Page 8


‘Any Luck?’ r \(I V.C. 1111AVIZIN come PstDispatas St. Louis Post-Dispatch A System Indicted Foreign Policy Groups Needed in Texas AUSTIN The liberal movement in Texas is, admit, provincial. Why, a liberal Democrat was in the office yesterday afternoon explaining that he went along with Lyndon Johnson because that was the best way to keep control of the Travis County party committee. The committee was stolen from the loyalists then anyway, which, one surmises, was the cause of his need to explain ; but here he was, and here were half the liberals in Austin, worrying about county and state politics when urgently called upon to take part in this nation’s domestic of fairs and the American influence, on the history of the world. As guilty as any Texans in this provincialism,. the Observer may be guiltier than most. Believing in the intensive study of a province where you can do something about things, rather than extensive comment about the world at large, we have attended more to the legislature than to the Congress, more to the governors than to the heads of nations. BUT NOW we all can see this has been, if necessary in Texas since 1955, insufficient in the long run. Unknown to us, our government has been flying spy planes over Russia. Caught, we lied. Then admitting it, the President seemed to say he would go on doing it. Faced with a raging dictator whose position in his own country was severely shaken, Ike said, too late, we would stop. The summit conference collapsed. Mr. Nixon and Mr. Johnson called for national unity behind the President ; Adlai Stevenson and John Kennedy and Chester Bowles talked sense about these incredible mistakes. But we who have been silent too long on foreign policy are just as responsible for this botch-up as the vocal right-wingers in Houston who call for the abolition of the United Nations and cutting off all foreign aid. In May, the United States started sending $1.276 billion worth of grain to India, about half of it as a grant. Did you know that? Most Texans do not, and most, we fear, would disapprove. They have not heard . Stevenson’s arguments about the world’s greatest problem, poverty in most nations contrasted with wealth in a few ; they have . not read Kennedy’s speech about “the economic gap . . . between the developed and the undeveloped worlds.” . Texans in Congress voted. 12 to 6, against the entire foreign aid program two weeks ago ! Senator Yarborough, an enlightened and progressive man on domestic and Texas affairs, is properly concerned to cut waste out of foreign aid, but in effectuating that concern casts votes which seem to add tip to hostility to the program ; nor is his stature enhanced by his advocacy of the Connally Reservation to the World Court. Consider the impotence of “Texas public opinion” during the recent national debates on the question, Should the United States assist other nations with birth control programs when asked to do so? Without birth control ; Indians, for instance, are doomed to protracted cycles of misery. As M. C. Chagla, India’s ambassador, exclaimed .in Dallas the other day : “I must frankly confess that I am very impatient of the arguments which are advanced against birth control and family planning on the grounds of morality . . . What is the morality which condemns millions of children to poverty and destitution ?” The population explosion, he said, f not controlled, may destroy the whole of our civilization and reduce such human beings as might be left to the worst horrors of a dark age . . What we really need in India today is a cheap oral contraceptive . . . so cheap that it would be possible to sell these pills as widely as quinine or aspirin is sold in India today.” How much do we know about Nas ser, Aramco, Tito, Trujillo? How much are we to blame for American policy never convincing Castro we could have a friendly connection with him ? How far, under Republicans and a heedless citizenry, has our foreign policy drifted toward the mere protection of U. S. capital abroad? Why do our flags usually get crushed in the ruins of collapsing dictatorships? I submit now that in the main cities of the state and in central towns in the rural areas, foreign policy discussion associations should be formed. Good idea, you say ; um-hum. On that reaction, some Fort Worth conservatives may have. the last word here. “Let George do it” would be all right, they said ; the trouble is, “he’s had it.” Plenty of literature is available. For instance, SANE, the committee for a sane nuclear policy ; the United Nations ; the State Department ; and Eleanor Roosevelt can pi-CI-vide materials. We have some good foreign policy experts in Texas universities who would speak to local groups, i f they could recover from their surprise that anybody in Texas is interested. Speakers on tour could be attracted by the existence of such groups who do not now come, or stop only in Dallas and Houston. WHAT would be the point ? We would affirm as citizens that we do ; indeed, have a personal responsibility for whether the world is blown up, and ourselves with it, and whether our national abundance is hoarded or wisely used for the world’s impoverished and the advent of liberty among the nations. In groups by resolution and as individuals with better understanding, we could begin having a better informed influence on our own congressmen and senators. The citizens at large would be exposed, at least indirectly through visiting speakers or publicity about the opinions of their fellow townsmen, to the facts of life on the earth now, which are much more .shocking than the traditional facts of life even when learned by the most sheltered adolescents. Or, if we do not hurry, the point may be, when we are all blown to hell, we will, in the moments or months before the end, know why. R.D. Exhibits AUSTIN Apropos the Texas precinCt conven tion system, we offer several exhibits. A letter from a lady in North Texas : “I was to be nominated for secretary of our precinct,. but this seems to be somewhat of a conservative group. We were never even recognized. What an experience !” Petition from precinct 225, Travis County, signed by many who attended : “Having won one decisive roll call, 26 to 16, we were tdenied insistent and parliamentarily proper motions for a recount of a tie vote tabulated by the chairman and one teller on his side . . . To the amazement and disillusion of many of us who had not before become accustomed to such procedures in precincts, the chairman not only refused to grant the motions for a recount, he hastily adjourned the convention without calling for the nays on adjournment.” Petition from Tarrant County, signed by 20 county convention delegates : “Davey O’Brien, the Democratic county chairman . . . in .a conference held on the stage a few minutes before the hour set for calling the county convention to order, announced that he .. . intended to recognize no one for a motion proposing an order of business and rules of procedure at any time . . .” In El Paso County, the presiding officer ruled in his favor on points of contest involving his own election as convention chairman. AUSTIN I have been attending political conventions in Texas for better than 20 years. I suppose that I’m incurably naive, because to this day I’ve never seen the justification for substituting dishonesty and power for plain old democracy. I am appalled with the general acceptance of dishonesty. The tactics used to control these conventions should be so beneath the dignity and moral conscience of the persons participating that open revulsion should be expressed. High class citizens go in droves and lend themselves year after year to the manipulators who enact their mockery of decency. Disappointment is expressed by the vanquished and tempers rage, but no one speaks out against the system. The issues demanding attention must be considered more important. All energies must be directed to them. Could we be misplacing our energies and losing sight of the values that really need fighting for ?. On May 14 I attended another typical Texas convention, the Travis County Democratic convention, dedicated again to fratricide. The lust became so overwhelming that any impulse to fairness, or an honorable solution of their problems, must have been suppressed before they proceeded with their first order of business. The decisions which were made as to which delegations could or could not participate were not handled by these gentlemen in the honorable manner in which they conduct their personal affairs. Surely as mature Americans today we realize that we’re all responsible to represent our form of government to the world in the best possible light. We are as obvious in our public affairs as fish in an aquarium. We are being viewed clearly from all angles. If we have so little faith in the rule About the Author Guest columnist this week is Mrs. Fagan Dickson, wife of last week’s guest columnist. Fagan Dickson, by the way, is not now, but was through 1958, state Democratic executive committeeman from Travis County ; before he had been an assistant attorney general when Price Daniel was Attorney General. of the majority that we must contrive by every means to stifle it, how can we sell our product to the world? The issues among ourselves as Democrats could not warrant sacrificing our integrity. Surely we are paying too dearly,’ to “control a convention.” The disheartening fact is that our leaders :participate, counsel, and I fear condone the practices. I have questioned the wisdom of our foisting our Texas system, or a product of it, on the nation. I believe that national leadership today had better come from a different school. In the beginning of these conventions every rule of any kind of order is conscientiously ignored. The chairman hears “ayes” that are not there, and generally doesn’t even call for the \(\(noes.” Microphones are denied all but the teammates, and if the request for a roll call is miraculously made audible, it is rejected. In 1952 I personally presented a simple resolution for majority rule at` my own precinct convention. It was voted down overwhelmingly. I have accepted my banishmentbut I have spent hours wondering at the leadership that influenced these good citizens to vote, in the United States, against the majority rule. The chairmen of whom these particular talents are required do show thei strain. At the convention on May 14th when things got a bit out of hand and an “undesirable” amendment was about to have to be coped with, the logical move seemed adjournment. We were adjourned. It didn’t seem to matter that the appointed committees had not reported. In one of the contested precincts, the politically unseasoned chairman, seeing things going “badly,” adjourned his convention prematurely. The delegates to the ‘county convention had not even been chosen. They sent delegates, and they were seated, Evidently it wasn’t important when or how they were chosen. There is some humor. It comes late, however. A high point is when the victorious floor leader stands decorously before the convention and asks the convention to invoke Roberts’ Rules of Order. By then, there is absolutely no oppositionleft. MRS. FAGAN DICKSON