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Stevenson’s Prophetic Voice AUSTIN Adlai Stevenson is still the Democrats’ prophetic voice. Few men in our history have conveyed such a passionate will to tell us the truth. No man in our public life today approaches his mastery of language and ideas, a mastery which yields itself to his passion for the human race. Among our great American philosopher-politicians, only Jefferson had in the same graceful proportions Stevenson’s learning, eloquence, versatility, and serious concern for mankind. Last year Stevenson approvingly quoted the late A. Powell Davies, “The world is now too dangerous for anything but the truth, too small for anything but brotherhood.” Pressed in by needs and interests, Stevenson wrote, “it takes an extra dimension of vision to see beyond our inner circle of personal interest. Most people, most of the time, do not possess it, that extra dimension of vision, which is one reason why self-regarding ininterests make up so much of the stuff of politics.” We have concluded that Lyndon Johnson of Texas is one of the national leaders who lack this extra dimension of vision. The Presidency, as Franklin Roosevelt said, is “pre-eminently a position of moral leadership”: as Teddy Roosevelt said, a “bully pulpit,”in which it is not enough to follow McKinley’s practice of “keeping his ear so close to the ground he got it full of grasshoppers.” Stevenson has been speaking out and “the idiocy of war ad its mortal danger to the human race,” broadcasting today’s “most fateful fact” that in North America per capita income is $2,000, but for two-thirds of humanity is $100. He proposes to end this growing gap between poverty and wealth ; create new supra-national patterns and institutions ; work for “a disarmed world under law and or ganized police power” ; and “extend as far as it lies in our power the con cept of an open world. For it is in our acceptance of variety and differences, harmonized but not suppressed, that we in .our turn work not only with the trend of history but in accord with the ingraineddiversity of mankind.” His foreign policy vision glows steadily upon “the larger hcipe that,. as science and technology bring the nations inescapably together, freedom, not tyranny, will be the organizing principle of the society of man.” Bringing together Stevenson, the present, and Jefferson, the past, was bound to be an event ; and so it was on April 12 at the University of Virginia, when Stevenson delivered the founder’s day address. You may have seen the cryptic quotes about the Republicans’ “leaderless lassitude.” The continuous failure of the daily news: papers in the task of informing the people’ of “the gravity of the issues and the decisions that lie before them” could not be better illustrated than by their inadequate reports on this moved, moving, and historic address. One evening, rolling through Texas fields of Indian paintbrush, primrose, and bluebonnets, we read this speech, shining like the beams of the sun through the dark clouds’ mouth to the soul of man. The same evening, we tried to read speeches of John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. By comparison they were intellectually thin and tonally shrill ; the work of bright young men on “the staff,” sincere, liberal, and informed, but not precisely enlightened. Lyndon Johnson’s talks, however, seem to descend yet to a lower level, where arguments camouflage opportunism and verbal tricks play self-serving games with truth and hope. Stevenson, upon whose language no one with good sense and becoming humility seeks to improve, said that were Jefferson alive today, “As he fought for the Bill of Rights in his own lifetime, so would he be fighting today for their application to all Americans. What mattered to him, as to all liberals, was the extension of freedom and the rights of the individual.” Believing in self-government, in the good judgment of the people, Jefferson would have had contempt for “this recent history of truth trifling and misrepresentation.” His concept of leadership contrasted sharply with “a benign chief magistrate who countenances little criticism and comforts the people with good news or none … “To Jefferson, this tendency to stifle debate struck at the very heart of our idea of government by consent, the moral foundation on which government rested. That is why I think he would be dismayed at today’s public relations techniques which are \(lesigned to smother political debate with images, slogans, and catchwords.” Stevenson hoped the Democrats, the members of Jefferson’s party, would soon be discussing why we have lost military superiority, have faltered in the fight for disarmament, are not providing our children with good education, have not yet guaranteed the right to vote ; “why we spend billions of dollars storing surplus food when one-third of humanity goes to bed hungry” ; why we still have urban slums, inadequate medical care, “why we spent more money last year on tranquilizers than on space explora 7 tion, and more on leisure than on learning.” HOUSTON I might be timely, as my guest column for the Observer, to discuss some of the implications of the startling big-business campaign, mounted in Dallas and Houston, to win control of the legislature by heavy spending for selected rural legislative candidates, coupled with. high-finance candidates in the .big cities themselves. Voters can be grateful that the secret letters and memoranda which outline this campaign have been brought to the public’s attention. Otherwise unsuspecting Democrats might think that the big business interests still honor the principle that local. voters should control local elections. But even though we have been forewarned, the dizzying spending campaign designed to produce a 1961 legislature that will pass a general sales tax is going to have some effect. How much, we won’t know until May 7th. As I told the Young Democrats’ convention here Saturday, Allan Shivers has emerged from his mansion now and is backing an effort to put the general sales tax on the people. He is only a symbol ; the people who backed the Shivers regime are also exposing themselves to public view. It makes an interesting picture. On March 4, the Associated Press carried a story frpm Dallas headed, “Business Group VVarns of Liberal Legislature.” That story revealed the fears of big businessmen like E. B. Germany and Herman Brown that our legislature might be becoming more liberal. They certainly have the right to worry; but the rest of what they. are doingtrying to buy the legislature of Texasis not reasonable or right. These men published lists of “the good guys” and “the bad guys” who are running for the legislature. which included all of the legislaive races this spring. They went out over the signature of Preston Weatherred, long known as one of the most cynical lobbyists in the business. FOR JUST A MOMENT, let’s ask why money and propaganda About the Author Our guest columnist this week is Rep. Dean Johnston of Houston, former state president of the Young Democratic Clubs of Texas and advocate in the House of a graduated corporate profits tax and other liberal legislation. “.. to millions of people just emerging from feudalism or colonialism we still look like a nation that has forgotten its revolutionary heritage and moral purpose, and that prefers the political status quo, business profits, and personal comforts to the traditions on which our Republic was founded … Our foreign policy has been dominated by sterile .anticommunism and stupid, wishful thinking, our domestic policy by fear of inflation and mistrust of government. We offer aid less to help others than to shield ourselves …” Yet the communists have “thrust and purpose,” in Russia and in China. “Early this year Richard Nixon admitted that a crisis provokes demands that the President ‘lead the people up to the mountain top.’ And he added that this was the easy way, but not often the wise way. Mr. Nixon is wrong. It is the wise way. But it is not the easy way … “These have been tranquil, comfortable years, but the great decisions have been postponed. This is why the year 1960, like the year 1860 and the year 1800, is one in which the issues transcend all the usual political passions of a quadrennial election. … We can no longer pretend that the challenge of the 20th century can be met with better detergents and more toothpastewith private opulence and public squalor. It can only be met should flow from “Adolphus Tower, Dallas,” down into Liberty County and Harris County and Smith County and Wharton County, and other counties all over Texas? It comes from a group of well-heeled men, heads and executives of giant corporations, who do not hesitate to try to influence local elections clear across the state. Eight of their directors come from Dallas, only one, Herman Brown, from Houston, and four or five from the rest of the state. Anything but grass roots democracy, this flow of money and labels-for-legislators from a Dallas “Tower” is a negation of representative government. Have we reached a time in Texas when corporation chiefs can draw up a slate of candidates for the legislature, send them money, arid get . the legislation they want? If” that was true, Texans could skip going to the polls and dig into their pockets to pay the general sales tax the corporations want passed so they won’t have to pay their own fair share of the taxes. From another front, revealed in the Observer on March 18, Ed C. Burris, lobbyist for the Texas Manufacturers’ Assn.carefully writing on his personal stationerysent out a request for funds for sales tax candidates in rural areas. The most fascinating statement in Burris’s letter on his slush fund was this one: “After you have finished reading the attached material, I would appreciate your returning it to me, since I an fearful of having it circulated too extensively.” You don’t have to be a detective to spot big business lurking behind the Burris money bush. He makes it plain the money is being collected for rural campaigns because they are less expensive than city campaigns ; and besides, the cities are already organized. The most revealing part of his secret memorandum on his “PIPE” fund is this statement : “Care will be taken to avoid the necessity for any contributor to PIPE to be responsible for reporting his Contribution. His contribution, if $100 or more, will be distributed among several candidates. “Care will also be taken to avoid the necessity Of PIPE’s ever being listed as a contributor to any campaign.” What, really, do we have here? We have the MIA’s chief lobbyist soliciting funds he says will total $65,000 \(obviously he wouldn’t object if they Adlai E. Stevenson with better education and more attention to our public needs … “This is the Jeffersonian mission the sacred obligation that confronts all Americans who honor his name todaythe overwhelming challenge, the exciting opportunity to show the world that the American Revolution still belongs to all mankind.” The Observer endorses this brilliant American visionary for the Democratic nomination for President. THE EDITOR goinc , to be spent secretly in selected local rural Texas legislative races so that not a dime of it will be reported to the public. If the Election Code has a loophole this huge in it, it’s past time for the legislature to close that hole. HOPE YOU WILL pardon a personal reference which will illustrate another ‘dimension of this big-business campaign to take over the legislature. L. H. Durst, a vice president of Brown and Root \(Herman Brown, remember, being a direcsent out a letter for my opponent discussing campaign literature, “plant and office visitations,” post card mailings, bumper stickers, personal cards,. and placards. Brown and Root em2 ployees are being coerced into campaign .work; clerks and stenographers are being asked to give cof fees. For a lithe -comic relief, the country club managers organized for my opponent, agreeing to raise, with other groups, a total of $15,000. A letter sent to all club managers expressed alarm about a possible tax on club dues. The P.S. on the end of the letterwfitten by the manager of the Houston Clubis most amusing : “I have accepted this assignment to work actively in the election of \(the other am a registered Republican and I intend to vote Republican in the May primaries. I think that TeXas needs the two-party system if it is to continue to grow !” All this of fort, high drama, comic relief, is occurring because the big corporations fear just taxation, and want to put a sales tax on the people to save themselves some money. T.M.A. has endorsed a general sales taxthey make no bones about it. There are other important issues hanging in the balance, too : the 50cent minimum wage, unemployment and workmen’s compensation benefits, .corporation profits and gas pipeline taxes, proportional representation for the big cities, tuition rates at state colleges, open beaches, party integrity all these issues are shaking the very foundations of the Adolphus Tower. It’s the same battle between those whom Franklin Delano Roosevelt called “gluttons of privilege” versus those who favor the greatest good for the greatest number. I know which side I’m on. DEAN JOHNSTON An Attempt to Buy the Legislature