Confession: I get a daily dose of viruses, bacteria, parasites, protozoa, ticks... little buggers that like to lurk in raw milk, sexual escapades, other people’s sneezes.... Okay, I don’t get these infections, I get to talk about them (mostly with my infectious disease-expert husband).
But even he was stumped when I described a mysterious epidemic sweeping through San Diego. I said it was targeting unsuspecting voters. Very unusual...he said.
To me the diagnosis is clear: San Diegans have been exposed to a politically-motivated disease, spread along the campaign trail by a pair of genetically-modified-look-alike-mosquito-bots. They're zeroing in for the big bite come the June 5 mayoral primary.
Who are these twin buggers? none other than candidates Nathan Fletcher and Carl DeMaio. They're the active agents transmitting perilous pathology, namely intimidation… manipulation… political sociopathy…
If you're concerned about the health and well-being of your loved ones, here’s what you need to watch out for:
The Peril of Intimidation
* Nathan Fletcher's bullying threats to city workers: "I interrogated al-Qaeda…I can negotiate a labor deal" are overkill. His contempt for ordinary civilians who live what he calls a "climate-controlled life" is way out of line.
Skills in the martial arts have little to do with the qualities and qualifications citizens deserve in their elected officials. You might remember that Fletcher’s former employer Duke Cunningham also used his military record as a weapon to win election -- then the Duke engaged in bribery and fraud and ended up in prison for abusing the public trust.
* Carl DeMaio is no novice when it comes to bullying and aggressive behavior but here’s the difference: DeMaio doesn't glad hand. He's not a chameleon. What you see is what you get...whatever that's worth.
The Peril of Manipulation
* Nathan Fletcher is no shirker when it comes to manipulating the public. He delivers feel-good declarations of political independence but marches in lockstep with conservative mentors like Newt Gingrich, Pete Wilson, and Karl Rove.
To advance his political career he maneuvers behind the backs of the public at the behest of downtown redevelopers. He aggrandizes himself in public appearances as a lion in combat. He capitalizes on the brutal deaths of two north county girls -- a callous exploitation of the grief and misfortune of others.
* Carl DeMaio has a knack for turning ordinary words inside-out. He zeroes in on commonplace democratic (as in small d democracy) snags and hitches and attributes them to “out of control government bureaucracy.” He twists the word reform to try to crush city unions and eliminate living wage protections.
Out of his mouth, reform means outsourcing government services to private monopolies. His mission is to “shrink government to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub,” in lockstep with the ideals of his guru, Grover Norquist.
The Peril of Political Sociopathy
* Nathan Fletcher and Carl DeMaio are running neck and neck in this category. The two of them share a common history. Both, at a young age, were scooped up, tutored, and polished by powerful upper-echelon masters in the conservative wing of the Republican Party.
Both have a knack for manipulating public discontent to promote ideological, political, and personal agendas. They exemplify a brave new world of millennial confidence men masquerading as populists.
Both candidates exhibit strikingly similar idiosyncracies: repetitive, tightly-drilled speech patterns...oddly-robotic responses…unblinking, vacant eye contact.... It's possible that San Diego will go down in history as the first American city where not one but two manchurian candidates ran against one another for the office of mayor.
The moral of this parable? Physician, heal thyself. It means that the cure must come from our own actions. It's as simple as that. Don't forget to vote on June 5.