AMERICAN INCOME LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY OF INDIANA Underwriters of the American Income Labor Disability Policy Executive Offices: P.O. Box 208 Waco, Texas Bernard Rapoport, President A COMMUNICATION truckload after truckload of mexicanos fleeing from the economic competition of foreigners who, because of the peso value of the dollar and of a cheaper standard of living in Mexico, can afford to work for wages unacceptable to the citizen worker. The commuter problem along the border is scandalous. A woman living in Juarez dill work in El Paso for less than half the salary required by a U.S. mexicana. When a forthright Secretary of Labor sought to stop the commuter traffic not long ago, the roof fell on him! Government officials became highly solicitous over what this would do to the economy of Mexico. Merchants were much concerned over possible loss of trade; forgetting, it seems, that native labor at higher wages would spend all of their income here. Much concern for the bracero, for inter-national relations, for Mexican economic health. Not a word in behalf of the forgotten man, the man displaced by the commuter. Not a word about the education of his children, their health, their prospects for a share in the good life of Americans. What of our current “War on Poverty”? I bleed for Appalachia; but I bleed more profusely for East Austin, for West San Antonio, for the “Magic” Valley. Does our President? Or does he take the position that it can’t happen in his native state, good ole Texas? Again; no need to elaborate on the plight of the mexicano in Texas. The most amateurish investigator would have to be in a coma, deprived of all sensibilities, to avoid being shocked at the state of affairs here. What is even more shocking is that the mexicano leaders, and I use that term with serious reservations, are complacent over this denial of basic rights and protection of their people. I must note, again, that there are exceptions, rare though they be. In fact, however, some of those “leaders” are so blind that they become advocates of the very men in public office who, openly, are “cutting the throats” of the mexicano. Some of those “leaders,” elected to public office or to important posts in organizations, are simply convenencieros; that is, opportunists who care little whom they sacrifice in order to gain favor with the dominant establishment. And the mexicano man in the street is sold out subtly, and he knows not how, why, or what happened or will happen. So, he becomes either apathetic or cynical. Yes, the American of Mexican descent in Texas is, indeed, a “sleeping giant”sleeping through a nightmare which is so persistent that it becomes normalcy and, therefore, is unperceived as a nightmare. so , unknowingly, he follows the lead of fools, knaves, or misguided innocents to his destiny of ignorance and misery, like the sheep follow the Judas goat to the slaughterhouse. It is truly cold comfort that the dominant group is only a bit better off! fl To the Editor: I want to thank you for providing us temporarily expatriated Texans with your excellent coverage of Texas affairs. As a past and present subscriber to the publications of several liberal and radical groups, I am always impressed by the Observer’s thoughtfulness and freedom from dogmatism. The salient problems of todayVietnam, the draft, the Negroes, the urban slum, education, automation, alienation, and the loss of cultural and personal purpose, nature and art, to mention just a few do not admit of ideological solutions. The old distinctions of “conservative” and “liberal” take on new meanings when applied to these issues, if applied in a creative and concrete manner. The Observer, unlike many opinion journals of the left and right, has entered into this concrete and creative debate unencumbered by the old political labels. The real debate of our time, as well as the real debate of all times and within all persons, is the conflict between tradition and experimentation, the conflict between values of equal weight and legitimacy. This conflict cuts across the political lines of “liberal” and “conservative” and rages within every man’s conscience in a time of social change. In the most left wing movements one can find and in the most ultraconservative movements one can find extremely and dangerAs with many of my contemporaries who left Texas during their college years and have been kicked around the rest of the country for some time \(I am presently at taken out of the boy. While we are quite comfortable in other parts of the country, we are never at home outside Texas. Texas is a land of contrasting panoramas, smells, tastes, and sounds. Texans, too, are people of contrasting natures. They can be frenzied and violent, vulgar, ostentatious, narrow, and bigoted. But they can also be warm and deep, compassionate, and generous. And beyond these contrasts, Texans are December 31, 1965 27
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