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Thoughts on Lloyd Bentsen’s election Lloyd Bentsen’s victory was a victory of fear, confusion, and reaction. Yarborough’s defeat was a defeat of courage, patience, and enlightenment. This is clear. Spending stunning amounts of money, Bentsen hired pollsters to find out what the people hated, and then he hired media specialists to use him like a television actor to say to the people, “I hate what you hate.” He won because of this and because he convinced his fellow rich conservatives that he would protect their privileges and wealth. The first lesson to be taken by the country is the power of money in elections. This must be stopped. Whenever men can pollute the essential events of democracy, elections, by selling slogans that distort and falsify the issues at such a rate that there is no way for the people to get a balanced view, we have no democracy. The first priority for reform in the United States should be reform of the corrupted system of controlling and limiting campaign finances. You cannot reform a system by a process that has been penetrated and overwhelmed by the elements that need reform. The airways of television and radio belong to the people. This is well established. The people are entitled to fair, equal-time discussions of the issues on their airways by the serious candidates, including the serious candidates who may not be official party nominees. Congress must provide the airways free of charge to such candidates for such discussions. There are difficulties. They must be worked out. Congress must prohibit any non-reported political spending. The farce of “committees” for candidates which do not have to report what they spend must end. This is first. The second lesson for the country is a warning for these particular times. We are in a period of cultural shock. Many people are alienated, confused, disgusted, and frightened. Any public officeholder who has taken positions of courage which can be isolated and sloganeered to anger and frighten the people will be in danger politically this year. More profoundly, however, the country is in danger. As the anti-political people of the left and right win converts and exploit more and more frequently the power of violence, the possibility of a national mini-convulsion, or not so mini-convulsion, increases. This must be what led the sober, careful Senator Fulbright to warn recently that the country could fall into the hands of a right-wing dictator. Those who would oppose continued work to reform the country had better make the wisest guess they can on what would happen to the 20 The Texas Observer Observations country in such a convulsion. My own guess is that I. F. Stone is right, that once this country slipped into a new fascist period, we would not come out of it. We would get locked into a situation controlled by military and corporate power, perhaps with the persistence, for show, of vestigial, but dead, democratic forms. This would be a disaster for the world. As usual, after an historic setback for the cause of man, there is much searching about for scapegoats. Many are always at fault for every complex political or social misfortune. In our present situation, however, it is important, I believe, that we not lose our awareness of the whole phenomenon of social change and crisis through which we are passing. We are bombarded from all around us every day by so many events and impressions we are living in an entirely new kind of daily human life. What is important is that in the midst of this continuing circumferential bombardment, we practice the conservation of indignation, we keep balance in the midst of process and change, and we be patient, not for the urgently needed changes, but for understanding. We must see into the other fellow with imagination and compassion and remember that he, too, is trying to bear and act against the anguish, the rage, and the panic of our times. What we have learned from Ralph Yarborough in his 13 years as senator from Texas is the power of doing the right thing. This is not so clear, just now in Texas, as we pick our ways through our scattered hopes for progress, finding friends. But the power of doing the right thing is. not defeated. It is one of those powers that stays. We who admire and respect Senator A-PLUS UNIVERSITY SERVICES With you in mind: typing theses resumes graphic arts dept. Our prices are reasonable-our service is good. Come by 504 West 24th St. \(in the same 477-5651. Yarborough can be of good cheer, because he has done the right thing, and what he has done stays, and he has given us courage that stays. What’s going on? The churning around at the University of Texas is all very interesting, but there is something rotten in the library that is more important than all the headlines. Charged by the State Constitution to be a “university of the first rank,” U.T. at Austin has slipped from 37th to 50th in expenditures for books and binding in one year, from 1968 to 1969. As Dr. Karl Galinsky, associate professor of classics and an authority on the condition of the library, asks what is going on here $13 million for an unnecessary expansion of the stadium, more than $250,000 for a new athletes’ cafeteria, and this year less than $150,000 for books for the College of Arts and Sciences! Is this a college or a gladiators’ pit? Small talk Don’t be put on by all the frothy stuff about how mad Lyndon is at his brother Sam Houston about that book, My Brother Lyndon brother’s book, but more to the point, it is a lightweight performance of small talk, anecdotes, and observations. There are some details and stories that will interest any Texan affected by Lyndon’s life and his various works, but the book’s only serious content is Sam’s candor about his brother’s techniques of political deceit. I guess this candor is enough to have made Lyndon mad, but it seems to me that Sam told us more about these methods than he meant to, just by continuing to ramble on. R.D. BOUND VOLUMES OF THE OBSERVER Bound volumes of the 1969 issues of The Texas Observer are now available. In maroon washable binding the same as in recent years the price is $12. Also available at $12 each are volumes for the years 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, and 1968 the years of the Observer in its present format. Texas residents please add the 4 1/4% state and city sales tax to your order. Volumes will be sent postpaid. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 504 West 24th Austin, Texas 78705