Think the paper is a ‘liberal rag?’ Hey, look again!

Register circulation manager Gita Johnson made some random telephone calls seeking new subscribers to our newspaper last week and found some Iolans “really mad” because, they told her, the newspaper was “so one-sided; so liberal.”
Let’s talk about that a bit.
First, the only place that opinions are expressed in the paper is on the editorial page, page 4, which is labeled Opinion. The other pages are news, classified ads, shopping ads, comics, pictures and sports news.
The Register runs one national columnist with regularity: David Broder, possibly the oldest, most broadly respected, political writer in the country. Broder bends over backward to be politically neutral and to keep his personal political views to himself.
He is never deliberately partisan.
The Register also subscribes to the Los Angeles Times/Washington Post news services and publishes essays from those newspapers that analyze international and national events and issues. Almost all of those articles appear on the editorial page because they do include their authors’ opinions about what events mean; but they are written by men and women who are students of today’s world and have the knowledge to help us understand it.
Where do those writers stand on the political spectrum? They range from right to left, but most would call themselves analysts rather than advocates.

WHAT IS A LIBERAL? If supporting the president of the United States and the agenda that 53 percent of the American people endorsed in the 2008 election makes one a “liberal,” then 69,456,897 U.S. voters earned that label a year ago this November.
What label would we pin on ourselves, Susan and I? Well, “liberal” in so much as the word means freedom-loving. “Conservative” because we truly believe government should raise in taxes what it spends for wars, for Social Security, for education, for health care and so on through the budget — and should have been doing so since 1776.
We also accept that, in times of recession such as these, government must follow Keynesian economic analysis and spend to ease the impact and reverse the economic course. That was what conservative President George W. Bush did with his bank bailout and stimulus program and it is the course now being followed.
But the label we think fits us best is “pragmatist.”
Pragmatists can’t be pidgeon-holed. They are for government action one time and against it the next. They argue for maximum human freedoms — but favor rules and regulations to rein in the powerful when they use their power to accumulate enormous wealth and excess privilege at the expense of the many. Government should keep the playing field level to give all of us an even break.
Pragmatists seek the welfare of the majority over the long term. They are not ideological because history tells them that rigid political principles become chains as circumstances change and stall progress rather than promote it. Pragmatists reject the one-size-fits-all philosophy.
Pragmatism equals practical, equals common sense, equals a willingness to try solution after solution until success is achieved. This approach to problem-solving doesn’t worship change for its own sake, but accepts the inevit-ability of change and does not fear it.
Finally, our philosophy starts and ends from the proposition that we’re all in this world — this community, this state, this nation — together and should respect each other, listen to each other and reach understandings together.
The only way to achieve the common good is through action in common.
That, we believe, is the genius of the American political experiment; that is the essential American Dream.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.