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rial for Viola Liuzzo? For Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner? When Parks refused to move to the back of the bus, she broke a law. Her experience is more valuable than that of Nazi Germany to show that law sometimes lacks moral authority. To card-carrying members of the human race, the Jim Crow laws were void long before the courts said so. Observer readers have enough information to understand that civil disobedience is not an act of lawlessness but a response to one. Can anyone be naive enough to believe that the need for this understanding is past? Homosexuals are now legal nonpersons, as much as blacks ever were. The Equal Rights Amendment is still not ratified, and our all-male Supreme Court tells us that discrimination based on pregnancy is not discrimination based on sex. According to the daily newspapers, it’s only a matter of time until an American lynch mob corners an Iranian stu. dent, who will then presumably be made to pay for the sins of the Iranian lynch mob currently gracing our front pages. There’s enough injustice out there to occupy a dozen Observers. Since there has never been a bad Ob server editor, it doesn’t mean a whole lot to say that Jim Hightower did a fine job, but it still needs to be said. He gave the magazine a new maturity and depth and brought out the best in his expanded stable of writers, of which I was proud to be one. Hightower was a master at marshaling evidence where most of us would rely on gut feelings. Hightower was for family farmers and for the right of farmworkers to unionize, and he could show why those positions are not inconsistent at the drop of a statistic. He was tolerant toward that most despised of Texas’s minorities, Republicans, before the last gubernatorial election \(after which tolerating RepubliI hope the Observer’s next 25 years can maintain the standards of policy analysis set by Hightower without losing the eloquent anger of the first 25 years. The Observer has seen many excellent young writers lose their innocence in its pages. To observe Texas politics from a humanist perspective is to be angry and hurt. And, perhaps, to get burned out. Save these pages for those who can still feel the pain, because even those of us who did not start in the middle class need to be reminded that our policy choices are, as Tom Paxton put it, “moving pawns and bishops made of flesh and blood and bone.” The Observer’s coverage of the 196667 farmworker strike in the Rio Grande Valley, for example, is an invaluable record that could not have been produced by cynicism or professional detachment. Reports on the battle to save the Big Thicket have conic from the pens of writers who love the place, who bleed for every clear-cut .acre. So, by all means, let the Observer give us facts and figures and inside political skinny. But, too, let the Observer remain the voice of the East Texas woodcutter, the Valley farmworker, and the illiterate teenager in Houston’s Fifth Ward. As long as we let hunger, sickness, and ignorance run rampant in Texas, the Observer should record the battles and identify the heroes. Now, as in the last 25 years, the Observer will best serve its high purpose when written by men and women who remember how to bleed and sweat and cry. Steve Russell is a municipal court judge in Austin. Women move to center stage By Ann Richards Austin The 1970s were years of transition for American women. With a sense of discovery and exhilaration born of the 1960s, both women and men began redefining the responsibilities that they owe themselves and each other. Change in the 1970s was a group exercise; we huddled with the like-minded for support. The women’s movement opened a public forum to the concerns and frustrations of women, and active groups focused attention on questions long ignored. Having now graduated from remedial groupings of all kinds, we have in the next decade a chance to excel as individuals. We can emerge from the chorus line to center stage. The changes that transformed us in these past few years had their origin not in politics or social theory, but in economic reality. Inflation and the success of consumer hypes caused women to venture out of the home and into the workforce. If you are widowed, or divorced, or have never been married . . . you get a job. If your husband’s paycheck won’t cover the basic necessities . . . you get a job. If you can’t afford the second car or the Sony or straight teeth for your kids . . . you get a job. Once you have that job, your perspective is altered. The demand for goods expands with every increase in family income, and men who wouldn’t have dreamed of letting their wives work become men who are proud of their wives’ successes in their own careers. As economic necessity created working women and appreciative men, new technology was devised to end the drudgery of routine household chores. If a woman continues to work outside the home, the family can afford that new microwave that turns itself on and off and all but sets the table. Because businesses recognized a growth industry when they saw it, a sizable segment of our economy is now based on the premise of the two-job family and the working mother. The woman who realized, “Wash-and-wear liberated me more than any movement ever did,” also recognizes that the economy, having created the need to work, is delighted to cater to the needs that work produced. In retrospect, it is not surprising that the most significant legal progress for women in the 1970s was in the area of employment discrimination. As changing laws follow economic facts, so do less formal social patterns. The corporate executive who used to boast of his wife, the perfect hostess, now promotes his wife, the successful entrepreneur. The wives of politicians are now expected to have some cause of their own. And of course as this decade has ended, increasingly the corporate executive or the politician is a wife. As both mothers and fathers pursue careers, parents expect their daughters to develop the same independence and self-confidence they expect of their sons. Ivy League prep schools and colleges, those guardians at the doors of the Establishment, now admit young women as well as young men. In every school situation, families demand that their children receive a solid education regard THE TEXAS OBSERVER 17