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No safe zones

Yeah, you can't get away from annoying people who want to strike a political pose, even at the orchestra. (Instapundit)

Of course, one of the ways people can be an asshole in response to this kind of nonsense is to hit organizations like this where they live: not just in the wallet, but in the tax exemption. This is something I always worried about with in respect to Detour. I didn't want even the appearance that we were partisan one way or the other because of this, and I don't know that I was always clear to people about why. Putin jokes OK, maybe even jokes about the LDP (which would actually have been within our ambit) but for Kami-sama's sake, no campaign wear. It only takes one person to start a mountain of problems.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 8th, 2009 01:11 am (UTC)
Your instincts in this regard are generally correct, and laudable - just avoid politics if you are a non-profit. However, the IRS applies a fairly specific test to see if a non-profit has crossed the line into political activism: taking a specific position on a piece of legislation under consideration, or endorsing a specific candidate running for political office. So what Bramwell Tovey did was probably not an example of this - he wasn't speaking officially for anyone, the election's over, so it's just what he thinks. You could argue the point - and I'm sure some would - but be careful about how broadly you want to cast that net. For every Bramwell Tovey, I suspect there's at least someone on the political Right that would make a comparable statement.

That having been said, whatever in the world is Jay Nordlinger on about? "Safe zones" from politics? Could I have my safe zones in rural Iowa from pro-Bush, anti-Obama statements? Hardly the case. I would argue, actually, that a sentiment for a "safe zone" is a kind of lazy thinking - that people ought to feel restrained from making a political statement, "just because" somehow it is an artistic or cultural event. Democracy depends on freedom of speech, and the ability of people to state their opinions. Taken to its logical conclusion, it's actually rather un-American to suggest that there's some sort of natural division between politics and culture. I may be misunderstanding Jay's point, but I have little sympathy for his "kvetching" and a fair degree of concern.
Jul. 8th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
Well, having been a Falangist in Minnesota for a couple of decades, you have my sympathy when it comes to being a Green in rural Iowa. :)

I think Nordlinger would like people in the cultural sphere to "shut up and sing," as Laura Ingraham memorably put it. I understand his desire to have places to go where everyone isn't on about politics 24/7 and can just enjoy the things they have in common without politics getting in there and mucking things up - especially given how unpleasant politics tends to be these days. A time and a place for everything, as it were.
Jul. 8th, 2009 02:55 am (UTC)
Ohhhhh.... I wanna copy of I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next To A Republican! And, by-the-by, the Log Cabin Republican (at least I think that's who the were. Can't really recall seeing "LRB") had the best half-nekked guy at their booth. And I will admit to having a bit of a "But...but...but" reaction when I recognized him as having been a cashier at the Linden Hills Co-op.

Having said that, I don't really get how Nordlinger can say that Tovey was presenting himself as speaking for all Britians--I mean I didn't see him give any examples, just his biased intrepretation. (I'm a bit unsure about having used "biased" in that last sentence, but...well, I know my biases affect how I see/interpret things.
Jul. 8th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Your use of "biased" there seems fine to me.

Knowing that I have friends who tend to vote for Democrats (and having done so myself occasionally) tends to keep me from making broad statements about the party in general; like the GOP, it is a big tent of people who sometimes don't have very much in common with each other.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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