The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 172
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Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly
picture was wholly different from what it would become less than thirty
years later. The cultural atmosphere of the United States has changed
so much that many of us, even those who lived it, scarcely accept what
we saw, heard, or said in that not-too-distant but remote past.
I happened to be part of the Dallas drama of 1963. Early in the year I
had been made editorial page editor of the Dallas Times Herald and,
swinging it around from right to center, was quickly categorized by cer-
tain citizens as a "left-leaning, egghead liberal." The John Birch Society
sent an investigator to explore my background but the society was con-
fused and sent the investigator to the wrong town: I had come from
Abilene and the society sent their investigator to Amarillo. Nonethe-
less, it was reported that I was "an Eastern Ivy League Jew," sent to
Texas to sow seeds of left-wing dissent. Although the Times Herald's
executive editor had been polite, he said he got a big kick out of telling
the Birch delegation that called on him (they were trying to get my job,
of course) that I was a native of Abilene, Texas, had graduated from
Abilene Christian College, and was a member of, and at the time was
teaching Sunday school at, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church.
This package of recollection is offered, not in support of my own im-
portance (no editorial writer is really important) but to retrieve some of
the atmosphere in which some of us operated in Dallas. Things were
unusual, but weren't nearly as bad as European, New York and (later)
Austin writers have since made them seem. Dallas was never the city of
Far Right hatred as the city was painted for a decade or so after the
assassination. But the Far Right was loud and aggressive, and while it
never achieved any real power in municipal affairs, it kept people like
bankers and publishers skittish, and both Dallas newspapers received
dozens of rabid communiques each week, warning "they're only ninety
miles away!" and alarms that there were "30,000 uniformed Chinese
Red Troops in Baja, [szc] Calif." The Dallas mayors and the city council
members of the period never sided with the Far Right by hint or deed.
Evidence that the right wing wasn't a political force can be found in the
fact that no municipal campaign in Dallas at any time featured a candi-
date who espoused such popular right-wing causes as separation of the
races, impeachment of Earl Warren, getting the U.S. out of the U.N.,
supporting your local police, fear of the Red Invasion (a most popular
alarm topic among my "Letters to the Editor" people), or other nutty
proposals flooding Dallas and the nation.
H. L. Hunt, whom many writers tried to picture as the mastermind
behind all kinds of political plots in Dallas, was even less of a local force
than the lowliest sign carrier for the Far Right. Hunt was held to be
more of an eccentric than a menace. I once told writer Robert Sherill
that H. L. Hunt would be the most dangerous man in America if he
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/196/: accessed March 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.