tion and respect for democracy there than I have ever seen. The loudest protests were reserved for the two or three bare suggestions made during those two weeks that touched on disorder or approached violence. And these 19, 20, 21, and 22-year-old kids, from Seminole and Houston, and lots of places in between, put the Texas legislature to shame in their concern for the rights of their colleagues, in carefully considering what is right, what should be done next, and how. One night at a meeting of the group, when things were getting a bit tense, in the free flow of debate, a young university faculty member who had been quietly standing by, listening, learning, asked to be heard. He then said what I’m trying to say: “You must remember,” he told the attentive crowd of some three or four hundred, “that you are operating in the most democratic group of any group in the state of Texas. But the kind of radical democracy that you are demonstrating is very ephemeral, and unless you guard it carefully you’ll lose it.” There was an outburst of appreciative applause for the words of Edgar Sneed, a teaching assistant in history. He had pointed out, at an important juncture, what all had momentarily forgotten or perhaps had only sensed but never fully realized. The meeting proceeded more smoothly after that. compelling with their ideas have the field. For wasn’t a young man on the mark Time magazine: “Look at you, brainwashing a whole generation of kids into getting a revolving charge account and buying your junk. . . . Look at you, needing a couple of stiff drinks before you have the guts to talk with another human being. Look at you, making it with your neighbor’s wife just to prove that you’re really alive. Look at you, screwing up the land and the water and the air for profit, and calling this nowhere scene the Great Society! And you’re gonna tell us how to live? C’mon, man, you’ve got to be kidding!” Guilty as charged. Who can deny it? But is there no wisdom, no worth, in us old fellers? We feel challenged by the young and we are uncomfortable and assailed by the knowledge of our compromises, our shortcomings. I’ve seen the anguish that this challenge by the underthirty crowd has caused in the most civilized of our state’s leaders. I’m thinking at this point of the men on the University of Texas faculty who have justly earned reputations as champions of humanity for standing erect and proud at a time when so standing was an uncomfortable, even dangerous, act. I have recently seen these same men heckled by students, challenged to talk straight, and treated with condescension as though they are but musty figures from out of a distant past, out of touch with today’s realities, locked in on the imperatives of the fifties. Out of it. “What have you done for us lately?” is the unspoken jibe that haunts these good veterans of harrowing past campaigns. THE OLD MUST put aside their pride in accomplishments past, must face the fresh challenges, the new problems, alternative assumptions, higher goals. The young must be less impatient with the “tired liberals,” acknowledge that they did stand and fight during the dreadful days when Homer Rainey was scourged, xvhen Negroes were “kept in their place” to an even greater degree than now, when Texas had its own Lone Star brand of McCarthyism, of nihilism, of Babbitry. There are far too few people in Texas who feel that we must redefine our society’s ultimate commitments. The young and the / middle-aged and the old who share this view must find each other on some common plot of ground, somewhere. The experience of the older and the zeal of the younger their fresh perspective and invigorating idealism must somehow be merged. Who will be the agents of this necessary and worthwhile alliance? G.O. Dialogue BUT THERE IS another side to my discussion. As Stanley Kaufman said so well in the New Republic earlier this year, there is the danger that us be too inclined to defer to our juniors to stand aside in awe and appreciation of the purity of their hearts, the nobleness of their words, the insistent thrust of their idealism. We elders can feel, with justification, that we have screwed up the world, so let these young people who are so certain in their manner and so 16 The Texas Observer Shortsightedness It is true, as the Rev. J. C. Williams pointed out in his letter [Obs., April 14], that the Fort Worth establishment was shortsighted in failing to solicit liberal support for useful and constructive policies. Others were only too willing to fill the vacuum. But you do not turn your town over to the zealous followers of H. L. Hunt just to shake up the local establishment. Mrs. Jane H. Vrabel, 3200 Leith Ave., Fort Worth, Tex. The Observer is informed that the Rev. J. C. Williams, who uses the nickname “Star,” is not to be confused with the Tarrant county auditor, who has the same nickname and surname. The Species Homo Sapiens ‘I feel moved to comment on Maurice Schmidt’s “Confessions of an Anglo” both teach at Texas MI College. . . . Like Mr. Schmidt, I am a member of a minority group, since I am not a Christian, but an agnostic. I do not distinguish between races, but I love the species homo sapiens. I do not feel that a citizen of the United States is a Mexican. If I am teaching any Mexicans this term, I am teaching only one. She is a foreign student. Dawes Chillman, 518 William Street, Kingsville, Texas. Demonstrations’ Effect The nationwide demonstrations, especially on the part of students, against the illegal war in Vietnam, seem to have made a dent in the self-righteous armor of the Rusks and Westmorelands, who now resort to name calling. However, the dubious logic of branding demonstrators as partly responsible for the continuation of the war and for casualties will scarcely pour cold water on student determination to resist “losing a leg for Lyndon.” Lucia Trent, Box 3047, Austin, Tex. 78704. New Definition of ‘Texas’ As a Texan who has worked in Washington and who is now a graduate student of Columbia University, I have welcomed your articulation of dissent from Texas politics and governmental policies \(or been the spiritual reference for many Texans like myself who are studying or working out of state, but who are firmly rooted in the native soil and will return to join with you who are seeking a new definition of “Texas” and re-evaluating what it is to be a Texan. Thank you for the Texas Observer and the true Texas spirit that it embodies. James Allen Hightower, 230 Riverside Dr., Apt. 11-L, New York City, N.Y. 10025.
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