North Carolinian Jim Neal headed north to New York last night for a DL21C-sponsored event. The openly gay Senatorial candidate greeted well wishers and do-gooders at a lovely little joint called Retreat, which we enjoyed for all the hard wood.
We snapped some shots of the happenings. Neal’s speech covered much of what he told us in part one and part two of our exclusive interview. Our editor did raised two questions, one privately and one publicly. The first question: “What do you think about John Edwards dropping out of the race?” Neal said he was sorry to see Edwards go, particularly because the former Senator used his platform to highlight the ravages of poverty. Belonsky said that was true, but added that perhaps the White House wouldn’t be the most effective place for him. Edwards should, instead, start a non-profit a la Bill Clinton and/or Al Gore.
The next question, which came after Neal’s speech, concerned the candidate’s ideas on American inclusion. Neal told the audience that “American democracy doesn’t belong to the politicians, but to the people”. All of these people live in America, said Neal, and should thus have an equal say in policy matters – or at least be brought to the table.
Belonsky asked Neal how he would approach extremist, fundamentalist groups such as the KKK and the Westboro Baptist Church. Neal replied that such “fringe” groups are motivated by emotion-based logic, rather than reason and, thus, aren’t prepared to fight fair. He also said that the secular and spiritual must remain distinct, but later referred to “the man upstairs,” a monotheistic god. It’s queer, isn’t it, that so many politicians insist on dividing religion and the state – which is right, rather than Right – yet favor the Western concept of the G-man. Just a thought.