Connections: Out of the Fray

I often wish I had a direct voice

For reasons that I think require explanation, I have never registered as a member of a political party. To put it simply, I was the editor of this paper for more than 20 years and thought it quite enough to have an opportunity to express opinions large and small in print, including who should be elected or re-elected to local or national office. 

Not being on a political roster also was an attempt to appear nonpartisan, to set The Star apart as well as keep it away from the internecine warfare that sometimes occurs within majority parties. Over the years, however, I have been criticized for obfuscation: The Star’s reputation has almost always been described as liberal, so who did I think I was fooling?

David Rattray, The Star’s editor for the last 15 years, writes its editorials, and has honored me by giving me a look before they are published. We’ve a collegial relationship; I respect what he has to say, and if there is an occasion when I disagree strongly with his point of view, we talk it out. 

This sounds enlightened, I suppose, but when heated controversies come along, I often wish I had a direct voice. Let’s face it; it has been a long time since the East Hampton Town Board was politically divided. If the heart of the debate is taking place within a majority party, it’s pulling punches to stay out of the ring, right?

It turns out that a number of friends who used to vote in New York City have taken my advice (and my husband’s) and registered to vote here. It was easy to convince them their votes would count more here than in thoroughly Democratic Manhattan. I also would argue that if they were aghast that the Trumpist Lee Zeldin was entrenched as the First Congressional District’s representative, voting here was imperative.

There also are two strong factions among Democrats vying for control of East Hampton Town government facing off in a Democratic primary next week. David Gruber, a longtime mover and shaker here, is considered the Reform Democrats candidate, while David Lys, who is new to political candidacy, is pegged as the Establishment Democrat. 

The Star’s letters to the editor prove this is a hot-button issue. There were 14 letters about Gruber and Lys among the 37 in the Aug. 30 edition, with another 28 among the 52 (yes, 52) letters this week. My guess is that more will come in even though there will be no opportunity for them to be published before the primary, Sept. 13. 

Carissa Katz, The Star’s managing editor, recently explained political philosophy this way: When a group used to controversy has sole control it invariably finds an adversary.

Perhaps it is just as well that I remain unregistered.