5h e Sim p le ..actJ The U.S. Treasury Department has given Texas taxpayers some fascinating figures on the general sales tax. Nothwithstanding the arguments last year of those ubiquitous Citizens for a Sales Taxsuch simple citizens as Tom Sealy, Searcy Bracewell, and their oil, gas, and TMA men-in-theranksthat the levy was the most democratic tax ever devised, the Internal Revenue Service says otherwise. Studying the effects of general sales taxes for the last four months of 1961, Internal Revenue shows that the poor man pays about five times as much proportionately as the rich man. Read this table, bearing in mind that most poor folks use the “tax table” in the federal income tax forms with its flat ten percent deduction, while well-heeled folks benefit from about four exemptions and some fifteen percent in deductions: House Speaker James Turman is our candidate for lieutenant governor. A moderate with liberal leanings, he far outshines a field that includes three more or less typical Texas senatorsPreston Smith, Bob Baker, and Jarrard Secrestand a moderately conservative Senate veteran, Crawford Martin. We cannot forgive Turman for his last-minute support of the sales tax, which he had courageously blocked with a tie-breaking vote on the last night of the regular session. In those last hours of disorganization and defeatism, he went along with the prevailing mood only after Gov. Daniel decided that the game was up. Texas dailies are beginning to take notice of the textbook wars. This editorial is excerpted from The Corpus Christi Caller-Times: The Texas House special textbook investigating committee appears bent on being an election-year sounding board for far-right extremism, anticommunist hysteria, and various shades of fanaticism. Chairman W. T. Dungan of McKinney indicates the committee may take to the road with such public hearings on textbook selection as those held in Austin during the special session. The ‘testimony’ of critical witnesses in the Austin hearings should be profoundly shocking to thoughtful citizens sincerely concerned with academic freedom, truth in education, and democratic processes in public school administration. Its aggregate impression is a charge of pro-communist conspiracy, collusion or dupery permeating textbook authors and publishers, federal, state, and local educational officials, and even teachers and parents. The ‘evidence’ insinuates a nefarious, all-enveloping plot so subtly pursued that only selfannointed superpatriots can perceive its dim but menacing outlines. All this is too much for sensible people to swallow, but it is difficult to counter irrationality with reason. They not only lift excerpts out of the context of the whole textbook, they also lift a textbook out of the context of the whole curriculum. A 10th grade history text may skimp on eulogies of Patrick Henry, for example, but does that indicate lack of patriotism or merely that the omitted material has been covered adequately in previous grades? THESE CRITICS appear prepared to challenge the ‘objectivity’ of any text that does not conform to their own bias on the material covered, notably in references to the United Nations. Are partisans reliable judges of objectivity? They do not Income S-Tax S-Tax Ded. Pymt. Rate Pet. 1.60% 0.88% 0.44% 0.30% We also note that when a thrifty mother tries to stretch an income by making clothes for the family, she finds that she has to pay the sales tax on the cloth she buys ; no exemption for her unless the clothes are ready-made. We have here, in statewide campaigns for governor and the legislature, one of the most combustible issues in decades. Candidates committed to the proposition of cleansing state government of the domination of the lobby should constantly remind the voters that, with only a few exceptions, those representatives who voted for the sales tax also voted against natural gas pipeline taxes, corporate income taxes, revision of the present franchise tax, and even escheat laws. Turman is loyal to his friends, and this is his outstanding political attribute. His appointments to key House committees of ranking liberals and moderates was a turning-point in Texas politics. He is a reasonable man, willing to seek help and advice from political intimates who have helped see him into office. With the full support of those Texans who have despaired for years of an undemocratic and backwardlooking Senate, Jim Turman could well be the man to spearhead the move toward a decent and progressive atmosphere in an institution dominated for a decade by Ben Ramsey. hesitate to question the loyalty of textbook authors on evidence that no American court would consider admissible. Few reasonable men would deny that public school textbooks generally need continuous improvement. But this bogeyman approach to a highly technical and intellectual problem is hardly calculated to achieve such improvement. To confirm this one need only imagine, shudderingly, a textbook produced by collaboration of the critics that appeared at the Austin hearing. What a dogmatic document for indoctrination in anti-democratic myth that would be ! Catching On You think the Texas Republicans aren’t catching on at the forks of the creeks? We reproduce this picture, with caption, from the Kountze News: Joe Kelley, above, son-in-law of C. A. Kimball, formerly lived in Kountze. He is a candidate on the Republican ticket for the legislature from the Woodville district. TUTUTEPEC Shut off, as I am, in the fastnesses of Mexico, deprived of that spiritual guide and intellectual companion which for years kept me tuned to the vibrant heartbeat of Texas, the Austin American, I sometimes turn to reverie and conjure up, in imagination, the changesall for the better, of course that surely must have taken place in my native state since I saw it last. I see, as on TV, a clean, cheerful, competently staffed home for the unfortunate, one of dozens of new homes and penal institutions which have become a source of pride to all Texans. I see our natural beauty once fast diminishing, conserved in a system of well-financed state parks. I see a grateful public enjoying the great new national park on Padre Island, romping and splashing and blessing the name of Ralph Yarborough. Best of all, I see an adequate number of intelligent and humane men and women dedicating themselves, with an adequate allowance of state funds, to the problems of two huge and increasingly important segments of our population : the young people and the Latins. TO THOSE, social-workers or not, who are intelligent enough to be interested in the problems of our Latins, I heartily recommend a reading of The Virgin’s Children, by William Madsen, a book published by the University of Texas Press in 1960. Not that the book contains so much as an allusion to the Latins of Texas. It is a sober, scholarly study of a village very close to Mexico City, near the town of Milpa Alta. It is not an Indian village to the extent that its people speak an indigenous tongue or wear distinctive dress. But its customs and beliefs are predominantly Aztec, with some trimmings from Spain, and on top of that a few, very few, modern furbelows. What is significant about this study, from our point of view, is that a great many of the fathers and grandfathers of our Texas Latins came from villages more or less like this, and held the same sort of beliefs. As for religious beliefs, the God of this village is a cruel Aztec god, who must be propitiated. But the Virgin Marynearly always identified with the Virgin of Guadalupeis the incarnation of Christian love and charity, the mediatrix between man and God. Besides this deification of loving kindness in the Virgin, there is a manifestation of tenderness in the Spanish custom of the compadrazgo, which is carried to almost ludicrous extremes : even a new bridge has a godfather, and of course many animals do. There is a godfather for every occasion in life, beginning, of course, with the christening. Most of the beliefs are Aztec, however, and will strike Americans as unlovely. There is the belief that, to ensure the good fortune of the dwellers in a new house, a live puppy must be buried beneath the foundations. Rain is manufactured by dwarfs, who live in caves in the mountains. Witches are commonplace. They fly through the night to suck the blood of their sleeping victims ; before each flight they remove their legs. This last be 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. FEBRUARY 9, 1962 Willie Morris Editor and General Manager Bob Sherrill, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager Ronnie Dugger, Contributing Editor lief is, apparently, almost universal among the illiterate in Mexico ; I have found it in widely separate spots. Another belief that is almost universaland I have found it in a group of teachersis that foods can be classified as either hot or cold; a whole system of medicine has been built up on the use of one class to counteract its opposite. None of these beliefs, you may notice, has much to do with conduct. Deeply ingrained attitudes which do of the male, especially as head of the of physical courage, as the supreme the members of the group should remain within its compass, and a consequent antagonism for any member who tries to rise above it, in material possessions or any other way. THESE ATTITUDES are, naturally, incompatible with the attitudes of Anglo-Saxon America. And yet, they are common to all Indian cultures and stick with the Mexican immigrant from the little half-Indian towns long after the superstitions about witches and the like are discarded. Is it any wonder that our Latin boys, with their inherited emphasis on courage, make superb soldiers and magnificent athletes, or that they so often get into trouble, especially for fights among themselves? Of course, not half the Latins in Texas have, even remotely, a background similar to that described in Dr. Madsen’s book. But many who entered as laborers in the great waves of the ‘forties and ‘fifties did come from similar villages. The plight of these recent arrivals is that they must reject their ancestral culture in order to survive. And they are not given anything to take its place. There is nothing for them to do but become Americans. Nobody gives them much help. And yet, their problem is our problem. Latins make up one-fifth of the state’s population, or soon will ; they increase so fast. Can we afford to neglect them ? Less than one percent of them ever reach college. What kind of education does the vast majority get? SURELY, with some organized effort, they can be made into good, orthodox Americans, although it may not be easy to replace a simple belief in witchcraft and dwarfs with some of our own, rather sophisticated beliefs. Like these. for instance: That the pursuit of pleasure is reprehensible in youth, and should be reserved for old age, when it is impossible; That the moral worth of a man may be judged by the cost of his car; That anyone who sings in the street is drunk or crazy and should be put away ; that anyone who walks in the street after night is a peeping-tom or a thief and should be put away ; That legislation will eventually cure our ills, but that politicians are little better than crooks; That schoolteachers are mainly screwballs and freaks, but that prolonged exposure to them is vastly beneficial to the young. And etc. CHARLES RAMSDELL Published once a week from Austin, Texas. Delivered postage prepaid $5.10 per annum. Advertising rates available on request. Extra copies 15c each. Quantity prices available on order. EDITORIAL and BUSINESS OFFICE: 504 West 24th St., Austin, Texas. Phone GReenwood 7-0746. HOUSTON OFFICE: Mrs. R. D. Randolph, 2131 Welch, Houston 19, Texas. A TEXAS FAILURE The Virgin’s Children Omni 4 mo. 1 yr. If any net $ 1,000 $ 4 $12 Nil $12 $ 5,000 $11 $33 Nil $33 $10,000 $19 $57 $13 $44 $20,000 $28 $84 $25 $59 .4 Vote for 5urnian Rattle 0/ the RooL THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7FPU*; s U
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