A Communication Dear Sir: The December 31 Observer contained a timely article about the failure of Texas Negroes to achieve representation in the legislature and at other levels of government in our state, stating that the patronizing Democratic Party has not given them due consideration. But the writer set forth a statement about the Republican Party which is contrary to the record: “The really incredible fact of political life is that the Republican Party is yet to awaken to its opportunities should it offer the Texas Negro a meaningful alternative.” In practical political terms, the only way Negroes can attain fair representation in the Texas House of Representatives is through single-member districts in multi-seat counties. So long as county-wide legislative elections prevail, Negro prospects are remote. The Texas Republican Party has consistently supported single member districts. For instance, early in 1965 the State Republican Executive Committee unanimously endorsed singlemember districts as the most equitable plan for state government close to the people. Republican testimony was given before the redistricting committee in hearings during the last session, and Republican State Representative Frank Cahoon of Midland voted for single-member district measures on three occasions. After the Legislature failed to pass a fair plan, I joined a suit charging unconstitutionality of the bill due in part to alleged discrimination against Negroes. At this writing the suit is still before a federal court in Houston. In this vital area of representation, we believe we’ve offered a “meaningful alternative” not only to Negroes but to all Texans who want fair representation. In other important areas, including education and personal income, we’re trying to explain the advantages of a strong two-party system. The advantages constitute a “meaningful alternative” for forward-looking state government for all Texas citizens and we would hope that more Negroes will join Republican efforts in this cause. Peter O’Donnell, Jr., Chairman, State Republican Executive Committee of Texas. Is the government of Texas becoming the private preserve of the big corporations? That’s the way it looks right now. The big money candidates for U.S senator, governor, and lieutenant governornamely, Waggoner Carr, John Connally, and Preston Smithhave no opposition as of now in the Democratic primary. Jim Wright, the Fort Worth congressman, raised $50,000 to oppose Carr in one television broadcast, but decided that wasn’t enough and bugged out. The friend of the public who has announced for attorney general has been tied up by the refusal of Connally’s state Democratic chairman to let him file. If Sen. Franklin Spears, San Antonio, is kept off the ballot by the Establishment on the slenderest technicality, there it will be, for all the world to seeTexas government under the lock and key of big money. The President’s state, as they say. The President wouldn’t help Wright, or he’d have run. Evidently the President isn’t encouraging Cong. Jack Brooks, Beaumont, to run, either; otherwise would not Brooks run for the Senate rather than oppose his old friend Cong. Clark Thompson of Galveston for Congress or take some appointment somewhere? The conclusion is rapidly approaching, ladies and gentlemen, that the President is letting John Connally have Texas, and therefore, Waggoner Carr. Nevertheless, citizens, pay your poll tax. If you want a clue, one of the three U.S. judges who is hearing the lawsuit against the Texas poll tax, Adrian Spears, has paid his. If you want to vote in 1966 in whatever statewide races do materialize, in the vital local races in the redistricted situations, and on the abolition of the poll tax and other constitutional amendments, you must pay your poll tax. R.D. 16 The Texas Observer This Sub-Society We do not publish anonymous letters, but we make an exception for this one, which arrived air mail postmarked “APO Army & Air Force Postal Service.”Ed. In your several editorials on Vietnam in the November 26th issue, you challenged all who have misgivings on American foreign policy in Vietnam to stand and be heard; to confront the misguided patriotism of a hostile majority with pertinent criticisms. Due to my remote location I have only very recently read your challenge, and thus my reply is somewhat belated. Irrespective of your enlightening arguments on this subject, I am still ambivalent as to what the role of the United States should be in Vietnam. Nevertheless, I am ultimately quite opposed to our present handling of this vital dilemma. On the other hand, all uncertainty disappears in regards to our ungrounded intervention in the Dominican Republic. Yet, although I oppose our government’s policy in one sense or another in both Vietnam and the Dominican Republic, I do not demonstrate. I have questioned the strength of my principles. I have questioned whether I could remain silent and still maintain a semblance of integrity, yet I remain silent. None of your arguments has resolved these questions in my mind for I am an enlisted man in the United States Army. I have allowed myself the luxury of speaking out in private, but even this is a dangerous practice in this sub-society which tolerates no dissent. To speak out in public would be quixotic and foolhardy if not suicidal, for it would bring almost certain personal sanctions, a court martial, possibly imprisonment, and eventual dishonorable discharge. The experience of ex-Pfc. Winstel R. Belton substantiates this prospect only too clearly. Therefore, I return the challenge to you. How can a soldier, unwilling though he may be, dissent when he is foresworn to defend his country and obey his leaders without question? Unfortunately, I find it necessary to remain anonymous until that glorious day when my questionable honor is rewarded by a so-called honorable discharge. A loyal reader
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