A Family Farm Baytown After long and mournful contemplation of the subject, I am now prepared to offer two political postulates: Nothing softens a politician’s heart like an impending election. In politics, you go first class or you stay at home. There are offered as illustrations recent incidents in the career of the celebrated tenant farm family, Mr. and Mrs. Charlie Cutler, who reside in the vicinity of Autaugaville, Ala. It was discovered that this 75year-old farmer and his wife, Willie, live in picturesque squalor in one of those shacks which have dotted the Southern landscape since the memory of man runneth not to the contrary. The front page ingredient was the name of their landlady: Mrs. Ladybird Johnson of Washington, D.C., and Stonewall, Texas. This melted every Republican heart in America. It was a pitiful thing. Besides it was a great antidote to President Lyndon Johnson’s poverty program which was getting much favorable publicity. Droves of politically-oriented reporters descended upon the Alabama celebrities and Mr. Cutler became the nation’s most photographed tenant farmer. He was probably better-dressed than most of the reporters since he was wearing one of Mr. Johnson’s tailor-made suits. Anyway, he was a pleasant-looking old gentleman with shrewd, intelligent eyes. About the only expression of dissatisfaction which came from the couple was Mrs. Cutler’s plaint that she wished Mrs. Johnson would do something about the roof. It leaked. Now came a story that the Cutlers were allowed to stay there for the rest of their days because that’s where they wanted to stay. It would have been financially advantageous to Mrs. Johnson to oust her tenants and turn the land to timber. That one came from the direction Of the Democratic camp. Now the Associated Press reported the appearance of six young Republicans, four male and two female, prepared to renovate the house. But Mr. Cutler’s clammy reception shook the big “Goldwater for President” buttons which resided on their bosoms. He said they wanted to start from the top and work down. He wanted it fixed from the ground up. Besides, he continued, the paint was of a quality which would wash off in a rain or two and the cement would stop leaks only a month or so. He even turned down the proffered shingle roof. He wants tin. “It would be,” he commented, “like buying yourself a new hat without no new clothes.” Right now Mr. Cutler is in a pretty sound trading position. He is playing his chips recklessly as if he knows that it’s pretty hard to sour the milk of human kindness this close to a national election. It is hoped though that he won’t get carried away and fail to accept the best proposition before November. After that, he’ll probably have to patch his own roof. AL MELINGER 14 The Texas Observer A Propertied Majority? Senator Goldwater’s near approach to the Republican presidential nomination is itself a severe blow to American prestige abroad. If his nomination becomes a reality, this blow will become calamitous; and no one will be able to breathe deeply until he is rejected by the national electorate, for his election on some fluke would be a disaster. Blow . . . calamity . . . disaster .. . these are pale terms, indeed, to describe the potential inherent in his ascendancy in American politics. Here, embodied in a man, is the nit-wit, know-nothing, drop the-bomb neurosis that has plagued the United States since Joe McCarthy and has become political paranoia with increasing frequency. Let those who .regard Goldwater’s California victory as a fluke put this in their pipes and smoke it: that of nine avowed members of the Birch Society who entered Republican contests for federal and state offices in California at the same time Goldwater was running his race for president there, five won Republican nomination. Let those who say that Goldwater, if nominated., would not have a chance, remember that Nixon very nearly beat Kennedy, which ought to have startled Democrats into realizing that something fundamental is happening to the American electorate. A majority of the propertied and those who wish to become propertied is hoving into view, and if Goldwater is the current champion, Goldwater it’ll be for them. His nomination would menace American politics, and his election, the human race. Surely the unpardonable failure of the Texas Republican Party is its unswerving fidelity to his candidacy. Surely the one extremism or culpable opportunism which George Bush’s suaveness and pleasantness cannot dispel is his enthusiastic championing of the candidacy of the senator from Arizona, which he knew very well was a pre-condition of his nomination by Texas Republicans. With the runoff primary returns, the list of good men lost this spring to Texas politics lengthens. Shall these men have served for nothing, and their causes languish now? This has been, but for the renomination of Senator Yarborough, a year of almost unrelieved disaster for liberalism in Texas. The next two years in the legislature will be a testing of fire for those who are left there to carry on the fight for the public interest. And between now and the end of next year, liberals in Texas need to meet many times, and in good spirit, to consider exactly what is happening, not only to the best of the progressive candidates, but also to our society, and what can be done. Employees as Ciphers “Hospital Highlights” is a publication of the Dallas County hospital district. C. Jack Price is administrator of the district. In an issue distributed before the May primary, employees of the district were notified of these rules for employees: You may vote or participate in precinct conventions; “However, as an employee of or take part in an election or political money, or perform any service for a politicof anycharacter on behalf of any political organization, party or candidate. “You . . . may not openly promote any party or candidacy by use of car or yard placards, the wearing of pins, or performing any tasks for pay or not for pay of any political organization, any party or any candidate. . . . [Y]ou may not run for, or serve, as precinct chairman, poll watcher, or election judge. Attend rallies or meetings of a political character, or engage in any other activities of a political nature.” The title given this rule of the Dallas hospital district is “Good Citizenship & Good Government.” By what right does the Dallas County hospital district order its employees to emasculate themselves politically? Has Dallas degenerated so far from ordinary respect for the citizen that it deals with’ its public employees as ciphers to be made quiver with fear and trepidation? At least Dallas has a chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. Here is an item for its attention. What! Trains for People? People should be able to travel long disstances cheaply in the amiable, sociable passenger trains. Instead, the railroads are scandalously ignoring the public interest in cheap train travel by discontinuing run after run. The superhighways that Edmund Wilson correctly calls truckways become more and more jammed; a little more of the pleasure of life in America goes to smash in the name of some company’s Mammon. Cong. Henry Gonzalez of San Antonio has been thinking about this and has come up with a game stab at a solution. He has proposed in Congress a four-state railway authority “to stimulate passenger rail transportation” \(in Texas, New Mexico, cussions with Mexico to secure its participation. He proposes by the way a thorough study of the railway system of Mexico. Observations
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