association of publishers, is consistent in its conservative slant. UPI, being in the business of selling news, plays it down the middle. Both are sterile. partly because the built-in habits of the trade preclude e’en rudimentary interpretation, partly because wire associations haven’t got time for many stories in and to stay in business, many of them must put entertainment above information. It seems somewhat futile to argue these findingsthey have been argued for years, and they are almost all off-point anyway. Try applying one to the question of the blackout on Nasser’s honesty. A conservative journal wishing to blast Nasser certainly wouldn’t have to suppress any facts about his honesty to justify entertaining’ lusty doubts about the man. No, these reasons won’t do. They wouldn’t explain why the Corpus Christi Caller, for instance, has such an enlightened editorial policyso often dealing with fundamentals and not simply with transient surface eventswhile up the coast the Houston Chronicle treats all controversial issues as if they were elementary, and does so with an emphatic dogmatism unmatched anywhere in Texas. Both papers have advertisers, both are owned by men of some means. The liberal St. Louis Post Dispatch is not only influential, it makes money : another contradiction. One is persuaded that many of the sins, real or exaggerated, placed at the feet of American journalism are caused by complacency. If they have a vision, it is not of what America may become, but of some undefined day already past when it was perfect. As Max Lerner has said, “America is not a fumbling for ancestors or a nostalgia for ruins.” Rather, the American tradition had grown by movement, is a moving democratic idea rooted in its own political institutionsan umbrella of dignity and hope that protects such concepts as the limited state, the right of revolt, the pre-eminence of the individual, the ideals of civil libertes, and the institution of representative government. Thus, conservative America is constantly wnning small points in passing disputes, only to be overwhelmed by the constants of history; man’s continuing aspirations are too dear and meaningful to be turned aside by small points of any kind. F COURSE, the Arabs were spared this declaration. They were merely presented the observation that their Nasser has had no worse a press than Woodrow Wilson or FDR received. They became thoughtful after that. L.G. gram was designed for temporary relief, but after about a quarter-century the federal government still has the lands on its handsaltogether about 80 million acres of comrriercial forest lands in 152 national forests. Much of the land now bears saw timber worth $200 per acre or more, and much of the land is worth $100 an acre or more.” One ‘would not describe this, precisely, as profiteers salivating over a precious national heritage, but I can not, at more moment, trouble to think of a more restrained description. Read on. “A plan is being advanced to get Congress to sell back to each of the counties the forest land within its boundaries,” the Post writer continues; “the counties to sell saw timber now on the land to private purchasers, and then to sell the land and a stand of small timber in small tracts to individuals.” This, it is concluded, would “supply sawmills with needed timber” and return an important natural resource to private enterprise, where it belongs. These forests do not serve the purpose of parks ; they were not intended to.” If the forests “do not serve the purpose of parks,” what do the lumber companies think the federal government bought them for ? We do not imagine the editorial writer on the Post has spent much time tromping around the four national forests in East Texas, but many thousands of Texans do so every year. They fish and hunt in the rivers and glades and swim in the lakes and ride horseback \(that, sir, is called “wilderness Nor is marketable timber going to waste. The Texas National Forests Administration sells millions of board feet of timber every year, and gives away other millions to residents of the forests. Here is a serious proposal that Congress sell, lease, and cut up into little pieces, a priceless heritage of the people, the national forests. They would leave us no place to gono glade to lie in aloneno really isolated time. T HEY WILL NOT WIN conservation, saving natural resources from despoilers, is as old in America as the present century. The love of nature, this is all it is, and the love of nature cannot be contained by the margins of a chamber of commerce report or the Houston Post editorial columns. For example, Bryce Lammert, Parks and Recreation Superintendent in El Paso, proposed last week a regional state park in the Franklin Mountains, if the proposed highway through Fusselman’s Canyon is built. NEW WAVERLY Could be that the able and well: heeled chairman of the state Democratic executive committee has realized it was slightly amusing to make like a dragon in the headlines with fire and smoke and lurid language about our also able and well heeled national Democratic committeewomen and then in the last paragraph in smaller type admit that no authority is vested in the state to ‘oust” the lady from the position to which she had been firmly elected. That, perhaps, was the reason that he issued the statement before going to McAllen to the effect that his Texas-styled Madison Avenue boys had been in error announcing that she would be “ousted” \(that was the I wonder if it has ever occurred to the chairman that a lot of us don’t “The highest point in the canyon would not only be scenic and beautiful,” he said, “but ideal as a site. It would be accessible to both sides of the mountain and probably could be developed at not too large a cost.” The state park nearest to El Paso, he pointed out, is Balmorhea, 200 miles east. Perhaps, he said plaintively, “the state might be willing to establish a park in the Franklin Mountains if state officials could be convinced of its need.” Hiking trails could be cut through the mountains, and marked trails and classes in mountain climbing could be offered. But will state officials be interested? We do not have a parks-conscious state government. For a foolish program to attract new industry based on advertisements few will read and all will take with a box of salt, the state legislature appropriates $400,000; for the 58 state parks, $270,000. As though we can attract people into Texas by building a new chemical plant at Seadrift while we neglect the parkslet garbage dumps mount higher at campsides beside the rivers. \(There is such a dump; this week it was still smoking from the latest THE NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE, at the request of the National Conference on State Parks. drew up a tot-sheet of what the states are doing with their parks. While the national average for attendance at state parks was increasing only nine percent in 1958, attendance at Texas state parks jumped 16 percent to a total of 5,226,358 people that year. For these 5,226358 people, the legislature employed only 71 people at the parks. With nine million of the nation’s 160 million people, the state had only one percent of the state-owned parkland,. and only four _tenths of one percent of the total employees working in U.S. state parks. Statistics, statistics ; they mean that our statehouse politicians take the state for granted. They are too busy economizing to please the interests .to get the campaign contributions to win_ higher office for themselves. They do not, could not, care. and pay the state parks caretakers very little more . .than $2,000 a year. One wonders how many of those five million people . who went to the state parks found what they were looking for: In old times one just went out there ; now there are peo7 plc, or there have been people, or there will be ‘people, everywhere. In a world more and more collective. more and more crowded, we must learn’ somehow to preserve the places we can go, places that are there when you get there. R.D. like the national committeeman quite as fervently as he doesn’t like the lady? But we don’t go about yelling about it or making rude threats. We just smile little quiet Mona Lisa smiles and wait for the day he sneezes. It won’t be like a guillotine with a basket to catch his head, more like a Texas razorthe old fashioned kind. In preparation for the need to fill a vacancy I would nominate a number of worthy citizens whose integrity is firm : Jim Sewell, J. R. Parauction block : Jim Sewell, J. R. Parten, Walter Hall, Jack Matthews, Bob Eckhardt, Jack Carter, Ed Smith, Franklin Jones. That’s the end of my paper but not of the names of good men who are available. M.F.C. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 September 25, 1959 Points Off-Point Harmony, It’s Wonderful