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El Rancho ro ll Serving the Best Mexican Food in the World! Recommended by Time & Life Books, Continental Airlines Magazine, New York Times RESTAURANT No 1 472-1814 302 E. 1st St . MATT MARTINEZ CONGRATULATIONS on surviving for 20 years as a free and independent voice in the wilderness. 54,e Citizen \(Trying to serve Hays County the way San Marcos, Texas The New Times Arizona’s alternative weekly, salutes the Observer on its twentieth anniversary of publication. For news of Arizona government, politics and culture: $8 per year P.O. Box J, Tempe, Arizona 85281. In its sixth year of publication and getting better! Betty McKool She kept the promise . . . and the $15,000 Should Be Governor of Texas The Outpost Austin’s Best Barbecue 11:30-7:30 Daily, Except Sunday David and Marion Moss 345-9045 Highway 183 North 1014 that runs behind his house in town. The University of Texas fired him for being too Texan he did what he damn pleased in politics but you will not find anybody who has any sense who would argue that Dobie lost that one. The University has bought all his papers, for instance. The institution collects the artifacts of a man’s work it could have had living inside it. BOTH ECKHARDT and Dobie are horsemen, but common Texans like me are not. However, my boy, corrupted by his wholesome environment, wrung from me when he was five a promise I’d get him a horse when he was ten. Well, that was never, and I said all right, and now he is eleven and has the horse, whose name is “Flame,” and is a very horsey horse. It might throw my son and break his leg or worse, I know; but he is game on it, and if he is hurt, it will be better for him to be hurt riding with his friends in the country where there is room than hurt on a bike or by a car or in a fight on crowded downtown streets at night, where boys walk frowning. And they do, in our cities, too. I was passing through El Paso one night on the way to San Francisco \(that palace on the some young Mexicans hanging around on the sidewalk and suddenly remembered my own growing up in San Antonio, lurking around the streets thereof. These boys were, too, and had nothing in them but sexual energy and nothing on them I guessed but knives. How little we know in Texas about this, our urban subculture; it does not fit into the glowing new “Texas Image,” a montage of a cowboy with a Stetson and cufflinks astride a horse that is proceeding to the dedication ceremonies for a new manufactory that will specialize in barbed wire and automated chambers of commerce. A man need only drive down to the Valley and see the little Mexican children, their bellies sticking our under their cotton shirts, playing on packed dirt in front of hovels, or into East Texas and see the slums of the Negroes, to know what the image-makers and others such as they do not choose to face: the facts that are very objectively omitted. I beg your indulgence to tell you what worries me most about Texas. I fear that the concentration of wealth in the control of a few people may constipate and befoul our democracy. I fear that our democratic politics is being corrupted, and legally, by the high costs of running for office and the high costs of getting re-elected. I describe Texas, but sense the same in the country. Why are we not hearing a great debate about it? Perhaps the question contains its answer and democracy is in trouble .. . There is a hard kind of conservative in Dallas who seems to me opportunistic and unscrupulous, willing to use cruel methods as long as the results are right. Perhaps because of this, I don’t come to Dallas much; it reminds me of a prison, its skyscrapers full of cells, and forming below between them the windy courtyards of honking and desolation. I do not like to drive in Houston, which sprawls like a neon jungle except that it has some sections of spectacular mansions with lawns so large and foliage so elaborate, full time gardeners are required. Walking in River Oaks I wonder how this would appear to a poor man from Peru, or an African intellectual, and sense in such affluence a coming trouble for our country. Yet inside some of the homes there I have met people with no harm in them, and warmth and courtesy toward everyone of whatever bearing. I WOULD NOT have you think I claim there is anything discrete or unique in things and people worth seeing and knowing in Texas. We do not need that or any kind of specialness in my state any more. We are become strong enough as a culture to know that we will most of the time fail as individuals, against our highest goals, and to be able to accept this, and honor the more those who do not fail, against our highest standards. We are not so uninformed about the razz-ma-tazz nightclub life and the frenetic business pace in Arizona and New York, Chicago and California, that we feel any generically Texas shame about our own gaucheries and vapidities. There seems to be enough of these to go around without our making special stock of ours. But you know, the race will be in a hell of a shape if we lose our sentiment. If the sneer ever overpowers the hope that someone will get the message well, do you know what Lee Oswald told a Dallas Republican about his visit to Russia? He said Russia is “incredibly boring.” Texas is not. It’s credibly real and it’s full of willingness for sentiment. People love here as though we’ve just discovered love and there’s a future for it. We haven’t learned to believe yet that everybody, down deep, is a son of a bitch, or the prospective mother of one. I think we’re right, and I fear we’re wrong. I hope you who do not live here will let us who do join you as ordinary equals in the attempt to keep life, and to keep it from being incredibly boring. Say whatever you like about any one of us, we will, too; but say not “about Texas,” for as it is not anything in particular, so, to we who love it and are here, it is everything that surrounds us, and the places our intelligence lives, and hears, and grows. December 27, 1974 35