As I’ve explained at intervals in the past, my political orientation is not represented by the two party system in America. My politics can be located left of center, somewhere in the vicinity of Europe’s Social Democratic parties, which aren’t a presence in my country of birth—and emphatically should not be confused with America’s only occasionally “Democratic” Party.
The practical (and personal) consequences of our two-party power duopoly in the United States is a perennial feeling of isolation, which I liken to living in a place where hardly anyone speaks MY native language, leaving me in the position of learning to speak THEIR language, or not being able to speak at all.
(If you’re curious why I’m often spotted talking politics with local Republicans, it’s because most local Democrats won’t talk to me at all, but that’s a chronicle of empty-headed partisan pettiness that can wait until another time).
From the standpoint of voting, an act I’ve succeeded in exercising roughly 95% of the time since being awarded the privilege 40-odd years ago, these narrowed political options mean that most often I’ve rationalized my time in the voting booth by voting AGAINST candidates, rather than FOR them.
However, in 2023—in Indiana, the year to vote for municipal candidates—I’m delighted to unreservedly support Ed Clere’s candidacy for mayor of New Albany, and to vote FOR him. I urge hometown readers to follow suit.
Readers with long memories will recall that when the Ohio River Bridges Project was being planned, Ed and I differed strongly on the topic of tolling. It was visceral, and if you go back a number of years on social media and my former blog, you’ll find representative examples of these disagreements.
If I didn’t want anyone to see them, it would be easy to conduct a search and destroy, except I’m not in favor of erasing history, least of all my own.
Rather, I mention this history because I expect to be reminded about it, hence the “other” side of the story: While the intensity of our disagreement was very real, it also was also short-lived. Moreover, it was highly instructive, because living responsibly as an adult means understanding there’ll be times when our most valuable lessons are learned from the most unexpected circumstances.
One of the chief reasons for my support of Ed Clere in the 2023 mayoral race is the very reality of our previous disagreements, as they never precluded a continuing dialogue.
Ed always chose to focus on areas of our agreement, which in the end proved to significantly outweigh the differences. Ed took the initiative, and we continued to talk.
Do we agree on everything?
Of course not, but “lock step” is no precondition for cooperation and respect. Because of Ed’s openness to discussion, I came to better understand his intelligence and judiciousness, and to grasp that his political experience in Indianapolis is precisely the tonic for the cliquish and self-centered Gahanesque malaise in New Albany.
In fact, Ed’s political beliefs are ideally suited to the specific demands of local governance, which have far more to do with efficiency and communication, and do not pertain to the hot button divisions that otherwise plague the nation.
Ask downtown small business owners which of the two, Ed Clere or Jeff Gahan, has been most helpful to them in solving problems and staying alive. They may be unwilling to go on record with an answer, owing to the culture of reprisal that Gahan has cultivated. However, the majority of them know perfectly well that Ed has worked on their behalf far more convincingly than the Genius of the Floodplain.
But if New Albany’s self-styled “progressives” insist on pegging their mayoral votes to darling incumbent’s supposed alignment on social issues, then I heartily encourage them to cite any public instances of his concurrence with them.
Can they locate even one? I doubt it.
As an example, explain to me how forcibly evicting unhoused people from New Albany illustrates tender concern for the resolution of homelessness, or that gutting public housing is a social curative, as opposed to social cleansing.
Take your time. I know my questions make your brains hurt.
Gahan remains the Wizard of Nod, secreted behind a curtain, pretending to be what he profoundly is not, and blithely rewarded by those who claim to know better but somehow never get around to exercising even a bare minimum standard of accountability. Meanwhile the Gahan political patronage machine grinds forward, enriching the few at the expense of the many.
For those in search of civic principles as opposed to bandwagon power-brokering, have a look at Ed Clere for Mayor. He’s the real thing.
A socialist supporting a Republican? It’s about deeds, not words. Two decades of engagement with local issues have compelled me to be pragmatic about matters like party affiliation, and to regard integrity and skill sets as the gold standard.
Ed possesses these qualities in spades, and is the ideal to choice to begin undoing Gahan’s toxic legacies in New Albany.