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ATTORNEYS Overcome the high cost of down-time on your legal secretary. Let us type your motions, appeals, contracts, and other legal documents. We can type from your rough drafts or tapes. Our work is flawless, professional, fast, and economical. Foreign language typing available. 477-6671 504 W. 24th St. –Austin, Texas WOODY HILLS ood for People, Not for Profit A VEGETARIAN FOOD CO-OP 519 S 1st Good books in every field JENKINS PUBLISHING CO. The Pemberton Press John H. Jenkins, Publisher Box 2085 g31 Austin 78768 Simple, Dignified Funerals $300. PlusTransportation MEMORIAL SERVICES Simple Funerals San Antonio 533.8141 _kits’ i n 1 n fiwivat ion Center 472-0111 By Chase Untermeyer Austin The other day at lunch a group of fellow legislators” and I were complaining about the sorry muddle in which our trade now finds itself. The complaint was a leftover from election year ’78: “single-issue politics.” It’s a problem that can be more easily felt than defined, but basically my cohorts were upset that more and more voters are becoming exclusively concerned with certain limited and very controversial issues, demanding that candidates for political office agree with them 100 percent or face righteous wrath and certain defeat. To the national press, the phrase single-issue politics is shorthand for some of the nettlesome political questions of the 1970s: abortion, ERA, busing, nuclear power, tax relief and gay rights. But every politician, especially those of us who operate close to the grassroots, knows there are fiery and dangerous single issues that Joe Kraft never heard of, such as whether the redfishing season should be shortened and whether clouds should be seeded to encourage rain. Whichever single issue my colleagues had in mind as we chewed the problem along with our barbecue, it was clear that this development had made politics a lot less fun than it used to be. Why, people out there were actually telling us how to vote! And threatening to whip us if we don’t! I was no different from the others at the table. A lifelong Republican, I had been condemned after the last session of the Legislature by the Texas Young Americans for Freedom because I had only voted 74 percent “conservative” on YAF’s own selection of the issues, including the crucial question for Freedom of whether motorcyclists should be required to wear helmets. But as I listened, it gradually occurred to me that we had sown this crop of single-issue constituencies ourselves: Everyone at that table, myself definitely included, had been a guest speaker before Kiwanis clubs, chambers of commerce, high school government classes and civic groups, preaching the imperative for our audiences to get involved in politics. The oratory had seemed merely stirring at the time: “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, I say to you, and you only get the kind of government you deserve. Go ye into all the precincts and multiply thy votes.” Now, the people are taking our adviceand a whole new grave concern for politicians and political pundits is born, joining such faddish favorites of the past as the military-industrial complex, the drop-out generation, the decline of the cities, and the excessive power of congressional committee chairmen. Single-issue politics today happens to be almost exclusively a grave concern of liberals. This is not surprising, inasmuch as the single issues that bother liberals the most are such currently popular conservative causes as anti-abortion, antiERA, anti-gay rights, and antigovernment spending. True, there are equally fervent constituencies lined up on the other side of these issues, but with the possible exception of the antinukers, momentum today belongs to the conservatives. For liberals, the new distress over single-issue politics is ironic, for only a few years ago they were in the streets chanting “power to the people!” and laboring in committees to write “participatory democracy” into party rules and public law. What has happened, of course, is that the folks who are now participating democratically and achieving power are not their people. Citizens against abortion or gun control are cowing public officials into doing what they want, just as their counterparts on the left were agitating for civil rights and an end to the Vietnam War in the 1960s. Hence it is no coincidence that the main opposition to initiative/referendum in Texas comes from liberals, aghast at what Howard Jarvis and Anita Bryant did with the device in their states last year. \(Conservatives probably would not now be so united in support of initiative/referendum had not Proposition 13 shown it could be used successfully for their ends. Before Jarvis came along, after all, most of the initiatives in California had been organized for liberal But whatever their ideology, some people are taking a much more intense interest in public issues today. For those who have never participated in politics before, it is usually a special reasona single issue, if you will, and not always an ideological onethat motivates them to leave their TV sets and go ring doorbells. If it isn’t Stop ERA or No TREE ‘VOICES Single issue: one beats none 16 MAY 25, 1979