One never knows when an opportunity will present itself. Sometimes it falls in one’s lap, other times, it takes scratching and clawing so that “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” holds true. Yet at other times, one has to create one’s own opportunity like Hannibal, who before crossing the Alps defiantly declared, “I will either find a way, or make one.”
Nevertheless, whether it’s falling into one’s lap, or built by one’s self, the key factor is recognizing that an opportunity exists. When I was asked to write a regular column, I said yes because I recognized that it was an opportunity for an alternative voice to be heard in San Mateo County. And, the chance to take on another opportunity is why this column will be my last, as well.
Because of one of my earlier columns, I’m about to embark on a new adventure that will mean I won’t be able to write for this newspaper for a while. But that doesn’t mean that I will stop advocating for transparent government, growth, opportunity and prosperity for all. Readers will be hearing more about this from me in the coming weeks, but in a different forum.
Before I go, I want to thank Jon Mays, the editor of this newspaper, for giving me the opportunity to write on a regular basis. The Daily Journal is true treasure, and we here in San Mateo County are lucky it exists. The coverage of local issues is outstanding, particularly the in-depth coverage of otherwise overlooked political races. The question-and-answer sessions with local candidates are themselves the mark of a publication committed to the community it serves.
I also want to thank you, my readers, who have engaged with me online, in letters to the editor and in conversations on the street. It’s a never-ending source of wonder when strangers in a restaurant, church or the street come up and say that they read this column and that they agree or disagree with me. It’s a privilege to have written something that has captured your imagination, ideas and feelings, and I’m honored that you would seek me out to say that I’m right (or wrong).
If there is one thing that writing this column has taught me, it’s that people in our county are hungry for a voice that represents them, their hopes and their dreams for their families and future. They’re tired of the one-size-fits-all, liberal-progressive mantra that shuts off principled debate and marginalizes them with a dismissive wave.
Moreover, they are really tired of the old, white, Democrat politicians that have a stranglehold on power. In a trenchant analysis of California politics, Politico pointed out Sunday that the ruling Democrat elite are, to put it mildly, out of touch with the experience of average Californians.
At 81, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., is the fourth wealthiest U.S. senator with assets over $68 million. Her colleague, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., a comparative youth at 73, is herself is a millionaire. U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, the U.S. House minority leader, is 74, and with $94 million in assets, worth more than Sen. Feinstein.
Gov. Jerry Brown is 76, and holds the office he first won in 1974 in an era before most Californians were born. Even the state Democratic Party chair gets in on the act as John Burton, 81, was first elected to the state Assembly in 1965.
Soon the old, out-of-touch Democrats will pass from the scene. That will give an opportunity for a new breed of center-right leaders some dub “conservatarian” to take center stage. These new leaders are especially relevant here in Silicon Valley where Libertarian ideas run deep.
Last week, San Francisco hosted San Mateo County’s Lincoln Labs’ Reboot conference and hackathon, a convergence of tech, Libertarian and conservative coders, activists and thinkers that generated a nationwide buzz. For California, this conclave of conservatarians represents the new face of the Republican Party, an opportunity to attract those turned off by the Democrat elite’s age, 1-percent wealth and lack of ethnic diversity.
So, opportunities abound, not only for me but also for those of you who are generally center-right and are glad the Daily Journal highlights, what for the Bay Area, are alternative voices. Again, I’m honored to have had the chance to write for this newspaper, and I’m blessed to have had your support, your encouragement and your readership.
John McDowell is a longtime county resident having first moved to San Carlos in 1963. In the intervening years, he has worked as a political volunteer and staff member in local, state and federal government, including time spent as a press secretary on Capitol Hill and in the George W. Bush administration.