manding voice has switched to another utility. Now it is Stephens’ Arkla Gas, a company which the legislature holds in such esteem that on one occasion it stopped all other legislative activities for a week until it had worked out a special law to help Arkla with its rates. One of Little Rock’s senators asserts that a shocking proportion of the members of each house are tied in with Arkla. Faubus has made other powerful friends over the years. When he first ran for governor, he said without qualification that he would close down gambling at Hot Springs, which was running as wide open as Las Vegas. He didn’t. And when he came up for re-election two years later he said he didn’t know that there was any gambling going on there, but if there was, “it’s a local matter.” He did not close down Hot Springs until just before last year’s race with Rockefeller, and the slot machines were back in abundance shortly after the race; public pressurenot Faubushas since then forced the slots into the shadows again. THESE MATTERS of financial quid pro quo are quite apart from the main source of Faubus’ strength, which is his fascinating ability to sing any tune he thinks the populace wishes to hear. Over the years he has developed quite a repetoire. He started out in politics denouncing “anyone who spreads prejudice and hatred [that] can divide this state and eventually divide the nation.” He was talking this way even through his 1956 campaign, when, though baited by the segregationists, he refused to get involved in the racial debate at all, saying “race isn’t an issue.” It was not until he set out to win his third electionnecessary if he was to be in a position to appoint the majority members on the regulatory boardsthat he artificially injected racism into his career by sending troops to Little Rock High School to keep the first Negroes out: an act that was to make Little Rock synonymous with racism around the world. Two who were formerly close friends say he confided at the time that he did it only because he needed an emotional issue to win. Since then he has felt obligated to ridicule the Supreme Court and its recent judgments. In easy campaigns he touches on this only lightly. The fear of Rockefeller revived a shrillness that had not been heard in five years. Not only did Faubus claim he is the only candidate “who can be counted on in opposing immorality, atheism, and forced racial integration,” he became ugly in a personal waywhich, even for Faubus, is rather unusualsaying that “marriage is ordained by God and marriage vows should be observed,” an obvious reference to Rockefeller’s celebrated divorce from Bobo eleven years ago and also to the three divorces, long past, of Rockefeller’s second wife. Faubus is tremendously skilled at this type of doubling-back. The last time John Kennedy visited Arkansas, Faubus publicly insulted his administration, with Kennedy present. Yet after Kennedy’s death, Faubus sent out 1,000 Kennedy Memorial Stamps on envelopes cancelled in Boston to that many Catholic families in Arkansas, with a note enclosed saying how happy he was that on Kennedy’s visit “there was no unpleasantness.” In recent years, too, Faubus has often used the word “socialistic” to describe the federal government, but in addressing a farm organization recently he claimed that many of the Great Society ideas had originated in Arkansas and he promised to get as much federal money as possible to carry them on. Faubus’ opponents have called him many things, including “the man with the stereo mouth” and “one of the political pimples of history.” Averell Harriman once publicly branded him a “quisling.” Faubus became such a symbol of infamy to the foreign press in the late 1950’s that one Paris newspaper even suggested that he had been planted in Arkansas by Moscow. Faubus sees himself as “a child of fortune” and is unwilling to accept the cloak of perfidy in which great sections of the nation would wrap him. In fact, he claims that if he had been willing to bargain with the Eastern powers, he could today be president. Rank and file Arkansasans, however they see him, just go on electing him. Faubus even got half the Negro vote last year. He starts any campaign With a “nut” of 150,000 votes. Add to that most of the 80,000 welfare recipientswho regularly, in the spring of campaign years, get a $5 and many of the 20,000 state employees and their families, and also a high percentage of the 15,000 teachers, whom he has kept happy with periodic pay raises, and Faubus is off and down the track before the starting gun. Add to that the solid support of the banks, the bonding houses, the insurance companies \(who are allowed to regulate the gamblers, and the truckers. And bear in mind that the county courthouse gangs are still working with what is probably the most antiquated voting system in America \(double voting widespread; voting results not posted; unauthorized perwhat was to come, 106% of the electorate The Rev. E. Eugene Efird, Protestant chaplain of the Arkansas State Penitentiary’s Cummins farm, the subject, in part, of a story beginning on the next page this issue, writes: “Cummins farm was established in 1902 . . . The basic system as used today has been there throughout these many years. The most horrible abuse of the system existed under three governors. But the people of the state have supported the system because ‘it saves our taxes.’ Until yet we the people of Arkansas sentence men to so many years ‘of hard labor.’ Our official and expressed of reform has to be interpreted as ‘Work the hell out of ’em.’ How in Faubus’ home county gave him their support the first time he ran for governor. IN RECENT MONTHS Faubus has dropped hints that he may be tiring of the governor’s office and that he might prefer to sit in the U.S. Senate; to be precise, in the seat now occupied by Sen. John McClellan. But Faubus has talked that way many times before, and wound up again running for governor. He has, in the words of his arch foe, the Arkansas Gazette, “ridden into more sunsets than Tom Mix,” only to come out in the next reel with guns blazing. Considering the battle he would have against McClellana politician who-would appeal to much the same people and draw his campaign money from much the same sourcesthere is no reason to suppose that Faubus in ’66 will do other than what he has been doing since ’54, run for governor and win. A continuation of Faubusism, some feel, will mean the strangulation of the state. Many of Faubus’ programs have beef’ progressive, but then, almost any program in a state as poor as Arkansas would appear so. Counterbalancing this is evidence, Dr. Luck points out, “that state regulating agencies are becoming captives of the industries they are assigned to regulate .. . While the special interests wield this tremendous influence, thousands of workers in retail and service trades and in agriculture have virtually no influence at all.” Although the complaint is well-founded, it is slightly inaccurate. Now and then the little people of Arkansas demonstrate their negative influence. For some reason Faubus cannot transmit his personal popularity to many of his key ideas. Every constitutional amendment put to the people since been defeated, as have two statewide bond issues Faubus wanted very much. But the popularity of the man himself is something else. Rare indeed is the remorse voiced by ex-Gov. McMath, who originally promoted Faubus as a political figure in the state and is now unable to unmake him, “I brought him out of the hills, yes, it’s true. Basically he was a decent guy. He is evil only because he knows better. I brought him out of the hillsand every night I ask forgiveness.” can we possibly be surprised when one of the wardens, \(that is, the work superviswishes? I hear much sentiment among the citizens that the best reform method is to `beat the hell out of ’em’ .. . A truly courageous governor who is willing to buck the conservative attitudes of the public may accomplish something. Still, the fundamental responsibility for our prison problem lies in the laps of the good people of Arkansas. The problem is that they are not so good. The hope is that they are not too bad, eitherjust asleep.” December 31, 1965 21 Until Yet, Just Asleep
You May Also Like
The documentary in Falfurrias is sinister and spiritual.