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oe 4. 40 4 too OR AO ro, 4 vet ,zo , VP or tte , w ……,*: LEFT FIELD Washington, D. C. ne of the Capital City’s most cu rious features is how often an event takes place here that collides two direct cross-purposes: the real-life equivalent of an oxymoron. The U.S. Senate, for instance, often convenes just so that one senator can use procedural arcana to prevent the body from voting; while out in the lobby, myriad mysterious organizations regularly issue press releases specifically timed so as to garner as little media attention as possible. Such a structural contradiction was elaborately in evidence March 2, as the D.C. Chapter of the Texas Exes marked Texas Independence Day. The annual event formally serves as a fundraiser for the endowment of the Barbara Jordan Scholarship Fund. The scholarship allows one student, each year, to attend the LBJ School of Public Affairs a student who shows the potential to follow in Jordan’s sizable footsteps by providing leadership on civil rights issues. But this year, the occasion also served as a forum to honor retiring arch-conservative Congressman Bill Archer \(and to feature unfortunately-not-retiring scheduled keynote speaker, Senator Kay Bailey Mark Franz also announced plans for the University’s Bill Archer Center to be built in Washington, and in theory to serve as a D.C. base for U.T. students working in the Capital. How this transparent boondoggle will actually relate to U.T.’s educational mission remains somewhat speculative, but Left Field is confident it will provide a handy venue for visiting U.T. System administrators on tour for a bout of congressional arm-twisting not to mention after-hours congressional elbow-bending. The Army and Navy Club is already a posh address, just a block from the lobbyists in the legendary power alley of K Street. The Exes assembled in the John Paul Jones Ballroom, a long parquet-floored rectangle bedecked with oil paintings of distinguished naval busts of Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman stood guard outside the doors, once-and-forever Longhorns circulated and schmoozed, grazing on fried crab balls and fresh eggrolls. The drinking was restrained \(cash Lite ready to hand. \(A six-pack of Shiner Bock longnecks sat teasingly nearby, but it was only winsome decor The Club’s lobby directory had misidentified the gathering as “The Texas Executives”; that turned out not so far from the truth. The crowd was dominated by graying white men, hairlines receding and waistlines expanding. Here and there strolled a few ladies with high-dollar ‘dos, and a smattering of dapper youngsters, although the entire crowd soon coalesced into a shimmering blur of Burnt Orange: a vibrating, school-spirited wave of orange ties, orange hats, orange vests, orange scarves, orange handkerchiefs, orange everything. The tables teeming with auction items underscored the local demographics, not to mention the University’s most noteworthy educational distinctions: a mini-basketball signed by Coach Rick Barnes, a football signed by Coach Mack Brown, a hat signed by Coach Emeritus Darrell Royal, a football autographed by every member of the 1999 team. There were U.T.-logo golf balls, U.T. cufflinks, a copy of golf guru Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book, a pass to stand next to “Smokey the Cannon” at next fall’s U.T.A&M football game \(during which the discriminating fan will certainly require some in the dugout for a U.T. baseball game, Christmas lights in the shape of the sacred Longhorn Logo. The list went on, and included at least one obvious nonsporting item: a model jet signed by Texas Congresswoman Kay Granger \(whose Fort Worth district is home to various aircraft factories, which Left Field guesses made the jet politically As the proceedings turned from networking to speechifying, the going got stranger. The sports motif persisted, as Terry Orr, former U.T. and Washington Redskins football star and apparently the only African American \(other than the waitstaff, of the legendary epistle written by Colonel William Travis from inside the besieged Alamo. Loyal Left Fielders should recall this hallowed text: it was most recently employed by Gov ernor Bush to gamely inspire the desperate U.S. Ryder Cup golfers to their heroic comeback as they beat back the impertinent Limeys. Orr was clearly touched by the prose of Travis, a portentous combination of maudlin and machismo. As he came to a close, he added, “This is my favorite part: `p.s.: The Lord is on our side. When the enemy appeared, we had only three bushels of corn, but since then, we have found in nearby deserted houses another seventy or eighty bushels.”‘ On spoke of his reverence for Travis, his admiration for Congressman Archer \(not, so far as Left Field could determine, prebeing invited. Orr never mentioned Barbara Jordan. This apparently anomalous omission quickly became the implicit but unspoken theme of the evening: to attend the event, 175 people had paid between $35 and $1,000 each, a donation clearly identified on the invitation as a contribution to the Barbara Jordan Scholarship Endowment and no one said a single word either about the Endowment, nor about the African-American Congresswoman in whose honor it is named. No one mentioned Barbara Jordan. Not the chapter president when he spoke. Not Terry Orr. Not U.T. Vice Chancellor Franz. Not Bill Archer. Kay Bailey Hutchison was detained by a series of Senate floor roll-call votes, but it is Left Field’s considered and deliberate opinion that had Hutchison made it, she too would have See “Barbara,” page 7 6 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 31, 2000 471t… ,,,e Or1,4 arnE,VIT,