Parsing Regularity

In the comments to my Sides Taking Shape post, RI Future’s Matt Jerzyk objects to my characterization of Bruce Lang and Ryan Curran as “regular Rhode Islanders.” According to Jerzyk, the former is a “longtime Statehouse activist” (founder, apparently, of Operation Clean Government) and the latter once ran for a General Assembly seat. I simply did not know either’s history, and the names did not ring any bells. I think the characterization still applies, though.
But the objection does raise an interesting question: What circumstances disqualify one from being a “regular Rhode Islander”? I imagine, for example, that Matt would disqualify we Anchor Rising contributors, while by my estimation, we’re precisely “regular” — simple taxpaying citizens who’ve taken an interest in the betterment of our state. Does becoming vocal automatically make one not regular?
There’s certainly a line to be crossed — somewhere between Anchor Rising and RI Future. Somewhere between citizens making arguments, even advocating policies, even running for office and coordinated activists tapped into the major pipelines of influence in the state. To be sure, it’s far easier to cross this line on the Left than the Right in Rhode Island.
One sure marker, though, may just be the ability to recognize and allocate even minor players in the state’s civically involved community. Personally, I hope never to take up as much of my brain with such information as would be required to transcend regularity.

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16 years ago

Since when is trying to be involved in cleaning up your state government a disqualification for “regularity” (insert Metamucil joke here)?
I’ve talked with Bruce Lang on several occasions. He’s a very ethical, honest man, who just wants Rhode Island’s government to be less corrupt. He’s not a household name or rock star, so Justin is more than in his right to not have associated him with particular group. Being for clean government, he’s probably not a Democrat, but I’m not sure if he’s a Republican either. He tends toward the non-partisan reform stuff. As for Ryan, I recognize the name from his many letters to the editor, but don’t know much else about him.
Ironically, by the standard that Matt seems to be applying to others for being a “regular Rhode Islander,” he and many of the RI Future contributors must also be quite irregular themselves. 😉

Tom W
Tom W
16 years ago

Will’s characterization of Bruce Lang is accurate as far as everything I know about Mr. Lang.
But given the history of our state’s electorate electing and reelecting in perpetuity a thoroughly corrupt Democrat Party, Lang’s status as being for clean government arguably does place him outside the mainstream in RI.
Like pigs in slop, Rhode Islanders seem to revel in rolling around in slime, e.g., the hero’s welcome given to Buddy Cianci.

Bob C
Bob C
16 years ago

I think by regular citizens, they mean Democrats. You see a Republican cannot be a regular person because we apparently have no souls.

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