Holmes Alexander, a sort of fifthrate Fulton Lewis Jr. who has always managed to attach himself, soporifically but ever loyally, to the prevailing powers in Texas, wrote in the 1958 Blakley-Ralph Yarborough campaign that Yarborough was deriving most of his support from the “lunatic leftists of the country-club set.” That particular treatise was front-paged by the Austin American, you may remember, just as a more recent dissertation setting forth the bristling proposition that Texas liberals were brethren and lineal heirs to Billie Sol Estes and BenJack Cage. This week Holmes Alexander was at it again. If one can persuade himself to suffer through some of the driest syntax known to man he will find, Alexander praising Jack Cox, the Republicans, and “other Texans” for their sincere and honest hopes for a two-party system. But as for the two-party hopes among the p rogreJJ, Eric Severeid, the commentator and writer, who appears in a mere two Texas dailies, is in our opinion one of the most deeply perceptive minds in American journalism today on the important social issues. This week, addressing himself to an issue raised in a recent Observer, he described what even now exists in Houston and Dallas and Fort Worth: “One way to go quietly insane is to think hard about the concept of eternity. Another way, for anyone living in a megalopolis like New York, is to think hard about “progress.” “The eerie sensation comes over one that true progress reached the end of its cable some years ago and is now recoiling upon us, an unstoppable juggernaut smashing masses of human beings back toward medieval conditions of life. “The streets are littered with cigarette and cigar butts, paper wrappings, particles of food and dog droppings. How long before they become indistinguishable from the gutters of medieval towns when slop pails were emptied from second story windows? . . . “A thousand years ago in Europe acres of houses and shops were demolished and their inhabitants forced elsewhere so that great cathedrals could be built. For decades the building process soaked up all available skilled labor ; for decades the townspeople stepped around pits in the streets, clambered over ropes and piles of timber, breathed mortor dust and slept and woke to the crashing noise of construction. The cathedrals, when finished, stood half-empty six days a week, but most of them at least had beauty. Today, the ugly office skyscrapers go up, shops and graceful homes are obliterated, their inhabitants forced away, and year after year New Yorkers step around the pits, stumble through the wooden catwalks, breathe the fine mist of dust, absorb the hammering noise night and day, and telephone in vain 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. JULY 13, 1962 Willie Morris Editor and General Manager Jay Milner, Associate Editor Sarah Payne, Office Manager . Editor “Laborite-Liberal wing, there is nothing but “vengeful determination.” These minority factionalists, indeed, are involved in a “Liberal vendetta.” The Texas Observer, that notorious “house-organ,” has in fact already endorsed Cox over John Connally, a fact which is such news to our ears we are tempted to bring Alexander down to Scholz’ to read our palms, probe the eerie corners of our tortured souls, and tell us how we did something even when we didn’t do it. We would frankly advise Mr. Connally, and Mr. Johnson if he is listening, to call of the beagles. There are, need we remind them, a few hundred thousand votes out there \(the figure was 48.8 percent in the second priing the developments in this particular campaign and making their decisions. The beagles have been vociferating a bit too shrilly of late. for carpenter or. plumber. And the skyscrapers stand empty two days and seven night a week. This is progress. “At the rush hour, men outrun old women for the available cab ; the strong bodily crush back the weak for a place to stand in suffocating bus or subway car, no less destructive of human dignity than a cattle wagon in the time of Peter the Great. When the buses and subway cars began, they represented progress. “Great parking garages are built, immediately filled with cars ; the traffic remains as before, and that is progress. The renowned New York constructionist, Robert Moses, builds 2111t hundreds of miles of access highways, and they are at once crammed bumper to bumper with automobiles as long as locomotives carrying an average of about two human beings apiece. Parkinson’s general law applies here too, for vehicles always will increase in direct proportion to the increase in spaces to hold them. So skyscrapers and boxlike apartment houses will increase as the money to build them increases. So footpads will increase as the number of possible victims increases. But it’s progress. “I am not surprised that the English writer, Mervyn Jones, concludes after traveling throughout Russia and the United States that ordinary Americans and ordinary Russians are remarkably alike in at least two respectsin the sheer physical misery they are forced to endure in their cities and in the sheer ugliness of jumbled signs and billboards being spread across their once fair countryside . . . “The secret, terrible fact is that progtess, in a measurable terms of human effort, grace, and self respect ended some years ago in the great ant-hill cities. The juggernaut of time and effort has turned it around and is new destroying the recent progress of the past.” 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. SHIRO The Mexican girl in the kitchen of the cafe in this town says the name Shiro is an Indian name. The astringent Anglo ma’am who runs the place .did not know why Roan’s Prairie, back the road a piece toward College Station, is called Roan’s Prairie, who Roan was, or whether it was named for a horse. Her cafe is a Christian cafe. It is obvious from the placards on the walls. They say the Lord is King in this house, prayer changes things, and “Let us live together and love one another.” It is a sweet Texas summer morning, cool, thin sunny blue in the sky, the crickets sawing in symphony in this forested meadow outside the town. THERE WAS an old, old man in the cafe, who spoke of his fields getting dry, of how Ty Cobb would laugh out loud at the louts playing big league baseball now, the louts who don’t think nothing about good hitting, or sliding, and can’t think of nothing but home runs; who said how he’s noticed, women drivers are the carefulest ones, they’ll hold back and wait ’til it’s safe to go around. He is the sort of old man Texas politiciansthe old-style Democrats like Ralph Yaroroughthink about when they make their speeches. He cannot live much longer. As he eases himself into the grass by the abandoned railroad shed to soak in the morning sun he seems ready enough for the young to run their own lives and this their venerable state in a world so quickly changing. It is they ,it is we, who are not willing, who are not ready, who do not have the style of courage Sam Houston had, for example, when, brooking the overwhelming tide of his fellow Texans’ passions, because he could see that he was right, he told the legislature on Jan. 21, 1861, in regard to secession : “Ere the work of centuries is undone and freedom, shorn of her victorious garments, is started out once again on her weary pilgrimage, hoping to find, after centuries have passed away, another dwelling place, it is not unmanly to pause and at least endeavor to avert the calamity.” HOUSTON WAS an East Texas Texan. When you drop down into Huntsville from this direction you feel at once, from the high pine forests and the thicket, that you are in Sam Houston’s country. He was bound to no province’s conventional notion of right or wrong ; he was a man who lived in a place and with his own sovereign man’s mind saw the right as it did clearly appear to him and again, again, again threw away honors that he might keep his honor. The state college at Huntsville is now an. unhappy place, because politicians on the board of regents for the teachers’ colleges of Texas, acting solely from political spite, crudely and callously fired a man who had given the best years of his life to the college and to Huntsville, Rupert Koeninger ; a man who had built the college’s department of sociology into the largest one in any Texas school, and who, when a student too poor to stay in school came past his concern, would let him have the apartment behind his house, free of rent. Behind his house he, his friends on the then struggling faculty, and one carpenter built ; behind his house where his wife and their four handsome children made their East Texas home. This is a story for careful telling, and it ramifies to the other teachers’ college campuses of the statewe will tell it in an issue or a few, from Huntsville, Commerce, Nacogdoches but I am this morning, in this oak grove, mostly deeply worried by something a man said in the Old Main Building on the Huntsville campus yesterday afternoon. Dr. William Painter, president of the college chapter of the American Association of University Professors, who has resigned in protest of Koeninger’s dismissal, said he has received an anonymous call, he guesses from the John Birch Society, saying he just thinks he’s getting off free by leaving: they’ll have an emissary waiting for him at his new college in South Dakota. We are snapping at each other like the inside parts of a psychotic personality, gorging, ravening on parts of itself, until the sick man’s eyes are bloodshot. What has happened to us? Why are we, the young in Texas, so insufficient. so insecure, so inadequate, compared to that fine old man, easing himself into the warmth of the morning sun in Shiro? BECAUSE, I think, we are not honest. We are afraid to see the truth because it has broken so many idols. We are all, here, loyal Democrats, or liberal Democrats, or conservative i”e~ 144111, AAA Democrats, or Republicans. We have our places in the established way of things. We do not leave them. We sit in our cluttered homey living rooms and think from our accustomed vantage points on the turmoils and woes of the sore beset world. We think they are distant, but they are near. In our hearts we know that the true economic issue of our times in the world is not capitalism versus communism : we know it is : what kind of socialism? Shall it be the brothy mix of small business and state socialism of the Swedish way? The democratic socialism of England? or, fatal alternatives!, the fascist socialism of Spain? The totalitarian social i-m of Russia and China? On Roan’s Prairie as well as in the cities we can read of the doctor’s immoral strike in Saskatchewan and know that this struggle is coming to America too; to Roan’s Prairie, too. When, then, a member of the Huntsville Americanism cell helps cause the firing of an esteemed and honored and politically moderate Texas professor whose only offense is saying what he believes outside the classroomthat people should pay their poll taxes, that this man would make a better district judge than that one, that school integration is called for and when an American is threatened with ruin, by Americans, for speaking forth with the courage of his convictions, we are pressed to inquire, why do our defenses seem so feeble? CAN IT BE because we have defaulted the field of thought, racked with unmanly tremors? Can it be that, afraid to be thought unTexan, as it were, perhaps, many who knew, a hundred and one years ago, Sam Houston was right, but left him lonely to die, we have ceased to be relevant, Texans, to the most urgent political cause of our timenot socialism! That is as passe as Texans who will not accept the real world but saving individualism in a socializing world. R.D. THE CENTRAL DILEMMA Old Man in Shiro THE TEXAS OBSERVER 7a 4SFPf at
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