ii IM HIGHTOWER, who was editor of the Observer before attaining statewide office, had planned to speak, but the only evening on which Kennedy could come was the same one on which Hightower had committed himself to be the main speaker at the awards dinner and jamboree of the Southern California Americans for Democratic Action in Los Angeles. The statement Hightower sent for the Yarborough dinner follows. One Long People’s Campaign By Jim Hightower Ralph Yarborough has spent a lifetime mounting underdog campaigns of clear choice, high public purpose, and great heart. Running for Governor in 1952 and 1954 against incumbent Allan Shivers, again for Governor in 1956 against then-U.S. Senator Price Daniel, and for the U.S. Senate in 1957 against Martin Dies, Thad Hutcheson, and 15 others. Yarborough harnessed the passion and energy, hopes and hatreds, money and time of thousands of Texans, and he galvanized a grassroots progressive movement. In those spirited runs, Yarborough and his supporters fully experienced the “Elevator Syndrome” of politics: sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, sometimes you get the shaft. They lost in ’52 and ’54; then they had the election stolen from them in ’57. These were actually one long continuous campaign because politics is a continuous process particularly when the people are involved. Yarborough’s was a people’s campaign. It was about people with passion getting involved, caring very much about what happened, and carrying that over from one battle to the next. It was about a candidate who said the role of government was to “put the jam on the lower shelves where everybody could reach it.” That’s where I come from. I worked on Senator Yarborough’s staff. Garry Mauro worked on his staff. Ann Richards was Dallas coordinator for Yarborough campaigns. Jim Mattox worked in Dallas on Yarborough campaigns. The Yarborough campaign provided the constant thread that works thorough the progressive element in our state. That is what our politics has got to be about: a continuous building process. And we’ve got to be aware of the history of that process because that is what moves us into the future. MOLLY IVINS, the emcee and another former Observer editor, said in welcome: “There are heroes among us; I am sure you have noticed that we have wall-to-wall freedom-fighters in this room tonight. This group has to be among the purest of the pure. It must be the only group of Democrats sitting in America where if Lloyd Bentsen walked in he’d get hissed. The truest of the true, the bravest of the brave, and the rest of you are just here out of pure persistence.” Ivins introduced, at the double head table, apart from those who spoke, State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos of Austin; Rep. Dan Morales of San Antonio; Federal Judges Woodrow Seals of Houston and D.W. Suttle of San Antonio; Texas Supreme Court Justices Lloyd Doggett, Oscar Mauzy, and Franklin Spears; Judge Sam Houston Clinton of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals; Jocelyn Gray of Austin; former State Senator Babe Schwartz of Galveston; former Houston Congressman Bob Eckhardt; Chris Dixie of Houston; Maury Maverick of San Antonio; and in many cases, these persons’ spouses. Also present were three other members of the Texas Supreme Court, C.L. Ray, Jack Hightower, and Raul Gonzalez; Bob Slagle, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party; and other officials. Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby attended one of the receptions before the dinner, then returned to the Capitol and his work as the regular session of the legislature neared its conclusion. Dave Denison, Observer editor, welcomed everyone for the paper and said, in part: “You are people by and large who believe that hope is a risk that must be run. The country may well be going down the drain, as it seems so many times to most of us, but for godsakes, don’t save your energy. There is something that you can do about it, and I think Ralph Yarborough has shown that as well as anyone, and I know the Observer has tried to, and I think that is why we are here tonight.” What He Has Done By Ronnie Dugger I am Ronnie Dugger. Molly Ivins was saying that there are so many heroes here from the liberal movement there is no way to call them all. I look out and I see Martin Elfant and I see Mary and Gould Beech, Ralph Yarborough stalwarts. Everywhere I see I see Creekmore Fath and Adele back there who were at the heart of the Yarborough effort for many years and Jean Lee and there is no way to call all the names and Molly says we can’t. It is an incalculable honor to the Texas Observer that we have been permitted to sponsor this program with, as Billy Porterfield said, two of the best Senators who ever served. We are very sensible of this. Honored we are to honor Ralph Yarborough. Honored we are that Edward Kennedy honors Yarborough with us. My subject is what Yarborough has done, but I want soberly to thank Senator Kennedy for being here. I was for John Kennedy for President, Bob Kennedy for President, and Ted Kennedy for President. Although he ought to be, Senator Kennedy is not President yet, but his time will come again. For right now, he’s the most effective force for social justice, embodied in a single person, in the United States. This this is a celebration, a celebration of the future of the progressive movement based on the known past. This is our family, our clan. For the old war horses here, Otto Mullinax said to me on the phone the other day, this will probably be the last time we’re all together. That may be true. We are here to feast on the good we draw from our elders in our movement and to plan with them the feast of the good future. My wife Pat Dugger of New York City is with us. I would like to present her with great pride to you, and I would like to present to her with great pride you who are the best of Texas. . I thank intensively on behalf of the Observer community Cliff Olofson, Bill Simmons, and Stefan Wanstrom and their co-workers for a fantastic job of bringing our clan together tonight. They worked day and night in our tatterdemalion storefront office two blocks from Congress Avenue. And I thank you each of you for being here to the Observer’s benefit. I thank Barney Rapoport, the chairman of this event tonight, for his steady and financially decisive support for the Observer for the past 35 years. His passion, real passion, for social justice underlies and explains everything he does, except that Audre explains even more of it, and Audre is here with us at his side as she always is, and we are grateful she is. Once Senator Yarborough said to me that if you want to do anything with your life you have to take risks. That is the essence of the law of action, in any field. When you get through weighing all the contradictory imports of opposing considerations, there it is up ahead of you, the yes or the no, and if in politics it’s yes you commit yourself and your meaning to the strong and violent currents of events. Senator Yarborough risked himself again and again and again. The people won when he won, but they won when he lost, too, because every defeat of the good causes of the people deepens our suffering and our struggle side by side to bring into being a just and kindly world. Even tonight, even tomorrow, Yarborough is taking risks. It has taken me a long time to admit it to myself, but I have come to believe that democracy cannot and will not work well without strong leaders. I began to believe this when Anwar Sadat took his life in his hands and flew to the Knesset, knowing that 8 JULY 14, 1989
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