nally favorite son drive and upset the status quo. The walkout that everybody down to the dullest bellboy knew the liberals would pull did not create a stir. It was not coordinated nor announced; probably most of the conservative delegates didn’t notice any walkout. Just as nothing succeeds like success nothing looks so bad as failure. What I’m trying to do here is not just to vent my own personal frustration but to persuade others to begin to take honest stock with a view to realistic future steps. There is talk of setting up a second Democratic party in the state, patterned I suppose after the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, with its own executive committee, state office, and the rest. Perhaps this is a sound first step back. Right now we don’t know enough about it to say. What is needed now is some hard thinking and some facing of unpleasant facts. Texas liberals have little else ahead to do this year; for us 1968 is, politically, over. We can do very little about helping elect a president, choose a nominee, or alter the largely meaningless statewide races this November. Why not spend the time in serious thought and discussion and then come together to plot more realistic future courses? That may not be as emotionally satisfying as spouting off before others of like mind; it will be harder 16 The Texas Observer work. But I see no other course if liberalism is to advance and, at last, to hold some sway in our home state. Collective Guilt Once again we are confronted with the question of collective guilt, the question whether a society is somehow responsible for the misdeeds of an individual. President Johnson tells us that 200 million Americans did not pull the trigger to kill Senator Kennedy. The same can be said of the deaths of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Viola Liuzzo, the Rev. James Reeb, Malcolm X, Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, and others.’ Two hundred million Americans were going about their own business while those people died at the hands of individuals. I think we are getting a bit too used to the reasoning that individual acts do not reflect on our society. There have been too many such acts recently for even the casual observer not to wonder: what is there abroad in this land today? For myself, I resolved the question of collective guilt on the assassination of President Kennedy; it occurred to me then, amidst the din of Dallas’ breast beating, that we take pride in and vicarious credit for the commendable acts that a fellow American performs. We feel ennobled when one of our astronauts does something the world admires, or when an American wins some other sort of international acclaim. We identify with that act, feel a part of it, and often I believe feel we have somehow contributed to its accomplishment. Must not the same be true when the act in question is a shameful one? Are we Americans not collectively guilty of the murder of Robert Kennedy? In a sense I believe we are. We have, for instance, not demanded that the serious and distressingly apt questions about the murder of John Kennedy be examined closely. Have we not thereby coddled criminals, perhaps made potential assassins or conspirators to assassination take heart? Have we not made violence an institution of our society, an instrument of our foreign and domestic policy to impose our version of peace and order on the discontented and dispossessed in this nation and on those whom we consider aliens abroad? Do we not decorate our most proficient killers of supposed foreign enemies? Do we not still practice capital punishment? As Sen. Philip Hart of Michigan said after Senator Kennedy was shot, how can we expect violence not to plague such a society? Why do we not control guns at least as fully as we do automobiles? How can we fight crime without taking some preliminary steps to, as best we can, keep firearms away from criminals, convicted and potential? Why do these public officials who moan about coddling criminals not also demand that we take steps to disarm them as best we can? Yes In a letter from my sister mourning the latest Kennedy tragedy I found this sentence: “I can remember the good old days when I didn’t even know what a cortege was.” G.O. Eckhardt Remarks Were Reported The Observer was wrong in reporting in the June 7 issue that Cong. Bob Eckhardt’s remarks on student rights went “unreported in the Texas press.” His comments were reported in the May 12 edition of the Houston Chronicle and the May 13 edition of the Fort Worth StarTelegram John Mort, Washington bureau, the Houston Chronicle and Fort Worth StarTelegram, 1253 National Press Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20004. Equal Coverage Your statement [in the June 7 issue] that “the San Antonio Express-News had its veteran political reporter, Jon Ford, with Smith most of the time” is false. Ford spent the same amount of time with Don Yarborough as he did with Preston Smith. He did not stay with either most of the time. He spent the last week of the campaign with Yarborough and the next to the last week with Smith. If you will take the trouble to take a ruler and measure the Express-News coverage of both candidates you will. find the amount of space and the size of the headlines equal. We do not object to bias in your reporting but we do protest distortions and untruths. Charles 0. Kilpatrick, executive editor, San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio, Tex.78206. A Suggestion According to an AP story, the owner of a Ben Franklin store in Dallas, E. 0. Crawford, said he would no longer sell toy guns. He was motivated to do this by the Robert Kennedy assassination. “We teach our children love of a gun and love of killing by giving them a toy gun as soon as they are able to walk,” Mr. Crawford said. I’d like to suggest that when Texas Observer readers in Dallas need something from a dime store, they buy from this Ben Franklin store. Fran Presley, Rt. 6, Box 415, Texarkana, Tex. 75501.
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