January 01, 2006
Introducing a New Van for a New Year
I'm pleased to be a new contributor to Kesher Talk, and I thank my fellow Texan Judith for inviting me to join the fray. I find the discussions intriguing and I hope to contribute in my own way. I bring over 25 years of experience in journalism to KT, having written on topics ranging across marketing, finance, home video (including adult video), the fur industry, Judaism, frozen foods, and parenting. Calling on this background, I will be chiming in with reports with a news peg, such as the Jewish Policy Center forum and my Dec. 30 post on Ushpizin.
My politics are a source of exasperation for many friends.
I grew up in a very conservative area -- Mission, Texas, right on the border with Mexico. Liberal was a curse word. Most government programs provoked brooding suspicion. The black helicopters always hovered just over the edge of the horizon. A high-school typing teacher declared that motorcycle-helmet laws were a form of socialism, to be fought at all costs (I believe he later became a policeman in McAllen, Texas, where he could put his civic theories into action).
College moved me to the Northeast and here I've stayed. My friends up here think I'm a crypto-fascist Texas gun nut, while my friends and relatives in Texas consider me a commie-hippie-pinko-fag lover. In fact, I am a free thinker unwilling to toe the line of either the right or left. The liberal hawk world view suits me well, and I see myself as a New York Sun/Rudy Guiliani type: free-market on economic issues, liberal on social matters, open to experimentation on some sticky issues (drug legalization, illegal immigration, healthcare), firmly in support of Israel, utterly ruthless on crime control and the War on Terror. The people who are most critical of my ideas and support for the War on Terror are the most rigidly conventional in their own politics.
I've been a registered Democrat since I was 18, since that was THE party in Texas in the 1970s and the microscopic Texas Republican Party held primaries by sticking paper ballots into shoe boxes. Neither party has a lock on my loyalties, and in fact I like voting in Democratic primaries because of all the colorful candidates. Jews for Sharpton, anybody?
I've published essays before calling for affirmative action for the death penalty, so that only Caucasians should be executed. That's what I call bold thinking.
Finally, a word on my name. You may be thinking, "What kind of name is Van for a Jewish guy?" My response: it's a very peculiar name for a Jewish guy. I'm neither Dutch or South African, nor named after Van Morrison. Rather, my father was a car nut who named me after a 1950s race car, the Vanwall. Vanwall Wallach would have exceeded even his taste for the bizarre, so Van it is on my birth certificate. For the record, had I been a girl my name would have been Tatra Lancia Wallach.
Van | 01/01/06 at 01:49 PM | Categories: Liberal hawks and friends
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Congrats on being on Kesher.
I really enjoyed reading the December/January blogs on your site.
lauri wiss | January 12, 2006 04:57 PM