Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Leslie Gore and Will Rogers Move to Norwich

I thought about a delightful quote from Will Rogers last week while reading about the indoor fireworks at the Democratic Town Committee meeting that seemed to suggest while the Town Committee is bigger than any one person, there is at least one person, Greeneville's Ron Ward, for whom it has no room at all.

Rogers once offered, "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat." And while he reportedly never met a man he didn't like, there's no record of his ever visiting Norwich which might have put his legendary amiability to a severe test.

I'm NOT butting in, or piling on, when I comment about what went on last Thursday. I'm a registered Democrat--only because I thought years ago I'd get a chance to vote for Bill Bradley in a Presidential primary that eventually went to Al Gore. So, in that sense, Mr. Ward and I are in the same party (as are all those chosen to serve on the DTC for the 46th, 47th and 139th districts), though there are probably some members less than happy about how all of that worked out.

Freedom to disagree or to be disagreeable are not actually enumerated in the Bill of Rights, but they don't need to be expressed as they are implied within the protections of freedom of speech. As a practical matter, freedom of speech is often hardest to defend when you don't like what's being said or who is saying it. And for months people took exception to things Mr. Ward has said or done. That, is their right, freedom of association for which they need not apologize in much the same manner as Mr. Ward need not change his beliefs to accommodate or appease anyone else.

Quite frankly, from what I know of him, he wouldn't, even if he could, so it's just as well he can't or won't. I am chagrined when stories like this make the front page, and our front lobes, not because, channeling Rodney King, I wonder, "Can we all just get along? (Mom raised crazy children, not stupid ones) but because we have so many other and more important concerns and challenges facing us as a city, a state and as a nation.

An intra-party quarrel over membership on a committee that by the end of the evening still had vacancies seems childish very probably because it is childish. We can do better than behave in a manner first described by that well-known political scientist, Leslie Gore, and acknowledge political parties are often  alliances of convenience for a greater good than any of its members, alone, can achieve.

And for Ward's supporters, and he had (and has) them, who see  the Norwich DTC as an 'old boys club," remember the words of  Karl Marx's brother, Groucho, "I don't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member." Seriously.
-bill kenny    

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