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ALAN POGUE Cause and never, never surrender can eventually overcome all odds. These illusions have been written into the scripts of at least half the films to come out of Hollywood \(which has shaped our political for believing them if it weren’t that occasionally an underdog politician does in fact come along who is such a relentless fighter for just we pitched in with the same wild commitment, make Illusion No. 1 a reality. Henry Gonzalez is that kind of politician -“an unreconstructed fighting liberal,” he once confessed, who clespised “dead and pickled conservatives” and “tired liberals” and his career as a fighter would make a great flick. Consider some of the actual episodes that could be written into it: He punches the lights out of a much younger man for calling him a commie. He is the only member of Congress who actually tries to get his cowardly colleagues to impeach Ronald Reagan. As chairman of the House Banking Committee he fights the attack that anyone can remember. Flash back to Gonzalez’s dramatically underdog campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1961 and for the governorship in 1958 \(during both of goes, driving that damned dusty dented station wagon, crammed to the gunwales with leaflet’s and posters, on wild swings around the state. Sometimes he’s at the wheel; sometimes he sleeps in the back while a volunteer drives through the night, hoping to be in time for the candidate to talk to a dozen supporters at breakfast in some tired small town, still 300 miles away. Flash farther back, to Gonzalez’s fabulous 20-hours-plus filibUsters against segregation bills in the Texas Senate. There he is in his special white shoes, his filibuster shoes, ready for battle: The \(as suit and buttoned-up vest, resting his thumbs in the vest’s pockets, pacing and reading, pacing and talking,” angry and eloquent. Though sick and sweating from a fever, hoarse and croaking, he keeps talking, quoting Churchill, quoting Whitman, quoting Lincoln, quoting Horace and Herodotus, on through the day and through the night, swearing to fight every one of the segregationist bills “to the last ditch every one of ’em.” Today, when black mayors head some of our largest cities and the ill health of black athletes is mourned by rednecks, it may be hard to imagine what it took for a member to stand in the Texas Senate of 1957 and ask, “What about the Negro? What about him? Who speaks for him? Are we not the duly elected representatives of all, including the Negro, who pays his taxes, who bears arms in defense of the nation, who does so extensively and honorably? Is our memory so short we forget he fought in the battle of Anzio, the battle of the Bulge, the seas of the Pacific, the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, Saipan, Iwo Jima? As I speak now he is in all the outposts of the world, representing the name of America… “I ask you, oh I ask you, how can you say that these people are good citizens in time of war, but not in time of peace?” On the other hand Gonzalez being the way he is maybe it didn’t take what the rest of us would call courage to make the speech. And even if it did, he’s not the man to expect credit. As he once told an anti-poll tax rally: “Since when in America do we call a man a hero because he does his simple duty? Have we come to that? My friends, if we have we sure are in a hell of a mess.” And because there are so few like him, that’s what we are. Sherrill reported on Gonzalez for the Texas Observer and later as a freelance writer. He lives in Tallahassee, Fla. DEV O’NEILL, K. JEWELL 10 DECEMBER 13, 1991 r