OPEN QUESTIONS TO A GOVERNOR AUSTIN The first time I saw Price Daniel was at his official campaign opening in Wooldridge Park two years ago. He took occasion to say then, “Our Texas principles of government are constantly under attack . . In our land there is the tyranny of overcentralization which threatens freedom and liberty through destruction of our constitutional system of statefederal relations and . local self-government.” He was roundly applauded. I have never met Daniel, but I have heard good things about him as a man. I have heard people who disagree considerably with his politics say he is honest, conscientious, and sincere, and, withal, a Christian human being. I shall address this column to Gov. Daniel, because I suspect that for these reasons his affirmation of states’ rights is something deeply personal with him, something he believes in, because he feels it is a fertile and useful doctrine. This would separate him, and people like him, from the aggrieved mass of professional exhorters and their small-time camp followers who mainly espouse it, in the fashion of the time-honored shibboleth, because they know it keeps things pretty much as they are, and for a long time. WE ARE HEARING more and more these days, Gov. Daniel, about the slow death of Texas “individualism,” about the gradual demise of Texas honor and pride and freedom. They are being stifled and betrayed, as you suggested at Wooldridge Park, by that ubiquitous archdemon in bureaucratic -grey, the federal government. However, many of us view such prophecies with some misgivings, not merely because the feds now have the H-Bomb and Echo I, but for ,other more terrestrial reasons as well. States’ rights is a mighty attractive doctrine if by it we mean that the pressing problems of a society undergoing sweeping and fundamental changes will be met, and met without hesitation, by a state legislature, a state administration, a state governor, and his people. But if perchance these social problems are not met, but are left to remain like festering sores in the fond hope some quick-remedy apothecary whose prices are cheap will suddenly arrive with a cure, what are we to say about the dignity and grace of states’ rights? It becomes, in an instant, a righteous lassitude writ large, a sham ; in short, a phony. There comes now a study of old people in Texas, given us by several dozens of the most solid and respectable people in the state. This study discloses a social failure so outrageous, so sad, that we should all bury our heads in our unleased permeable sands from the shame of it. What it reveals is a significant portion of our own people deprived of the blessings of dignity, pride, and individualism. . Thoughts on Labor .. . dividualists and the labor movement. It is, nevertheless, good also to remember that union workers are also people: A man with the garment workers who averts his eyes and grasps for words in a silence and greatly admires Muary Maverick Jr. A dedicated, cynical-of-business organizer in San Antonio who quit a higher job to go back to fighting he could feel. An idealistic Dallas lawyer who lies ill after a life of work for liberalism through the labor movement. Many a worker not sure of himself but sure of his work and his friends. Labor is human, deer, and therefore venal and various ; and there are many who, as Fred Schmidt said and embodies, have dedicated their lives to a movement which served people. R.D. WHAT ARE WE to say about states’ rights, Governor, when our own Texas investigators tell us at least 30 percent, and in some instances as many as 70 percent, of retired old couples in half our counties don’t have the basic minimum income “to maintain a decent standard of living”? What are we to say when they tell us that in most counties of this state any kind of financial emergency, and often even the “smallest unforeseen expense” works “great hardship on them”? What are we to say when they tell us Texas is one of four states in the nation which has not adopted a moderate “vendor medical plan” to assist the neediest old people unable to afford doctors’ bills? What are we to say, Governor, when they tell us the legislature of this state appropriates just . enough money to the health agency charged with inspecting 600 nursing homes in Texas to permit it to hire the following staff : one director, two field inspectors, and a typist or two !the agency responsible for seeing that old people in Texas, many of whom give their entire meager $40 or $50 monthly pittance to living out their days in From Our Mississippi Correspondent JACKSON, MISS. Mississippi’s tall and gaunt segregationist governor, Ross Barnett who is puthing an unpledged electoral slate bolt from the Democrats this seasonsat down to a quiet family dinner celebrating his 32nd wedding anniversary one evening this week. Neon lights on Capitol Street outside the ancient white mansion were popping on. Somebody remarked it was the first time Barnett had been prompt for dinner since his January inauguration. One block away in a bank building’s plush law office suite, a statement was being issued to the press that Barnett’s arch foe, ex-Gov. J. P. Coleman, will support the Kennedy-Johnson ticket. Coleman’s announcement surprised few. The 45-year-old loyalist was one of two leaders who kept Southern states from walking out of the 1956 Democrat convention. He delivered the state to Adlai Stevenson, and an unpledged slate boosted by bolting Congressman John Bell Williams took a menial third, behind even the Republicans. Besides, Coleman regards vicepresidential nominee Johnson as a personal friend. The Texan reportedly made a financial contribution to Coleman’s 1955 gubernatoral campaign. And Coleman has for months privately admitted his admiration for presidential nominee Kennedy. He conferred with Kennedy on several trips to Washington. There are unconfirmed rumors that Coleman is in line for a position with a Democratic administration. If Coleman’s announcement did not surprise Barnett, it meant at least another Mississippi Democrat kingpin had lined up against him. Last week, Sen. James 0. Eastlandwhose pronunciamentos on race are still gospel in most Mississippi circlesand aloofbut-influential Sen. John C. Stennis said they would support the party ticket. At this sensational blow to his hopes of teasing segregationist con substandard dwellings, get the “basic minimum standards” in sanitation, in safety, in food. What do we say about states’ rights when they tell us large numbers of our old people end up in unlicensed flophouses on skidrow?the flophouses described by a veteran nursing home official as “the worst places I’ve ever seen human beings in, and I’ve gone into many of them and taken out old men who were ‘sick, filthy, and nearly starved. The living conditions of our indigent old people are worse in Texas than in any other state in the union.” What are we to say when they tell us that many counties in this state “are not fulfilling their legal and moral obligations to take care of their medically indigent”? What are we to say when the official in charge of licensing homes tells us, “Home after home is deplorable . . . But if you close the submarginal homes, many patients would be out digging garbage out of garbage cans. Until the great state of Texas does something about giving more money, I don’t know what can be done.” What are we to say about the federal government intruding in our racial problem? “The Negro is our problem. We understand him and treat cessions from either major party in a tight election through a Southern bloc of from 20 .to 52 withheld electoral votes, Barnett first snapped “no comment.” Then he eased up on “just six words, no more : I understand ington.” Other Barnett men, who controlled the reconvened state Democratic convention last week and voted to put both his unpledged slate and a loyalist slate on the November ballot, hinted at the same thing: that Eastland and Stennis were merely girdling their committee positions and would not campaign actively for the ticket in Mississippi. But the state’s other congressmen are expected at least to follow the loyalty lead, except John Bell Williams, who serves only on the District of Columbia and another committee. \(In urging the unpledged bolt, Williams recently declared, “Terms of political office are but temporary, Paul Pittman of the Young Democrats and even salty, Paul Butlerbadgering state Democratic chairman Bidwell Adam are backing the Kennedy-Johnson ticket. T HAT LEAVES Barnett with a handful of Mississippi party “names” like aging House Speaker Walter Sillers, 72, and National Committeeman Tom Brady, a moustachioed, Yale-educated judge who wrote a racial manifesto called “Black Monday” \(about the 1954 Supreme Court getting nominated as a favorite son in Los Angeles, against Eastland’s and Stennis’ judgment. However, Barnett had an overwhelming 1959 victory against the Coleman element. And his unbending segregationist drawing power may yet work its voodoo on Mississippi’s still predominantly rural folks. Ironically, the northeast, marginalfarm hills, ‘where Coleman and Stennis and the loyalists are traditionally strong, is also Mississippi’s “Bible Belt” of Protestantism. Kennedy’s Catholicism may run into trouble there, though no utterance against it has yet received any publicity in the state. The Gulf Coast, where Latin blood and Catholicism have a beachhead, and industrial south Mississippi are expected to go for Kennedy and Johnson. Mississippi Republicans, revitalized by state chairman Wirt Yerger Jr. and other vibrant young executives, clustered mostly in Jackson firms, him well.” And there are five Negro voluntary nursing and convalescent homes for the elderly with a total of 133 beds? What are we to say when they tell us countless old men and ‘women remain isolated in their loneliness because practically no one is making the effort in Texas’ communities to provide them with some form of recreation? Where ‘are the churches, the charities, the private agencies, the individuals, who we are told can handle our social problems? By and large, and with a few notable exceptions, they are missing. I N OUR TWO largest cities, we are going to have multi-million dollar baseball fields, with sliding domes to use when it rains. In Dallas this week, an atidierice at a forum “generally applauded” those speakers who described the social security act as a “black day” in American history. We are building more backyard swimming pools than ever in Texas this summer, it is said. Only you, Gov. Daniel, can provide out of this the leadership to help us retrieve our Texas dignity, pride, and honor. WILLIE MORRIS are sniffing vigorously after a November win. They hope to cash in on much of the revulsion against the Democrat civil rights plank. And they were exultant when they were seated for the first time in 1960 at a national GOP convention, instead of the state’s “Black and Tan” GOP faction, headed by retiring Negro lawyer Perry Howard of Washington. Then they beamed with pride on learning that nominee Richard Nixon, GOP Chairman Thurston Morton, and the Mississippi GOP’s conservative darling, Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, will campaign in the state. Yet the fledgling Republican group put up its first candidate in 1959 in a state senatorial race, and when the shaky incumbent called for and got Democrat big-wig artillery, the Republican was crushed. This November, those prominent state Democrat `names” will still be unavailable to the GOP. Even during the South’s 1952 enchantment with General Eisenhower, the best that Democrat “Citizens for ‘Eisenhower” could do was 39 percent of the Mississippi vote. T HIS NOVEMBER apparently will decide whether the loyalist Democrats or the bolting Democrats get at least a plurality of the popular vote, and with it, the state’s eight electoral votes. , It will also decide whether the bulk. of the state’s Democratic leaders can corral her inflammatory populace despite the presence of two combustiblesrace and religion. Never before have both irritants been present. Mississippi bolted Democrat ranks only once in this century. In 1948, the race issue was present, but religion was not, and the late Gov. Fielding Wright, Eastland, and other leaders led the state into the “Dixiecrat” orbit, along with deep-south Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina. In the year of the other classic Southern bolt, 1928, religion was present, but race was not. In fact, racist Gov. Theodore Bilbo, a Baptist, and Sen. Pat Harrison stumped Mississippi for Catholic Al Smith. Neither Mississippi nor other deep Southern states boltedonly the border states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and Tennessee. The question this year is whether the two combustibles will ignite decisive opposition to Mississippi’s brass, whom she usually follows without question. THE TEXAS OBSERVER Page 5 August 26, 1960 The Frustrations of _Bolting Maneuverings in Mississippi
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