By Norma Damashek
Today I’m on a mindful jaunt through America’s finest sexiest city. Not just ordinary sexy but exuberant sexy... in-your-face, over-the-top sexy. It’s a walk that calls for extra-special noticing (though not much letting go).
I notice that there’s a three-ring circus in town, selling its special merchandise to participants and spectators alike — an exotic brew of beer-soaked hormones, pheromones, secretions, and sundry other exudations.
It’s being peddled on Fiesta Island at the annual beach bacchanal known as the Over-The-Line Tourney — a boozy, raunchy, let-it-all-hang-out display of tantalizing semi-bare bodies engaged in personal pleasures and pursuits and not-necessarily-innocent fun and games.
It was widely available at the LGBT Pride Parade – a comparable extravaganza of raunchy, let-it-all-hang-out semi-bare bodies engaged in the celebration of freedom to be and liberation from the shackles of conventional restraints and taboos.
It’s a staple at the upcoming multi-million dollar Comic-Com International – another wild blow-out promoting freedom from (or on behalf of) shackles, alluring and revealing getups, escapist fantasies, and sky’s-the-limit flights of fancy.
We can call it a concatenation of profligate events — to say it the fancy way. A magical alignment of the moon and stars — if you’re a romantic. A capitalist capture of the lucrative business of selling sex — to be prosaic. It’s a sign of how cosmopolitan, uninhibited, and open-minded we San Diegans are. We’re way cool.
I notice that the same potent brew is fueling another major event in San Diego — a blaring sideshow about sex… raunch… personal pleasures… liberation from conventional restraints… not-necessarily-innocent fun and games. The big difference is that the public isn’t allowed into this one for a for a first-hand look.
This raucous major event focuses on the sex life of our mayor. It deals with the complex balance between consensual and unsolicited sexual conduct. It involves written rules governing permissible and impermissible workplace behavior. It calls upon unwritten rules that mediate between acceptable and loutish social behavior.
I notice that for this notorious event the public is being told to button-up. At the weekend’s other events we actively (or voyeuristically) gyrated our pelvises, bared our bosoms and buttocks, committed bold indiscretions, and whooped it up with abandon. For this event we’re instructed to get modest. Demure. Hear no… see no… speak no… sex.
People are calling for the mayor to resign over accusations of improper sexual advances and smarmy conduct toward many women. We’re told that the women involved are – so far — too frightened and embarrassed to step forward and bring charges against the mayor… not singly, not in pairs, not in supportive groups of five, ten, twenty. Like the old-time big C word, some things are better to keep quiet.
Some people and treasured friends I respect, value, and care about are convinced that demanding the mayor’s resignation based on statements from unnamed “victims” and without due process for the accused is the right course of action. I must part ways with them on this one. I can’t figure out who they’re protecting. From what?
Are they protecting the sensibilities of a score of women who’d prefer anonymity when they relate that the mayor fondled their breast? whispered yucky words in their ear? suggested sex acts they watch daily on popular TV prime-time sex-in-the-city series? put his lips on theirs and tried to stick in his tongue?
Are they protecting the bashful public from witnessing first-hand details deemed too unseemly and too expensive to prosecute?
Are they shielding the mayor from open disclosure and due process to protect him from? from? getting his feelings hurt?
I notice that the group of elected officials calling for the mayor’s resignation is promoting the irresponsible, dangerous, undemocratic precedent of denying a citizen (the mayor this time, one of us the next?) his/her democratic right to due process – formal charges, open and full disclosure, impartial investigations, public hearings. Not one of them is upholding the democratic underpinnings and procedures that got them elected.
I notice that people are asking what will happen if the mayor does resign? Here’s my forecast: after a short period of intense back-room skirmishing among Republican and Democrat contenders salivating at the opportunity to be mayor, Nathan Fletcher will emerge from his cozy Qualcomm waiting room, led by a leash by former labor leader /current assembly member Lorena Gonzales, who will install him on the mayor’s throne.
Fletcher is our man in Havana. He’s a canny chameleon who changes political colors in nary a blink of the eye: Conservative Republican one recent day… moderate Republican the next… Independent after that… Democrat last time I looked. Fletcher can be counted on to bring San Diego back to square one. The way we were…
I notice that people want to know what will happen if the mayor does not resign — if he remains in office when/ if legal charges are filed against him and/or an impartial investigation gets underway? Will the city come to a standstill? descend into chaos?
The answer is No. The public can depend on the city’s unjustly maligned bureaucracy to keep grinding on, no matter what… taking care of business, picking up the trash, fixing the potholes, replacing the street lights, protecting your safety, opening the doors of your neighborhood library. The mayor’s office has finally undergone an overdue top-to-bottom reconstruction – there’s a seasoned chief operating officer and new chief of staff more accomplished and dependable at managing and overseeing effective and congenial city operations and office environment.
As for the mayor — if he does not resign he will undoubtedly continue his efforts at changing the direction of city policy and challenging the entrenched status quo – as effectively as circumstances permit and for however long his tenure in office will be.
From my perspective, the denial of procedural due process for all parties involved in this scandal would qualify as a destructive and far-reaching transgression of basic democratic principles.
Until the decision is made by up-till-now anonymous women to bring formal civil or criminal charges against the mayor, public and private calls for his resignation ought to cease. San Diegans can take it — we’re not so fastidious and shockable that we’d let our basic democratic principles be flushed down the drain when the going gets rough. Are we?