Page 20


in Mexico, joint U.S.-Mexico programs to reduce unemploypolitical intellectuals should go forward to their local politicians with new ideas about how we relate to our neighbor. And what about the Reagan war in Nicaragua? The exclusion of political refugees fleeing El Salvador and Haiti? City councils in Texas are well situated to take meaningful part in the public debates on such matters. Other realms for local foreign policy leap out at you, once you think about it. Consider this headline in the Seattle Times for Oct. 3, 1985: City Councils Taking on Nation, World.” The council in Redmond, Washington, is debating investment in South Africa. Seattle voters passed an initiative in 1983 that set up a Central America Commission which in turn recommended that Seattle seek to have a sister city in Nicaragua. Eighty-seven communities in the U.S. have voted to declare nuclear-free zones. With the federal government in the hands of the rightwingers, progressive citizens should not just give up the fight on foreign policy. What better place than the city council of Amarillo to confront the wickedness of endlessly manufacturing more nuclear weapons? The city council of San Antonio, to challenge the one-party cynicisms of the ruling circles of Mexico? The city council of Houston, to challenge Reagan’s drive for new chemical weapons? The city council of Austin, to challenge high-tech Star Wars? President Reagan has now turned his “New Federalism” into a mockery of states’ rights, but Texas is so far from the vanguard among the states, we don’t even know what won’t hit us. IX STATES California, Alaska, Montana, New Hampshire, Idaho, and North Dakota tax the earnings of multinational corporations not only within their territories, but also overseas. This is the “world-wide Unitary tax,” which must strike most of the members of the provincial, anti-populist Texas legislature as communistic, or even terroristic. The President, champion of government close to home, sworn foe of federal power, has endorsed legislation to prohibit states from having the unitary tax. His cover story is that Great Britain doesn’t like it and has threatened to retaliate by denying tax benefits to subsidiaries of U.S. companies in Britain. Nobody is fooled who knows the President’s real \(as -‘rights of the states and the interests of the multinational corporations. Reagan is for the corporations. Twenty-six other states tax the dividends received by U.S.based multinational corporations from foreign subsidiaries and affiliates. President Reagan has authorized his administration to seek to prohibit the states from doing this, too. “If the federal government is to be permitted to dictate state policy on the unitary tax,” asked Sen. Max Baucus \(D.changes in other state taxes?” The head of the Multistate Tax Commission, Kent Conrad, told the Wall Street Journal: “Apparently the President’s ‘New Federalism’ is just rhetoric. They’ve gone back on everything they’ve told us.” The President has been hiding out on this issue for some time probably he is still smarting from the failure of his attempt to repeal the federal law against U.S. corporate bribery abroad. But now that he has once again gone the limit for the multinationals, perhaps Texas will wake up to the issue . of the unitary tax. Let’s hear it from, say, Comptroller Bob Bullock, or Agriculture Cmsr. Jim Hightower. “No Play” and Fair Play IAM coming to the end of a three-month retreat here in Cassis, a little fishing port town on the Mediterranean a few miles east of Marseilles. If one needs proof of the internationalization of everything, it appeared here one morning on the front page of the International Herald Tribune. “New School Law Sacks Texas Football Teams,” the story \(by David Maraniss in the proclaimed. Here in this little village, as the local people had their coffee and croissants at the open-air cafes that surround the port, the face of Governor Mark White of Texas stared out from the paper’s front page. The new school law requiring students to pass all their courses in order to participate in extracurricular activities makes good copy of the kind we in the journalism trade call “features.” Some football teams are shut down; dozens of schools cancel the balance of their schedules; bands, debate teams, and 4-H clubs lose participants; lawsuits are filed; coaches complain plaintively. Above all, the new law was a billionaire’s idea what a story! But those who care about education should not permit the law’s devastation of some extracurricular programs to generate pressure to repeal it. What those devastations mean is that the public schools in question have let football, basketball, band, and other whatnots usurp the primary business of the schools, the education of the students. To whatever extent this is the case, a school has submitted to its own debasement. activities have some educational value. Some kids who wouldn’t like school without its organized play do like it because of the play. And so on. But football especially and competitive school sports generally have become special interests that very often debase the even application of academic standards to all the students in school. Who really suffers from this? First, the athleticallygifted students who are skidded through their education on greased slides; then, the whole student body, who must draw their conclusions from the obvious favoritism. Whether this debasement originated in the early schools and then spread to the colleges and universities, or vice versa, may be neither here nor there, but obviously higher education has become even more compromised than the high schools. As Harry Edwards, a sports sociologist at the University of California at Berkeley, said recently, the colleges are neglecting the education of their athletes: “I’ve known athletes . . . who are functional illiterates and have been here for four years. . . . If this is going on at Berkeley, which is supposed to have such integrity, imagine what’s going on at the jockfactory schools.” Imagine, indeed. We know what’s going on. Maintaining adequate academic standards, and applying these standards without favoritism in the cause of winning football games or band contests, seems at first blush to be a somewhat goody-goody and a nonpolitical cause, but public education is the foremost institution in the formation of the citizenry. \(Or if television now is, education is its only serious The open favoritism for athletes teaches every new generation three lessons. One, you cannot count on fair play, even in the public schools. Two, what matters is not how you play the game, but whether you win it. Three, the society values winning more than becoming well educated. The values thereby transmitted to every generation are macho aggression, physical combat for victory. Darrell Royal, the great University of Texas football coach, knew well and THE TEXAS OBSERVER 5