Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Sense of History

Barry Goldwater statue at his memorial in Paradise Valley

"Our responsibility in this hostile world is to defend successfully the concept of human freedom from every assault, ideological, economic, or military." Part of the quote carved in stone around the base of the statue.

I've decided to seek out more destinations of historical significance, to go and see on my bicycle. I've shown a few here previously, like the anchor from the USS Arizona, but it hasn't been a focus for me. I've touched on some of the local architecture and art history, but in this case, I'm looking for more national historical significance. While pondering this, or possibly the other way around, I thought of the Barry Goldwater memorial park in Paradise Valley, which I must have passed a thousand times, because this somewhat controversial Senator from Arizona qualifies.

Statue by Joe Beeler. Landscape architect Michael Dollin. Camelback Mountain in the background.

Libertarian chairman of the intelligence committee overlooking surveillance and red light cameras

In his long stint in American politics he tended to make a lot of people mad because he stuck by his own beliefs so strongly, even as they evolved over time to become somewhat more moderate in his later days, and I admire him for that, even if I disagree with some of his positions at some points in his career. The strength of his own convictions led to some rather surprising disagreements with both those who considered themselves his allies and his opponents. He ended up losing the 1964 Presidential election in epic fashion, in part because of his staunch opposition of the Civil Rights Act. He put out traditional anti-big government ads like this one, which featured a boy on a bicycle, while Lyndon Johnson hit him with the famous "Daisy" attack ad:

Medallion marking Goldwater's amateur radio hobby, call sign K7UGA

Bike rack and signage

The audio of a debate in Tuscon in 1961 between Norman Thomas and Barry Goldwater on Socialism vs. Capitalism served as an opportunity for Goldwater to express his views eloquently and clearly. Although I doubt I would have voted for him in the 1964 presidential election, or for Norman Thomas either, I appreciate the clarity and forthrightness of his views. In addition, I very much admire the gentlemanly and respectful manner in which he approaches a discussion with an opponent with whom he has very many disagreements of opinion.

Visiting Senator Goldwater's memorial made me curious to learn more about his thought. I'm keeping my eyes open for a biography. This quiet little park has some nice shady spots to sit and rest a bit, and a drinking fountain, too. It's a modest, respectful place, suitable for thinking about history. 


  1. The light there is so pretty no matter what time of day. I guess his former house looks down on that park and I only see one house up there that seems like it could be the one.

    1. I looked around for that house for so long that I finally just looked online and got this: The home which Goldwater built in 1952 sits atop Scorpion Hill on Keim Street, just east of 40th Street (below Lincoln Drive). Constructed with sandstone from the Navajo Reservation, Goldwater named it "Be-nun-i-kin," Navajo for "house on top of a hill." It was purchased in 2000 for $4.1 million by Bob and Karen Hobbs who went door-to-door for Goldwater in his 1964 presidential campaign when they were newlyweds

    2. Hmmm, well, I guess I would have to go up there to see if it's Keim but the scorpion part of it is kinda repulsive (to me).

  2. Goldwater was ahead of his time


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