The Fourth of July will never be the same again. For the rest of our lives this generation will remember the exuberance and freshness of a 1976 celebration which surpassed anything we anticipated. For one shining moment, cynicism was banished from the land.

No Dallasite should ever again make a derogatory remark about Eastern cities. Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington demonstrated a spirit and vitality in their Bicentennial festivities that showed up Dallas’ for the meager, threadbare, elitist fizzle that it was. When CBS tuned in to the program at Old City Park, I prayed Walter Cronkite would be kind enough to switch back to those old decadent Eastern cities and spare us the embarrassment of national attention. Naturally most Dallasites didn’t witness this, having the good sense to head for the country and enjoy the real things the Fourth is all about: beer and barbeque and children with sparklers.

The entire nation has lousy political judgement except for R. W. Apple of the New York Times. Apple was the only commentator in America to agree with me that Reagan’s selection of Schweiker was a brilliant stroke. Unfortunately, no uncommitted delegates called to ask my opinion, and apparently none read the Times to get Apple’s. Maybe next year, R.W.

The DISD deserves accolades for its preparation for school desegregation this fall. Although I’m one of those people who wishes we had a school superintendent more concerned with education than with polishing his own name plate, I also believe in giving credit where credit is due. With only $150,000 (businessmen’s money, not taxpayers’) and a four-month deadline, the school district has performed a small miracle in publicizing magnet schools and preparing parents for desegregation. Busing is an evil which must be eradicated. Until it is, our first priority must be the preservation of our city, and that depends heavily on citizens’ perceptions of their school district. It’s a tough job, and administrators and citizen volunteers who’ve tackled it deserve our thanks.

Robert Folsom will be one of this city’s most successful mayors. People are funny. For years all I’ve heard are complaints about the city’s lack of leadership. Now we have a strong mayor who’s slowly tightening his grip on the tiller, and people are beginning to complain that he’s too tough. A few weeks ago one city councilman griped to me that Folsom is “squeezing people out of the process.” I don’t know what that means, but I suspect it has something to do with Folsom’s penchant for getting things done, and I think I like it.

Willie Cothrum would be better off if he kept his mouth shut. His first questions about Henry Moore’s proposed sculpture at new City Hall made some sense. But the resulting furor has drawn him irresistibly to the brink of stupidity. (Controversies draw politicians like moths to the flame.) He ended one recent defense of himself, in the Herald, with a bromide more revealing than convincing: “The personal taste of no one individual or group is more important than another’s.” Surely this is equality carried to the point of absurdity, dragged down to its lowest level, where taste (and, ultimately, everything else) is measured by the lowest common denominator. Bad defense, Willie.

Cheap weddings are to be preferred over expensive ones. This is a lesson I picked up the hard way, by getting married. This prejudice will be passed on to my daughters, should Kathy and I be blessed with them. From their first moment on their father’s knee, they will be taught the benefits of elopement.

Thanksgiving Square should be dedicated to Dr. Willis Carrier. Dr. Carrier is the acknowledged father of the air conditioning industry. After a summer like this, can you think of anyone on earth more worthy of our worship?


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