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:00.0.,A0W ALAN POGUE his life was less important than history, and therefore changing history somewhat. But this reluctant belief in the necessity for leadership has become a conviction because of Mikhail Gorbachev. He has risked not only his life and career, but his nation, by acting again and again to try to change what is rotten in communism and to lead the world back from nuclear death. Meanwhile, our politics have become fraud and corruption, consultants who know nothing but polls and the manipulation of hates and fears, images that are lies. As ever, but more than ever before, the amateurs, the citizens, the people, do the only thing they can do. They look for, they find, they make, and they follow a leader. The leader of a people’s movement is not the movement, the people are the movement, but finally without a leader they rightly trust they cannot consummate their purposes. Yarborough has been a leader of the people in Texas because he understood these things, felt he could lead us, and led us, and because he has been true. He licked the treacherous I want to invent a word corporatecrat, Allan Shivers. He took on the bedsheeters in East Texas. He beat the state’s righters, the Washington haters. He called down the Texas Rangers. He was for Adlai Stevenson, he was for John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy, Edward M. Kennedy. He fights for unions in a nonunion state. He is for the poor people and the ordinary middle-class people, and he doesn’t care what color they are. What he asks himself is, “What have I put in their pockets?” This is a leader. Yarborough does not want to be appreciated for his personal qualities; he wants the credit he has earned. Well, these are the things that he has done. He championed the early groundbreaking bills for federal aid to education, then the first breakthrough in federal aid to the universities, and then the general breakthrough law for all of education in 1966. He was always for public utilities power. When only eleven Senators filibustered against the giveaway of the government’s communications satellite, he was one of them. It is clear in historical perspective that Yarborough’s support for the civil rights laws of the late ’50s and early ’60s both narrowed his fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson’s compromising room and stimulated Johnson toward becoming what he did become, the greatest civil rights leader since Abraham Lincoln. Yarborough in 1966 was floor manager for the most far-reaching minimum wage bill since the New Deal, and it became law, raising the pitiful wages of tens of millions of people, and for the first time the law extended the minimum wage to farmworkers. In 1965 Texas farmers had commissioned and paid for a portrait of Yarborough. That affection for him ended among a number of them in 1966. To many of them Senator Kennedy at the podium he had raised their costs; as he saw it he had put money in the pockets of the hardworking poor. The war on poverty, consumer protections, progressive taxation, food for peace, the Alliance for Progress, the nuclear .test ban and nonproliferation treaties, the Peace Corps he was there fighting alongside his fellow progressives, including the Kennedy brothers. His Cold War GI bill qualified veterans by the millions for scholarships and other educational benefits. Never, never, for Yarborough the spreading contemporary stupidity of disvaluing a citizen having a language in addition to English his federal funding for bilingual education probably did more to liberate the culturally handicapped lives of young Mexican-Americans than any of the laws of the modern era. In the Senate he advocated the more adequate funding of public libraries with a ferocity that many members reserved for electronic warfare plans. He fought Medicare into law with his fellow senators, and he was fighting, as Ted Kennedy has fought, for national health insurance. Yarborough made by law 74 miles of Padre Island into the Padre Island National Seashore, which now millions of us take THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9