Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Column 1: Out of the Political Closet
By Ed Gurowitz

I’ve lived in Incline for just over nine years now, and not long after I moved here, the Wall Street Journal published an article on Incline labeling it “Income Village,” and focusing on the part of the population that is wealthy, retired, and conservative, and that has been the accepted wisdom about our Village as long as I have been here and, I suspect for some time before that.

Part of this wisdom is that everyone here is Republican and conservative. The fact is, I’ve met an awful lot of Democrats in the past nine years, and when we recognize each other it’s kind of like we share a secret. For a community of wealthy, retired Republicans, there seem to be an awful lot of middle-class, working Democrats here, and this column is intended, in part, to give them a voice beyond the occasional letter to the editor or party caucus.

Jim Clark, whom I count as a friend and with whom I work closely on local issues including serving on the Independent Incline Committee which he chairs, does a pretty good job, in my view of presenting Republican/conservative views in his weekly column, so I asked the Bonanza for the opportunity to write a balancing column – this column will appear most Wednesdays, as Jim’s appears most Fridays.

I don’t intend to have this column be a “point/counterpoint” to Jim’s, although I imagine I will sometimes respond to Jim and vice versa. Rather, I will comment on local and national issues as well as occasionally waxing philosophical as is my wont. Given that you, the Bonanza reader, are the audience for this column, I think it’s only fair to tell you a bit about my views and biases:

I’m 61 years old, a lifelong Democrat, and unashamedly a Liberal In my life I have been liberal, radical, and even flirted with conservatism (though I found the relationship unsatisfying, to say the least). Winston Churchill said that anyone who is not a liberal in their twenties has no heart and anyone who is not a conservative in their forties has no brain. I would add to this that anyone who remains doctrinaire on either side into their sixties has no real ability to think for themselves.

So I consider myself a liberal in the JFK tradition:
What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label "Liberal?" If by "Liberal" they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer's dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of "Liberal." But if by a "Liberal" they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people -- their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties -- someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a "Liberal," then I'm proud to say I'm a "Liberal."
Sen. John F. Kennedy, acceptance of the New York Liberal Party Nomination, September 14, 1960

This column will reflect that stand. I have no doubt that it will engender controversy and even acrimony, as does Jim’s column, and I welcome the controversy in the spirit of honest debate and reasonable people disagreeing reasonably. The acrimony I will probably ignore. I also welcome suggestions of topics to address and points to consider.

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