Eclectic commentary from a progressive voice in the red state

Monday, August 31, 2015

Politics makes strange bedfellows

Often quoted, but rarely attributed to 19thCentury journalist Charles Dudley Warner, the notion is that people with otherwise strongly different and disparate views can cooperate on a common goal.

So it seems that I am now allied with some Amarillo folks over downtown development — specifically advocating a vote opposing the baseball stadium so-called multi-purpose event venue. But on other issues, these people hold personal and political views so opposite to mine that I am a little flabbergasted I am working with them. These people are far more conservative, perhaps even right-wing, more religiously fundamentalist and overt about it. Their ways with words are also different, reflecting more of their more salt-of-the-earth characteristics than my university-educated and 20-year journalism career approach to thinking and writing.

But make no mistake about this: These are good people with good hearts. They have concluded, as I have, that, the current Wallace Bajjali-Downtown Amarillo Inc.-Amarillo Globe-News plan for downtown development is fatally flawed. These are good people who smell a rat, or several rats, in the downtown development cabal.

I don’t know if their views would lead to alternative plans or whether their views arise from a strict view that government’s role at every level should be limited and that so-called public-private partnerships betray that notion. From a pragmatic perspective on this one issue, it doesn’t matter. On the other hand, I hope we can turn the direction of downtown development back to revitalizing the Civic Center, restoring the Herring Hotel to its former glory and properly exploiting the cattle-cowboy-railroad Western Heritage to attract tourism.

For me, however, it’s a strange sensation, given my long history of wanting alliances to be with people more philosophically pure than on a case-by-case basis. At age 70, it is a strange sensation, one I like, although I still struggle a bit with the discomfort.