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Alan Pogue Lest we forget By Steve Russell Austin I’m going to disregard the minimal parameters you established in your wonderfully broad invitation, because I want to put in a good word for the past, for the Observer as an historical document. Since my departure from the Observer was occasioned by my ascent \(or deto the bench in a criminal court, my former colleagues might expect a view of the next 25 years for Texas’s criminal justice system. But that would be too damn depressing. As long as the most simplistic anticrime rhetoric gets the most votes, our war on crime will remain the moral equivalent of lunacy. But I trust the Observer to continue making the case for community-based corrections, restitution to victims, sensible parole policies, and the case against the barbarism of the death penalty and the short-sightedness of those who would jettison the Bill of Rights at the first hint of inconvenience. Any publication that counts Warren Burnett and Maury Maverick Jr. among its contributors needs no instruction from me on criminal justice matters. So let me, instead, implore the Observer of the next 25 years to remember and continue a tradition of commitment to the poor and powerless of Texas. Someone must chronicle the struggles of those who don’t own newspapers or buy advertisements. Without a record, mistakes are repeated and even the victories are distorted or forgotten. When campaigning for justice of the peace among University of Texas freshmen in 1976, I had to quit talking very much about the civil rights movement. Many of them simply did not believe that black people and white people subject to arrest for sitting at lunch counters together. I cannot take this ignorance as a symbol of progress, as I can when my fouryear-old refers to a black person as “that man in the blue shirt.” It’s good if children see integration as natural, but there is value in remembering the evil shadow of Jim Crow and in calling to account those politicians who acquiesced at the 16 DECEMBER 28, 1979 time. Racial justice was a moral litmus test, and back issues of the Observer are an invaluable record of who in Texas passedand who failed. Texas is not alone in its amnesia. The Nobel Prize made Martin Luther King Jr. hard to ignore, but who remembers what Rosa Parks did? Is there a memo