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.