Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Real Maverick Family Shuns McCain

The current descendants of the Maverick family of Texas say Sen. John McCain may be many things, but he is no Maverick.

The word was coined in honor of Samuel Augustus Maverick, who was a heroic figure in Texas history and who allegedly did not brand the cattle he owned, allowing them to roam at will (whether from disinterest in ranching or as a method of claiming all cattle without brands were his is a matter of some debate).

And the Maverick family have been Democrats throughout U.S. history, and today's descendants are quoted in the press shaming the McCain for President campaign and his self-declaration of being a "maverick":

I’m outraged McCain could claim to be not running with the herd,” Robin Lloyd says. “He has voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time.”

Chris Lloyd, a retired publisher, agrees. “I’ve watched with increasing dismay as they appropriate ‘maverick.’ It’s offensive to me. That word only applies to people who break the mold or stand out from the crowd.”

"The Lloyd siblings’ perspective might seem tame compared with that of Bebe Fenstermaker, a second cousin who lives with her two sisters on the original Maverick ranch 25 miles northwest of San Antonio. She tends “old-time Texas longhorns,” some of them with bloodlines that reach back to the pioneering bovines.

“They’re not mavericks,” Fenstermaker says of the McCain-Palin ticket. “They’re Republicans. They’re already branded. They’re all robbers and rustlers.”

Another family member echoes the sentiment:

What has McCain done to call himself maverick? I want to know why he calls himself a maverick," Mrs. Maverick asked. "Because he talks to Democrats? In that case, everyone's a maverick."

And it doesn't stop at McCain. His partner on the "Maverick Squared" ticket gets the same treatment from the family. In fact, Mrs. Maverick was ready with a knock-knock joke:
Knock, knock?
Who's there?
Sarah Palin.
Sarah Palin who?
Exactly. "

The NYTimes story about the unhappy Maverick family is here. Their reports notes:

Sam Maverick’s grandson, Fontaine Maury Maverick, was a two-term congressman and a mayor of San Antonio who lost his mayoral re-election bid when conservatives labeled him a Communist. He served in the Roosevelt administration on the Smaller War Plants Corporation and is best known for another coinage. He came up with the term “gobbledygook” in frustration at the convoluted language of bureaucrats.

This Maverick’s son, Maury Jr., was a firebrand civil libertarian and lawyer who defended draft resisters, atheists and others scorned by society. He served in the Texas Legislature during the McCarthy era and wrote fiery columns for The San Antonio Express-News. His final column, published on Feb. 2, 2003, just after he died at 82, was an attack on the coming war in Iraq.

Terrellita Maverick, sister of Maury Jr., is a member emeritus of the board of the San Antonio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas."

The story of the Maverick family - from the arrival in the U.S. to their role in politics for generations is truly fascinating. And it seems not only the Maverick family, but much of Texas is mighty upset with how their legend has become misused:

As a Texan, I have to admit that it makes my blood boil to see the term “Original Maverick” so misused and abused in the current political season."

More Texas reaction here, and here.

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