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Kennedy Texas By Rod Davis San Antonio Everyone knew Kennedy would get clobbered in Texas; the information had been readily dispensed by the media pushers for months. The Texas Monthly /Pseudo-Newspaper of Your Town Poll had been giving Carter anything up to a 5-to-1 edge. Even Reagan would beat Kennedy, according to the seers of the bourgeoisie. Besides all that scientific stuff, newspaper editors and reporters in Texas had dismissed Kennedy as “unviable,” following the lead of the TV networks. Add to that disenchantment the mumblings of state party liberals about Kennedy’s impending disaster in Texas and it seemed the best thing we could all do was cancel the whole damn election and ask for Bob Strauss’ forgiveness. For two days in April none of that mattered. A South Texas sweep by the Kennedy entourage produced the most enthusiastic desperately enthusiastic crowds of the 1980 campaign season and sent a message to journalists and politicians and social observers that unrest at the abandonment of social and economic justice by the federal government since 1968 is widespread, undying and, one day maybe not this year but one day capable of saving the Democratic Party or destroying it. * * * 6 p.m., April 28. El Mercado, San Antonio. Kennedy is due at 7:30 but already the parking lots are filling. Entire families are walking down the open plaza past the statue of Francisco I. Madero toward the main public hall, El Centro de Artes, where the senator will speak. Two Mexican-American men wearing straw farmers’ hats are bargaining with a vendor about Kennedy campaign items. $3 for a straw hat. To many people in Texas this year that is a frivolous expenditure, but the older of the men buys the hat, takes off his own, and smiles like a kid. By 7 p.m. most of the area in front of El Central de Artes is filled with people, mostly Hispanic but also with many blacks and Anglos. Fiesta Week is only just over, and the gaiety of that time lingers. Everyone is happy. What a contrast, observes a reporter who has covered most of the Texas presidential campaign appearances this year, from a Reagan crowd. Not many people get happy when Reagan comes. They get tough-minded. Kennedy is going to have to speak inside the hall instead of outside, on the plaza, because of security. That means the Secret Service thinks there is an unacceptable risk that someone from the buildings of downtown San Antonio or the anonymity of the gathering crush of people -soon to number 7,000 in the streets might try to shoot Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, supporter of civil rights, national health care, a moratorium on nukes, Salt II, the Panama Canal treaty and the sending of innocent children across town in yellow buses to go to school with niggers or meskins. Standing among the people who have come to see Kennedy, premonitions of violence are pushed away by incredible joy. This joy sheer fun is of special importance. It derives from a political event. People have come not to see Linda Ronstadt or Willie Nelson or Johnny Rodriguez but to learn something show support for a political candidate. What an offhand manner of doing so. This could be the best street party of the month, especially after the sun goes down and the temperature is a pleasant 75. The humidity is moderate. Bottle and sell this and you could dance all the way to the White House. This is how it should be. Politics uniting people, giving them enjoyment, fulfillment, a common sense of purpose, a meaningful union this side of heaven. To see it here is to know how much it’s been missed. Inside El Centro de Artes, two mariachi bands are seranading about 1,500 people packed in like volunteer THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11