By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Someone at the News must think slipping this into the paper the day after the election covers them. I just want to remind them that in the real world, in newspaper terms, it doesn't cover shit.
So is this all about newspaper people and what we think of each other? I don't believe so. I do believe there is a larger issue. More than about a toll road, more than about a park and way more than about media, this was an election about truth-telling and individual courage.
Many of the people who voted for the toll road must have believed in their hearts that Leppert and Rasansky were telling the truth. But for many voters and certainly for the people who ran the Vote No campaign, truth was for sissies. This was about being on the winning team, no matter what.
You see it best in the very different attitudes–night and day, black and white–that people had toward Angela Hunt, the lone city council member who was the architect and leader of the Vote Yes crusade.
On the pro-toll-road-in-the-park side, especially among the city's moneyed and elected elites, the proof positive of Hunt's villainy was the fact that she was alone. In this mentality there is a certain small-town Calvinist certainty: the elite are the elect of God (the only election that counts). A person who stands against them is by definition a witch.
The truth? Well, that's all relative, and people who ask questions risk being expelled from the camp circle. Best not to go there.
Among Hunt's supporters is an ardently different view of the world. Politics should and must be about truth. The individual who stands alone against the lie is heroic. There is truth. It isn't all just a matter of being accepted on the right side of the tracks.
For those of us who believed in her, Hunt's crusade was Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I don't have any idea where to put her on a liberal/conservative slider. I see as much Ayn Rand as I do Jane Fonda.
Almost half of this city believed her and believed in her. I'm sorry, I know this is very narrow-minded of me and sort of reverse-snobbish, but I can't help myself: The half of Dallas that believed in Angela Hunt is the cool half.
The day after the defeat I talked to a bunch of people who said they were going to leave the city and move to someplace smart like Seattle. Oh, no. We can't have that.
For one thing, Dallas has something in common with my native Detroit. It's not a destination destination. At least among those of us who have come here from elsewhere, it was never because we had always dreamed of living near the Trinity River. We came here for work, business, opportunity. This is a making-it city, not a scenic city.
So we got here, and then we collided with this odd and charming local culture–sort of Old South, kind of Midwest, tiny bit cowboy but always with one eye on New York. We met all these locals who have deep-rooted culture and good manners. And somewhere out of our collision, from the sparks and smoke a Dallas emerged that is cool.
Cool Dallas, in fact, is much bigger and cooler than it was 30 years ago. Cool Dallas is probably centered on the Eastern Bloc (East Dallas) but it is linked by protected corridors to Bishop Arts in Oak Cliff, West Village, the young Park Cities wannabes across Central and lots of other cool enclaves like Little Forest Hills and even single households holding out in North Dallas like lone Japanese soldiers on the atolls after World War II.
We're not Seattle. But we are a very cosmo place, even if it is Dallas, and the proof of it was this wonderful election and the amazing 47 percent that Hunt rallied.
I have no idea if she and her husband, Paul Sims, will even be around next time we have a mayoral election in Dallas. They're young, smart, high-energy people who probably won't let a lot of grass grow beneath their feet.
But for right now Angela Hunt is mayor of Cool Dallas. She is mayor of the people who think politics and journalism ought to be about truth. I think she is mayor of the coming Dallas, the one that will emerge victorious after we have some more funerals around here.
Let me make it clear when I speak of funerals that I speak strictly and only of natural occurrences. This in no way implies that I intend to help things along. That would be wrong. I'm going to do a twelve-steps program on that, too. But it's hard.