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Issue not black and white, vote results wonít be either

If one thingís for sure, itís that nothingís for sure about Tuesdayís vote on the public indecency ordinance. Looking at the number of letters weíve received this week (a record, actually) one might think the ordinance will be overturned. However, itís worth noting that an overwhelming majority of those letters are written by non-voters, who certainly have a right to be heard, but wonít be casting a ballot next week. Itís clear to us from reading the letters and listening to talk around the proverbial water cooler, that emotions run high on this issue. But itís by no means black and white. There are ďnaturistsĒ who are sympathetic to some of the concerns raised by the pro-ordinance contingent, and there are those who prefer more average forms of recreation but donít begrudge others the right to enjoy their recreating with clothes or without.

We all make assumptions every day about our neighbors, our friends, heck, even our newspapers. On Tuesday alone, one gentleman contacted the paper and expressed his position that we are decidedly non-naturist. A few hours later another gentleman stopped by and during the course of our conversation indicated heíd heard we were ďpro-nudistĒ around these (newspaper) parts. Well, we can tell you this, itís pretty tough to be both. But those closest to the issue are quick to assume itís simply a matter of black and white. The truth of the matter is that neither the issue or the people who represent both sides, are as clear cut as one might assume. Why the mixed sentiments? Well, the issue Wilmington voters will tackle on Tuesday is a complicated one, with no easy answer. We are not zealots enough to think that every nudist is a perverted pedophile with only sex on his or her mind, nor are we naÔve enough to think that every person who comes to the Ledges is completely pure of heart and of intention.

What even a cursory look at this vote tells us is that whether the ordinance is upheld or defeated, the issue is not going away. Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, itís very unlikely weíll have heard the last of it by the time we wake up Wednesday morning. If the naturists win, the pro-ordinance crowd will still seek redress of their issues. And it seems just as likely that the Ledges users will pursue the matter further, should the ordinance be upheld.

Either way, we encourage these two camps to once again bury the hatchet and work together for a solution that meets the needs of as many as possible. The issue is not a black and white one and the solution wonít be either. If common ground canít be found (figuratively, of course) itís clear that the only answer will be one in which no one wins.

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