‘Oh NoThere Is No Creed. We’re Just Interested in Swelling The Congregation.’ Praise for Don The ADA Examined In Thoughtful Study This sympathetic discussion of Don Yarborough and his political future was written by Franklin Jones, wellknown Marshall attorney and an occasional contributor to the Observer. –Ed. HOUSTON From all parts of Texas last week, friends of Don Yarborough came into Houston for his appreciation dinner. Some 300 admirers filled the San Jacinto and Brazos Rooms of the Rice to their full capacity, and with the steaks costing the participants as much as a cow ordinarily would, this was not an unhappy showing. THE ATTRACTION lay not alone in the personality of Don Yarborough, but in the belief of those who came that at long last Texas had found a political leader who is not afraid of a changing world ; or of being a part of it. The good wishes of J. Frank Dobie summed up the goal many have set for Yarborough: “I hope you will grow every day of your life, because not to change and not to grow is to be essentially dead.” As the honoree spoke, his listeners knew that he had grown, and would continue to grow, that he had accepted the law of change for growth, and would never stagnate or become immobilized to placate the apostles of the status quo. For we who have witnessed the current campaign for governor, there was a refreshing change from the artificial positioning of two candidates trying to out-conservative each other. It was a welcome change not to hear the word “conservative,” or for that matter “liberal” during his talk. For too great a segment of our body politic the word “conservative” brings on more salivation than the stimulus signal did for Pavlov’s dogs. Many have no clear conception of the objective meaning of the term, but it stimulates ecstasy, just as the word “liberal,” with less understanding of its meaning, produces snarls. It was the moving away from such practices by Yarborough that inspired the audience. Here we had a man who not only recognized our intimacy with space, but also that there is a world beyond our state, beyond these United States, and that Texas is a part of it. Perhaps it is politically unwise to drop the parochial approach, the myth of state superiority, and that no one sits higher in the saddle than a Texan. But it was sensible and invigorating to be done with the old cliches, if for but a brief hour or so, and hear a young politician tell us of new horizons ahead, of our failure to sell ourselves and our ideals over the world, of the necessity to meet the challenge of change. WITHOUT being given the black-or-white liberal or conservative treatment, the listeners were told of government’s obligations to the governed in terms of welfare, not in phrases of hate or praise. The approach is a wholesome one, and I for one hope it may continue. If only one who believes in caring for our senior citizens, as the phrase has it, could but say to the 100 percent confederate-oriented conservative, “Very well, my friend, I will even put on a Ku Klux hood for the argument, but are you satisfied with the medical attention the old folks are getting, and what is your program?” Have either of our present contenders for the governor’s chair talked of actualities? Don Yarborough proposes to free Texas from the days of donothingism. He does not advocate change purely for the sake of change, nor march as the doctrinaire, without thought. He is growing. He is willing to learn. He appreciates that he does’ not know all, and he has the sense not to claim that he does. There was a definite feeling among those of us there of an impending future for Yarborough, and that he has only begun to hit his stride. He is such a change from our political ravens, so well-described by Taikung Jen in a conversation with Confucius, so : “there is a raven in the eastern This dull head cannot fly very high and seems very stupid. It hops only a short distance and nestles close with others of its kind. In going forward, it dare not lead, and in going back, it dare not lag behind. At the time of feeding, it takes what is left over by the other birds. Therefore, the ranks of this bird are never depleted and nobody can do them any harm” S0 BE IT with too many of our sound and moderate prophets of the backward look. FRANKLIN JONES Americans for Democratic Action, by Clifton Brock, Public Affairs Press, Washington, D.C. ; $4.50 AUSTIN Unfortunately, the U.S. has no Simone de Beauvoir to chronicle the agonies\( and exceedingly rare ectatics on this side of the Atlantic is hardly a meet subject these days for a novelist. Clifton Brock, however, has treated the ADA, epitome of the American non-communist left, in the manner of a first-rate journalist ; and if the reader is deprived of the poignant existential dilemmas posed by such a work as The Mandarins, he receives ample compensation in Brock’s objective, sympathetic portrayal of this country’s most unashamedly liberal post-war political organization. THE ADA HAS had some raugh sledding since its inception in 1947. When it wasn’t being frustrated or ignored by Truman and Ike, it was being reviled as a communist-front organizationor as a tool of subversivesby the right-wing fanatics. And herein lies a monstrous irony. For the ADA was specifically formed to counter the threat of communism in the liberal movement. Indeed, it was ADA-ers who were particularly responsible for discrediting Henry Wallace’s communist-infil trated Progressive Party in the eyes of liberals preceding the 1948 elections. Far from being an extremist organization, ADA has tempered radicalism. “There can be no doubt that without the ADA American political thought and action would have become more extremist at both ends, Left and Right,” says Brock. “The example of ‘European nations, where communism penetrated the intellectual and professional groups after the war, is an index of what might have happened in America. With this additional note : the extreme Right would have taken panic . . . and America might have witnessed . . . a McCarthyism . . . . which made its When the ADA was first-erganized, become a quasi-political ideological group, similar to the British Fabian Democratic Party, and influence it toward liberal ends. Wisely, it made the third choice. Had it done otherwise, it would no doubt have been long interred in the populous grave Experiment AUSTIN The first cooperative venture in education between Texas organized labor and the University of Texas extension division has been termed a success by Lyman Jones, publicity director for the state AFL-CIO. The five-day school, called the Labor Leader Institute, was completed this week at the Bar K Ranch on Lake Travis. According to Jones, 72. students attended, representing a cross-section Of organized labor in Texas. Teachers included professors from the university, attorneys, and labor leaders. Included in the curriculum were courses in basic economics, group communication, socio-economic forces affecting labor, federal issues and legislation, labor laws, and automation. The AFL-CIO hopes to hold similar schools in the future. yard of left-wing splinter groups. As it is, ADA still exists, and though its influence on the _national levelup to the Kennedy ,erawas often no more impressive than that of, say, Texas liberals on the state level, it has done probably as much as any liberal organization could have done in an age which holds progressivism it disrepute. It has held its own. OFFICIALLY, ADA is “non-partisan.” It is interested in helping liberals get elected. Or it helps elect the lesser of two conservatives, when no other choice is offered. In reality, however, such a stand has resulted in predominant support of the Democrats. ADA has supported no Republican presidential or vicepresidential candidate, and in Congress it has backed Democratic candidates, on the average, by about 20 to one. ADA, then, is no ivory tower retreat. It is a political force, and it does its share of precinct organizing, caucus room skirmishing, and platform writing. Its participation in the in-fighting of American politics accounts, no doubt, for whatever success it has achieved as well as for some of its more notable fiascos. And ADA’s fiascos, one might say, are almost always notable. One which it has yet to live down was the boom for Ike in 1948. Disenchanted with Truman, who, it seemed, had renounced the entire New Deal tradition, ADA seized upon the future Republican President as a worthy substitute, and it took Ike himself to quell the Ike-for-President tide. After his refusal to run “for any public office,” several ADA New York chapters organized a motorcade to his residence, and picketed him with signs saying “Ike, Don’t Be A Draft Dodger,” and “Ike, You’re A-1 With Us, Be 1-A in the Draft.” The memory of the experience still makes ADA-ers grit their teeth. But by and large, the organization weathered the storms and maintained its self-respect and independence. Their reward came in 1960, when the new President chose between 35 and 45 past or present ADA members to serve in his administration. But it was a mixed blessing, as everyone except the conservative propagandists are willing to concede. Far from fulfilling the role of a strew President in the clutches of diabolical ADA dictatorship, Kennedy soon let it be known who was running the show ; and if the ADA-ers close to the President occasionally have had some influence upon him, it is reciprocal. And, “there is,” says Brock, “another side to these appointments. The Presidentin effectholds hostages which could be used against ADA if he wished. There is no doubt about where the primary allegiance of Freeman, Goldberg, Ribicoff, S c h 1 e s i n g e r, Weaver, Williams, et al., would lie in such a case.” Those who depict Kennedy as an ADA pawn either fail to see the disparity between ADA policy and the President’s performance to date, or they are guilty of demogoguery. BROCK has presented an authoritative and extremely interesting book on a highly controversial, little understood organization. The problems he describes the ADA as facing are the problems all intelligent liberals face in America today. Consequently it is a book all intelligent liberals should read: C.D.
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