|I had to be Jewish, right? After I wrote a Pulitzer-nominated series on the plight of Soviet Jews whose visas to leave the then-Soviet Union were denied, the rumor went around—I had converted to Judaisim.|
At that time I worked for the Houston Chronicle. Because of my extensive stints on the road with John Paul, including a month in Rome at the Vatican, rumors spread around Houston that I had to be a Roman Catholic priest.
That followed other speculation about my being an Episcopalian, a Lutheran, a member of the Hare Krishnas, and other such amazing chatter—depending on which group I had just written about in my column.
Then in 1985 I went to the former Soviet Union to write about Soviet Jews who had tried to exit that communist state but had been denied exit visas; these folks were called Refuseniks. My newspaper series on the Soviet Jews was even nominated for a Pulitzer. I received the Texas B'nai B'rith award of honor for my work.
Naturally, the word was out: Louis Moore surely had converted to Judaism.
I was actually flattered that Chronicle readers were so confused about the guy who wrote a popular weekly column about religion events all over the world as well as Houston. Despite the current negative stereotype of reporters, I craved what a journalist likes most—to be thought of as so even-handed that readers can't pin down from which direction he or she writes. And all along, I actually was an ecumenical Southern Baptist (an oxymoron, right?). But that was a private matter. Where I worshiped on Sunday mornings had nothing to do with my unbiased coverage of all things religion.
|Conducting a public tour of Houston's religious sites once stirred up the contention that the reporter must be Hindu.|
As a candidate for Mayor of Garland, it makes no difference whether I personally am Republican or Democrat. The mayor and city council are supposed to focus on local issues, not state and national political matters. In Garland we don't elect a mayor or a city councilmember because they are affiliated with one national political party or the other. We have enough issues here without dragging in the political messes in Austin and Washington!
I'm well-acquainted with Garland's current mayor and all eight city councilmembers. I've never one time asked any of them their political party affiliation. The question would be as out of place as sneakers at a formal ball. During the past 4.5 years as Kay and I have watched every meeting of city council either in person or on the TV, we've studied each of the nine personalities very carefully. We might privately speculate which of the nine is Democrat or Republican, but we've never discussed this with each other or with them. In 4.5 years of watching them close up, we've never seen any Garland City Council vote that related to national political party lines whatsoever.
Are they Republicans or Democrats? Who cares? How they manage local issues is uppermost in our minds. Being a Republican or Democrat won't make a dime's worth of difference when it comes to the most important matters in our city—the loss of our only hospital, the miserable streets in some residential parts of town, the ridiculous delay in building a new animal shelter, etc. (For a full list of my campaign concerns, see my February 19, 2018, blog post.)
The question, of course, reflects the polarization in our country today. Votes can hardly get through Congress these days with any bipartisan support at all. Unlike decades past, votes are either all Republican or all Democrat. And nary the twain seem to meet! And with all the changes, bickering, and confusion in the national parties today, the questions "What is a Democrat?" and "What is a Republican?" are often foremost in the public's mind.
|My family and I met then-Vice-President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara when Bush filled the pulpit at his home Episcopal church in Houston. That surely meant I was a Republican, some said.|
So, which am I? Neither. Both.
Wishy-washy? Can't make up my mind? Hardly. Most people who know me know I'm very firm in my opinions. But the bumper sticker has it right: God is neither a Republican nor Democrat. More than a decade ago major newspapers all across the country picked up my editorial-page column, "Jesus was neither a Democrat nor a Republican".
Personally, I am an Independent who votes NOT along partisan lines but on the candidates as individuals and on their character and their stands on issues. Over the decades since I registered to vote at age 21 (back in the dark ages when one wasn't allowed to vote at 18), I have voted for Democrats, Republicans, and a handful of Third Party candidates. I weigh carefully the character of the candidates and where the candidates stand in relationship to issues most important to me at the time. I'm in no one's hip pocket in any way. Anyone who knows me well is fully aware that I am an independent thinker. I am not tied to any political party's apron-strings.
Back in the days before language rightfully became more gender-neutral, my mother-in-law used to proudly assert, "I vote for the MAN." (She said this despite having been Ruth Nicholson's right-hand-lieutenant in her Garland mayoral races.) What she meant was, in the privacy of the voting booth, she voted her conscience, according to how a candidate lined up with her principles—not his or her party affiliation.
Garland has a long tradition of keeping state and national political parties out of its elections. While I advocate reform of our current political system and have pledged once in office to overhaul it to make the system more accessible to ALL Garland residents, I support that long-time practice of keeping the political parties out of the mix. The last thing this troubled city needs is to drag in unnecessary national issues, over which the mayor and city council have no control whatsoever and which would only deprive us of time and resources needed to resolve our numerous local concerns.