Sandoval theme analyzed

Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Langston Hughes-like assertion that “Nevada will be Nevada again” is getting some grief from those familiar with the state’s history.

The governor ended his message to the Nevada Legislature last week by saying that “if we do all of these things together [follow the governor’s program], then truly Nevada will be Nevada again.”

In his inaugural address, he said, “I say to you on this day, in the spirit of those who have sworn this oath before me, that when the clock strikes on that 150th anniversary [of Nevada, in 2014], Nevada will be Nevada again.”

At a Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce meeting, the governor said, “We will make Nevada Nevada again, and I think you all know what that means.”

It appears that some people don’t know what he means.

“No, not really,” wrote Las Vegas editor Steve Sebelius. “It raises the inevitable question: If we won’t be Nevada again for a few years, what are we now? Are we East California, the infamous moniker suggested (in an actual bill draft, no less) by former Assemblyman Ron Knecht? … Are we but a recession-ravaged shadow of the former Nevada, in all its decades of economic glory? Are we Freedonia? What?”

“If you do [understand it], please email me and explain it,” wrote columnist Jon Ralston.

Historians are also wondering what exactly the governor means. Nevada’s past doesn’t have all that much favorable history to which sensible people would want to return, for one thing.

Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada director Bob Fulkerson asked in an essay (see page 4) whether Sandoval was referring to the Nevada that was segregated or the Nevada that was the bitch of the nuclear testing industry.

In a 2007 transition team paper prepared for Gov. Jim Gibbons, an unknown author said gambling and tourism are “the things that make Nevada, Nevada.”

In Hughes’ famed poem “Let America be America Again,” America never existed for the “humble, hungry” who were oppressed by those with “profit, power, gain …”

Sounds like Nevada, all right.