Tower vs. Goldwater Observer Notebook Liberal Coalition and the Future Crucial QueotionJ THE RESULTS of the informal liberal forum which has twice brought together in Austin leaders of the various factors in the liberal coalition will be measured during the next several weeks. As a kind of interim focus for the Texas liberal community following the destruction of the DOT and the disastrous \(though, fortunately, temof last spring, the project has largely been the work of the AFL-CIO’s able president, Hank Brown, and some of his close associates. Within the limits the forum has set for itselfand it was established, quite frankly, for the principal purpose of avoiding in advance any disagreement on candidacies and political planning which might otherwise sap the coalition’s electoral strength in the near future Brown has done a fine job and performed a necessary service. Whether the organization, if it can be called that, can continue to function during the hottest election campaign in years without even minimal rules and regulations is a consideration that must be worked out gradually and With some caution. A number of liberal leaders are beginning to feel, however, that some modus vivendi can be accomplished between a tightly organized DOT-type organization and complete, though cordial, anarchy. The major decision made at the meeting earlier this month, and it is already beginning to bear fruit, was to go full-scale, as never before, on poll taxes. The steady drift toward a meaningful two-party system in _.Texas may be well and good in longrange terms, but only the Goldwater Republicans who dominate the state GOP will reap the immediate benefits of the wholesale defections now taking place among conservative Democrats unless solid Democrats are recruited in unprecedented numbers. Thornton Hardie, Wales Madden, and other members of the board of regents at the University of Texas, a large state university located in Austin, will no doubt be pleased to trace the ramifications of the policy they set last summer to continue to keep Negro students in their place because of East Texas. The Daily Texan reported under a front-page banner this week that student advisors in one women’s dorm called all their charges together and advised them not to invite Negro girls to visit in their dorm rooms. If a Negro girl is invited, however, she must go directly to the room and the door should be shut. When the Negro girl leaves, she should go directly out of the dormitory, pronto. Another advisor, remembering that a majority of Texans have gone just about as far as they can go, said the Negro girls can go to the rooms but can’t use dorm facilitiesrest rooms, drinking fountains, telephones, and The Houston Post, one of the state’s most outspoken advocates for a better-financed parks system, has illustrated the embarrassing contrast between Texas and Oklahoma. Texas got the 1961 National Conference on State Parks, which is roughly as appropriate as the Shamrock-Hilton getting the 1961 Convention of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Lone Star State lacked the housing and boarding facilities to accommodate all the officials, so Oklahoma came in as co-host and entertained the out-of-state visitors at its lodge on Lake Texoma. A committee on political candidates, chaired by Chris Dixie of Houston, will meet in Austin October 7 to make a review of prospects. The panel actually represents a rough cross-section of the coalition ; it includes Albert Pena, Moses Leroy, Houston Thompson, Doug Crouch, Oscar Mauzy, Lillian Collier, Andy Shuval, and Brown. A report will be made to another full meeting of the forum in Austin later in the month, perhaps the following weekend. Crucial decisions must be made, and they must be made soon. How can the sales tax best be mobilized as a viable campaign issue? What about. Jim Wright’s candidacy for governor? Can the liberal community secure enough commitments from Congressman Wright, within political reason, to stir up enthusiasm over his prospects? With lieutenant governor an open race for the first time since the Ramsey era began, which of several interested aspirants deserves an endorsement? Should an informal “reform slate” for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general be encouraged? If sound strategy and hard-headed sense are drawn upon in answeringsuch central questions, Texas liberalism stands a superb chance of coming into its own statewide in ’62. One thing, however, must be kept in mind from the start, and that is the absolute necessity for an appreciation of the coalition itselfa complex of groupings that includes the Latins and labor, the Negroes and the independent liberals, and the Democrat brasscollars at the forks and beside the creeks. Only through a mutual respect and an understanding of one another’s occasionally differing ambitions and hopes can Texas liberalism, just as liberal movements in other states, bring squarely into the active political arena those values we hold in common. sensitive conveniences of that order. Negro boys, of course, will not be allowed in the lobby. Menial servants messengers, grocery boyswill be allowed in the lobby for a few seconds, but the line will be drawn at college students. It seems that the trouble started when a Negro boy was found waiting in the dorm lobby to return some study notes to a Caucasian girl. He was quickly herded out of the building by officials, the Texan reported. But by then the damage was done. The Texan editori t alized that this sort of thing was a “step backward” and was encouraged by the board of regents. “It should not be tolerated,” the paper said. It is rumored that the regents will conduct a straw referendum on the matter in Buffalo, Hearne, Mesquite, Round Rock, Groesbeck, and Liberty Bayou after morning church next Sunday. Rio Hondo just voted against the use of telephones, 16-12, and Kountze went against water fountains, 7-6. The Texas population is four times larger than Oklahoma’s. Texas has 58 state parks covering 61,823 acres ; Oklahoma has 36 parks and 56,982 acres. The Post cites the following figures: Expenditures for operation and maintenance, lands and improvements Oklahoma parks, $1,966,139; Texas parks, $472,998. Revenues from park facilities and concessions Oklahoma, $1,351,505 ; Texas, $171,643. Visitors to Oklahoma parks, 8,645,308; visitors to Texas parks, 6,558,518. AUSTIN WE ARE PLEASED to publish elsewhere in this issue a thoughtful examination of the Birch Society, which is undoubtedly stronger and more vocal in these parts than anywhere in the United States, by Dr. John Bagalay. If you have ever shared a Scholz pitcher with Bagalay, as the editor has on occasion, then you have perceived that he is an unabashed and unrepentant conservative. In a province where a quiet and reasonable exchange on political and social issueswhere Bagalay’s “rational and critical discourse”becomes increasingly rare as the radical and ‘jittery mystics and philistines of the far right are more and more pre-empting the conservative position, it is good to reaffirm in times of world stress those values all conservatives and liberals in the American tradition must mutually cherish. We speak of those values which lie at the very base of Western democracy as we know it : of open communication, of free intelligence, of at least sufficient tolerance and good will in the institutional sense to check the intolerance and ill will that make politics in a free society such a tough and trying occupation. The one belief that has never been absent from liberal thought since Aristotle, George Sabine wrote in his concluding chapter on democracy, communism, and fascism, “is that on the political level human beings have to meet as free men and equals.” There is also a fleeting and intangible sense of decency, an elemental decency that a Barry Goldwater, a Hubert Humphrey, a Bob Eckhardt, a Wade Spilman, each know and silently understand, but would never quite put into words. That, too, is part of the tradition. There is nothing decent about the John Birch Society. Much of what was said at the San Antonio “Americanism” seminar was not decent. IN RECENT MONTHS, we have witnessed a steady deterioration in the lines of communication between Texas liberals and conservatives, a deterioration more basic than the fruits of mere political animosity. We lay the blame four-square on the workings of the radical right in the state. For reasons best known to those, for instance, who would bring W. Cleon Skousen and his ilk to address the main banquet of a convention of Texas school board members, \(as they did this and directed campaign to stretch the extremes, to sow distrust and bitteroess between those who would call themselves liberals and those who would call themselves conservatives. It is not the most comfortable experience to match wits against people who chalk up to communist dupery. or outright subversion one’s belief that racism is the greatest blot on the land, or that the right-to-work laws should be abolished, or, if you are a preacher, Published by Texas Observer Co., Ltd. Entered as second-class matter, April 26, 1937, at the Post Office at Austin, Texas, under the Act of March 3, 1879. SEPTEMBER 29, 1961 Willie Morris Editor and General Manager Bob Sherrill, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager that the social gospel is sound Christianity. The demise of the Birchers, the Christian Anti-Communism Crusaders, and their allied legions in the marketplace of free ideas will begin in Texas at the moment when active conservative spokesmen finally acknowledge the grave threat these ominous movements bring to the very substance of political discourse in a politically immature state. The Texas Observer can bellow til doomsday, but it will be the conservatives themselvesthe Blantons and Seeligsons and Cattos, the Towers and Quilliams and Murrayswho must face, as ranking conservatives on the national level have long since faced, the unadorned truth that their own conservative cause in the long rurvis severely endangered by radical movements of the right. When no less a,conservative practitioner than the governor of the state of Texas refuses publicly, when queried, to tell the people his views on the John Birch Society, one can only conclude he is sufficiently unlettered in ti4 recent history of the race not to understand that the rightist radicals have offered as great an affront to free institutions and public integrity as the totalitarians of the left. Given the condition of the Texas mentality these days, it would be good to open the columns of the Observer on occasion to Texas conservatives of Bagalay’s caliber. Freedom is the spirit, Learned Hand once wrote, that is not quite sure of itself. Something like that might be a good test of a liberal journal. CAROL FOLEY of the Houston Chronicle looked around town and found 15 honor graduates of 1961 from high schools in the Houston area who aren’t in college because they can’t afford it. Of the 15, one was a valedictorian and five had B-plus averages. The others had these class rankings : fifth in a class of 750, seventh out of 300, third out of 307, thirteenth out of 307, fifth out of 460, sixteenth out of 325, fifteenth out of 296, eighth out of 606, and sixth out of 161. Since there must be dozens of similar cases in the Houston area alone, one can only wonder to what extent we are abusing our brainpower nationally. Many of our good Texas states righters, need anyone be reminded, base their arguments against federal “interference” in education on that tested old proposition that the states can carry out their own responsibilities. Steering their bristling logic to its final conclusion, a very sizeable percentage of the conservatives in the Texas legislature who voted against pipeline taxes, corporate income taxes, and escheat bills, \(while voting for all varieties of when the time came to support a doubling of the college tuition rate in state schools. 4:SEN. JOHN TOWER, meanwhile, was addressing a segment of . the American college community which has seldom had its troubles with tuition fees, though being somewhat notorious for its troubles on tuition per se. In a talk this week to the Interfraternity Council and the Alumni Interfraternity Council at the University of Texas, Tower took issue with Sen. Goldwater’s thesis that the Greek system is American education’s greatest bulwark against collec Ronnie Dugger, Contributing Editor EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 15c each. Quantity prices available on order. Straw Po ff Contra3tin9 ParL THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7, -.FUTURA PRESS.
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.