Page 14


At the crossroads By Sarah T. Hughes Dallas In the past 25 years the Observer has been a ray of hope in the increasing conservatism of Texas. Always it has been on the side of liberalism supporting liberal causes and liberal candidates. Always it has considered the welfare of the state and its people. In the next 25 years it is my hope that the Observer will continue as it has in the past. It must determine first where it wants to go. This may not be easythere is so much to be donein the world, the nation, and the state. On which will the Observer concentrate? That is your first task and though difficult, it should be done. Next the Observer must have determination, determination to carry out its goal despite the growing conservatism in this state as well as the nation. To pursue its goal will likewise require courage. There will be much criticism of what the Observer is doing, but cowardice is not the choice of a leader and a leader is what the Observer has always been. It must fight for the goal it has set. Don’t wait for others to take the lead. And finally, the Observer must have a desire to contribute to the common good. There is much selfishness everywhere, looking out for self, not others. The Observer has always been concerned with the poor, minorities, and the uneducated. It must continue in the future as in the pasta leader in liberalism. Sarah T. Hughes is a senior federal judge in Dallas. `A minister of irritance’ By Bernard Rapoport Waco What I like best about The Texas Observer is that it is the most unpolluted institution in Texas. John Dewey once mentioned that one of his favorite quotations was “Every government needs a minister of irritance.” The Texas Observer has fulfilled that need for many years in Texas, and what I hope is that it will continue to do so_ in the years to come. As one who has been deeply involved with the paper, I love it because I can’t tell anybody on the Observer what to do or say. This makes me know positively that no one else can. That’s why I am so supportive and shall continue to be in the future. I think in many ways the Observer is more perceptive about the true feelings of Texans than most politicians and certainly most newspapers. We are not a conservative, myopic people. There is a certain indigenous commitment to independence that could be intelligently channeled with the proper leadership. The elimination of the small farmer and the small businessman in our state, an appalling sight, will erode this wonderful spirit of independence. If I had to select the thing I like best about the Observer, it is its ability to point out corruption and smile, and to witness the tremendous accumulation of power in fewer and fewer hands and tremble. The Observer knows that it is easier to ferret out corruption than to contain power. You can recover from the former, but the latter portends the extinction of a free society. I hope that the Observer will continue to lash out at the power grabs that make us less and less free. Yes, I hope that is what its primary thrust will be in the years to come. Bernard Rapoport of Waco, president of American Income Life Insurance Company, has been chief fundraiser for most of the significant statewide liberal political campaigns since the 1950s, including those of Ralph Yarborough. He is now undertaking the same role for the Kennedy campaign in Texas. together on the small earth. But I know from experience that trying, even sporadically, to branch out into national and international journalism without enough funded structure is a foredoomed enterprise. If we are morally serious, we must also be practical: for the Observer to become one of the few meaningful national periodicals we would have to think of more money. The Progressive, one of my three models for making the Observer more, arose out of the Wisconsin Progressive movement, the La Follette movement, just as the Observer arose out of the Texas progressive movement, which we could call the Yarborough movement. Discussing the Observer’s future with Erwin Knoll, the current editor of the Progressive \(and one of only four editors him that I would like to see the Observer become a publication like the Progressive, participating in the national dialogue from the Southwest as the Progressive does from the Midwest. Erwin exclaimed that he would welcome us with open arms, he and his colleagues would completely open their books to us and do everything they can to help make such a change. Their annual budget is $500,000, about four times ours. My second model is the Nation, the admirable centenarian of progressive causes published in New York City. \(Once, without even thinking, I would have added the New Republic, but the trouble that has befallen the New Republic can be represented, as well as by any other thing, by its editor’s unconsciona light-paper weekly, The Manchester Guardian/Washington Post1Le and on discussions with my peers. Like the Observer, Le Monde trusts its writers and expects their opinions to grow out of their mastery of the facts and to make sense with those facts; unlike the Observer, Le Monde takes the world for its range. With the necessary mix of idealism, desperation about Armageddon, trepidation, and realism, I wonder if we could envision not just a new great national journal emanating from the Southwest, but also a newspaper, such as Le Monde is in Paris. Growing along with these reflections has been an idea I have which is symbolized, in my papers, as “CIJ,” the Cooperative of Independent Journalists. Simply because most American journalism is commercial, most journalists are enmeshed in the commercial press. Why cannot we form a nonprofit cooperative of independent journalists? To such a cooperative we could send, as to its news service, whatever of our important work we could not get published mercial press. The CIJ could be the non-commercial AP, the journalists’ own UPI, and a new Observer could be a center from which to organize it. I have been working along on this idea with a former Observer editor. We will see. I would not undertake the substantial expansion of the Observer without adequate capital. Also, I would want us ble and revelatory slur that the Nation continues to be “a magazine of the old Nation’s annual budget is about $1.1 million. My third model is Le Monde, my knowledge of which is based on my reading the English-language international THE TEXAS OBSERVER 57