Stephen Danzansky went to the Republican National Convention to propose that the party reaffirm its commitment to full voting rights for the District of Columbia.
He "watched wordlessly" as the task force on government regulation rejected proposals to give voting rights to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. He recalled that earlier in the day another task force had rejected a proposal that the GOP reaffirm its support for the Equal Rights Amendment. He didn't like the quarter from which the political breezes were blowing.
And so Steve Danzansky kept the D.C. voting rights proposal in his pocket, and the subject wasn't even brought up. Danzansky had the political savvy to sense that the vote would have gone against him, and later he explained: "It is better to have the platform say nothing about voting rights than to risk an embarrassing defeat or worse yet, a plank against voting rights."
Steve Danzansky is a lawyer. He learned strategy and diplomacy at the feet of a master of those arts, his father, Joseph B.
Twenty years from now, District Liners may be able to look back upon Steve's decision to remain silent and say, "He was right. That was the wise thing to do under those circumstances. He avoided a confrontation that adherents of full viting rights would have lost. Because of his good judgment, we live to fight again another day, and eventually we won what we wanted."
On the other hand, in retrospect our reaction may be, "Steven should have forced the issue that day and put the heat on opponents of full voting rights. If your enemy is thinking about shooting you down, force him to choose between doing it while the spotlight of publicity is on him -- or not at all."
The absence of a voting rights plank from the Republican platform may prove to be only a temporary setback, or it could set a precedent and lead to our continued rejection by both parties. We'll have to wait and see how things turn out. It would be sad if, 20 years from now, we were still looking for full voting rights, with nobody taking us very seriously because we were such pussycats in 1980.
Yes, I know: The prudent course is to be polite and be a diplomat. Work within the organization, don't make waves and don't air your differences in public.
But I just wonder whether it's always wise to follow a prudent course.
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven" -- perhaps even a time for embarrassing confrontations.
The all-important question is: When is that time? WE WON! WE WON!
Sunday's Washington Post carried and ad urging readers to play "Dr. Pepper Beefstakes -- $100,000 Beef and Dr. Pepper-Give-Away."
Several playing cards are pictured in the ad. Also a card hidden by black dust of some sort. To find out if he has won, the reader rubs the dust off the hidden card and sees whether it matches any of five winning cards shown in the ad.
I rubbed the dust off my hidden card and found a 10 of spades - a winner!
Then I read the list of prizes. There is one first prize of $10,000 or a huge supply of meat and Dr. Pepper. There is one second prize of $5,000 or half as much merchandise. There are three third prizes of $1,000 each, and 25 fourth prizes of $100 each. An unspecified number of fifth prizes are described as "50-cent coupon good on your next purchase of Dr. Pepper."
It's a real thrill to know that the Gold family is definitely a winner in this great $100,000 bonanza.
It's also a thrill to know that five of my friends also found a 10 of spades under the black dust. All we need to do now is find a store display that tells us which prize the 10 of spades wins.
I know it's not the first or second prize because there's only one of each. And it can't be the third prize, either, because there are only three of those and we have already accounted for six 10s of spades. So I guess we must have won six of the 25 fourth prizes of $100 each.
Of course it is possible that we will learn that all we've won is cents-off coupons for soda pop, that would be quite an anticlimax. I don't even want to think about it.
P.S.: One $10,000 prize, one $5,000 prize, three $1,000 prizes and 25 $100 prizes add up to 30 prizes with a total value of $20,500. I guess the remainder of the $100,000 is made up of cents-off coupons. SIGNS OF THE TIMES
Herm Albright, sage of the Perry Township (Ind.) Weekly, reports on two new signs he's seen:
In an optometrist's office, a sign said: If you don't see what you're looking for, you're in the right place."
And a barber's sign was, "In our business, two heads are better than one."