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A JOURNAL OF FREE VOICES We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of human-kind as the foundation of democracy: we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerful or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them, because this is a journal of free voices. SINCE 1954 Founding Editor: Ronnie Dugger Publisher: Geoff Rips Editor: Louis Dubose Associate Editor: Michael King Production: Harrison Saunders Editorial Interns: Todd Basch, Amanda Toering Contributing Writers: Bill Adler, Barbara Belejack, Betty Brink, Warren Burnett, Brett Campbell, Peter Cassidy, Jo Clifton, Carol Countryman, Terry FitzPatrick, Richard L. Fricker, James Harrington, Bill Helmer, Jim Hightower, Ellen Hosmer, Molly Ivins, Steven Kellman, Deborah Lutterbeck, Tom McClellan, Bryce Milligan, Debbie Nathan, Brad Tyer, James McCarty Yeager. Editorial Advisory Board: David Anderson, Austin; Frances Barton, Austin; Elroy Bode, El Paso; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Dave Denison, Cambridge, Mass; Bob Eckhardt, Austin; Sissy Farenthold, Houston; Ruperto Garcia, Austin; John Kenneth Galbraith, Cambridge, Mass.; Lawrence Goodwyn, Durham, N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, Ill.; Molly Ivins, Austin; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick, Jr., San Antonio; Willie Morris, Jackson, Miss.; Kaye Northcott, Fort Worth; James Presley, Texarkana; Schwartz, Galveston; Fred Schmidt, Fredericksburg. Poetry Editor: Naomi Shihab Nye Poetry Consultant: Thomas B. Whitbread Contributing Photographers: Bill Albrecht, Vic Hinterlang, Alan Pogue. Contributing Artists: Michael Alexander, Eric Avery, Tom Ballenger, Richard Bartholomew, Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Valerie Fowler, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Michael Krone, Carlos Lowry, Gary Oliver, Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau, Gail Woods, Matt Wuerker. Business Manager: Cliff Olofson Subscription and Office Manager: Douglas Falls Development Consultant: Frances Barton SUBSCRIPTIONS: One year $32, two years $59, three years $84. Full-time students $18 per year. Back issues $3 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Any current subscriber who finds the price a burden should say so at renewal time; no one need forgo reading the Observer simply because of the cost. INDEXES: The Texas Observer is indexed in Access: The Supplementary Index to Periodicals; Texas Index and, for the years 1954 through 1981.77w Texas Observer Index. copyrighted, 1995, is published biweekly except for a three-week interval 477-0746. E-mail: [email protected], Second-class postage paid at Austin, Texas. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to THE TEXAS OBSERVER, 307 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701. If Not Democrats, Then…? I’m 61 years old now, and it’s as much a mistake for me to read Ronnie Dugger now as it was in 1956. I read Dugger’s arwadded up my Observer and, screaming obscenities, threw it against the wall. No, it isn’t my belief that Dugger is wrong which moves me to curses and violence. It is my knowledgearrived at grudgingly, with my heels dug in, as it werethat Dugger is right…God help us all, because my Democratic Party ain’t going to. Shades of 1954! The only thing that’s really changed, politically speaking, is the ever-deepening entrenchment of corporate America. And even Dwight D. Eisenhower could probably have defined integrity without choking. Maybe. As all Observer readers must know, it was never easy to be a liberal in Texas. But for me, a former football coach, now a cattleman who argued against NAFTA and currently suffers from its effects \(imported That’s not a complaint, merely an observation. Once more, “the center won’t hold.” I feel myself dissipating and the deep core of my beliefs again exposed and put to the testjust like the fifties. But I’m no longer young, nor strong, nor resilient; and there ain’t no more young Democrats. Just Yuppies. And younger kids with rings in their noses and ears, baggy shorts about to fall off their asses, and T-shirts that say things like: IF IT’S GOT TIRES OR TITS IT’S TROUBLE. God I’m tired. In Jefferson County, Texas, we got a Republican congressman and state senator. They beat Jack Brooks and Carl Parker, and radio in Beaumont sports Rush Limbaugh \(eighteen million listeners nationcalls himself the “The Black Avenger” and says he ain’t no African-American but a black. The OCAW and all the local trade unions are whipped down, depleted to near non-existence, and about half their membership won’t register to vote because they “don’t want to be on jury duty.” Half of those who do register don’t vote at all, and half of those who do voteguess what vote Republican. Why? “They gonna take my guns away. The gummint’s gonna do me like they done in Waco. They’s a conspiracy \(especially in When they get $5,000 ahead and own a bass boat, they are quite certain they’re capitalists. Oh there’s a populist movement afoot in Jefferson County all right, and its basic tenets are those of fear of government and hatred of anyone who’s the slightest bit different in color or philosophy. \(Vote for school prayer, where our kids can learn to turn the other cheek. If you disagree, we’ll And even though most local city governments and school districts are seriously near bankruptcy; even though local refineries and chemical plantsChevron/Clark, Mobil, Texaco, Star Enterprise, Fina and othershave received billions in tax breaks; even though taxes on all our homes have been raised three times to help make up the difference; and even though all those companies are now actually complaining about current evaluations, most locals I talk to are in favor of tax abatements for multi-national corporations. “We need the jobs,” they say. But virtually nobody in the county knows how many jobs have been “created” by tax abatements, and po pro-abatement officials want to discuss the twelve to twenty thousand jobs lost here through layoffs by those very corporations. Is this why we struggled for forty years, Ronnie? To end up here? And if I can’t vote for a Democrat, what then? Neal Morgan Beaumont You and Tower Ain’t it just like the Texas Observer of old the one that gave us that great Republican U.S. Senator John Tower in 1961? You remember, you told us to vote for Tower so we could get rid of him in 1966. Senator Tower served 23 years as a reminder of the wisdom of your journal. Congressman Jim Chapman is birthing, sponsoring, funding, pushing and mothering an environmental project in the Piney and protect old Caddo Lake from being destroyed by pollution. Chapman challenged the local residents to work out an eighteen-point plan to study, clean up, and protect Caddo Lake while educating the local population about Continued on p. 20 DIALOGUE 2 SEPTEMBER 1, 1995