`W Fagan Dickson 1904-1977 One of Texas’ great liberal crusaders, Fagan Dickson, died on July 6 at the age of 73. Dickson represented Bexar County in the 1941 Legislature and went on to serve as first assistant attorney general in 1947. He ran for the supreme court in 1950 and waged an antiwar campaign for Congress in 1968. Dickson battled the conservative overlords of the state Democratic party throughout the fifties and sixties and helped lead the Loyal Democrats in their knockdown-dragouts with the Shivercrats and Johnson forces. At Dickson’s funeral in Austin, Bill Ballew of Houston delivered the following tribute: –E’ds. Fagan Dickson was a scholar and a gentleman. He had integrity. He was civilized. He was religious. He had principles. Unlike too many of us, he never learned to rise above principle. The spirit of liberty burned in this man with the intensity of a Tom Paine, but he expressed his views with the grace of a Tom Jefferson. The Bill of Rights came alive in his words and deeds. He was a patriot, a citizen in the great sense of that word, a man whose hallmark was courage during these past two decades in his battle with cancer. He had the rare ability to enjoy life to the hilt, knowing -that just around the corner lurked death. The Greeks had a saying for this: “Death plucks me on the ear and whispers, ‘Live, I am coming.’ Fagan Dickson lived. He lived the life of a first-rate lawyer. Had he been elected to the Texas Supreme Court he would have served with extraordinary distinction. He was an astute political observer of our state, national and international scene. He was one of the first to say outloud in public that our involvement in Vietnam was tragically wrong. He was a close friend of a president, at least until he ran for Congress on a ticket of “Bring Lyndon Home.” Although he was born in Kentucky, he became one of those steelstraight Texans whose ranks are becoming painfully thin: Texans like Dobie and Webb, Ralph Yarborough and Frankie Randolph, Jesse Andrews and J. R. Parten, Homer Rainey and Walter Hall, Bernard Rapoport and Bob Eckhardt and not too very many more. Dickson lived during a period when an agriCultural and ranching Texas became an industrial and business giant. Amidst a sea of change, Fagan remained contemporary. This required wisdom. As he advanced in years, he still looked young. He was old enough to be my father, yet he looked like my brother. Fagan Dickson was a crusader. He paid a heavy price for this but he paid it gladly. We should have a special fondness for such men. But for them we would still be living in caves. They light the candles which illuminate our world. They push back the darkness of human ignorance. One of his last crusades, one that he lost because the federal courts treated his case as a political rather than a legal issue, was his lawsuit against President Nixon and the federal government, a lawsuit which asked that this country cease sending billions of dollars to Israel on the grounds that such appropriations were unconstitutional under the establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment, Israel, being in his judgment, a theocracy. Those of us who were not in the middle of this litigation cannot fully understand how he suffered for doing what he thought was his simple duty as a citizen. This liberal, tolerant and religious man was called antiSemitic despite a lifetime devoted to First Amendment rights and liberal causes. He paid a high price for living up to his principles rather than rising above them. As we salute today the passing of our friend and fellow citizen, we realize that men such as Fagan Dickson have achieved a special kind of immortalitythey remain our models of how life can be lived when men are truly wise. Fagan, a serious scholar, would have subscribed to these remarks by his friend, John Silber: “The humanities succeed when, confronting man with his approaching death and eliciting the dread appropriate to that end, they encourage himin celebration of life, to invest with a passionate seriousness in enterprises and in existence that will not endure. Men flourish in no other way.” Fagan Dickson understood that and Fagan Dickson flourished. THE COST PRICE CONSUMERS PAY 50% MORE FOR FOOD TODAY THAN IN 1972 BUT FAMILY FARMERS SEE A LOSS UNEQUALED SINCE 1933 Inflation kecips up Farm prices keep going down. WE’D LIKE TO CHANGE THAT TO KEEP EVERYBODY EATING Texas gr, 111111 Farmers L AMA Union M. J IF YOU ARE an occasional reader and would like to receive the Texas Observer regularlyor if you are a subscriber and would like to have a free sample copy or a one year gift subscription sent to a friendhere’s the order form: SEND THE OBSERVER TO name street city state zip this subscription is for myself gift subscription; send card in my name sample copy only; you may use my name $12 enclosed for a one year sub bill me for $12 MY NAME8c ADDRESS \(if not shown THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701
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