I’m not a registered Democrat or Republican (or as I prefer Democrata or Republiklan). I never bought into the two party system and I probably never will. As the late Chicano leader Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez said, Democrats and Republicans “are one party that feed from the same trough.”
Under rare circumstances have I ever voted for either political party. When I did it was usually to vote against the Republican candidate. For most of my 20’s I didn’t vote at all.
I didn’t vote for Bill Clinton or Al Gore. I didn’t vote for John Kerry either. There was no way I would’ve voted for either of their Republican opponents. During the Clinton elections I didn’t vote. During the Bush/Gore race I voted for Ralph Nader and during the Bush/Kerry election I voted for imprisoned American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier.
When current President Barrack Obama ran I voted for a Democrat for president for the first time in my life. Twice. Not because I was in love with his policies but because I did not want a Republican president to have the opportunity to nominate Supreme Court justices. I also didn’t think an African American man would win.
Since President Obama has been in office his policies, for the most part, have absolutely sucked. He has deported more Mexicans than his predecessor, Guantanamo Bay’s prison is still open for business and his drone policy borders on war crimes. But at least McCain and Romney were not given the opportunity to nominate Supreme Court justices.
When Bob Filner decided to run for mayor of San Diego I didn’t really think too much about it. I was never a big Filner supporter. I never voted for him for Congress even though I lived most of my adult life in his district.
In the mid-90s while I was a member of Unión del Barrio we and others pushed him out of a Chicano Park Day celebration because we didn’t want any political opportunists there. Little did I know that almost 20 years later I’d jump on the Filner for mayor bandwagon.
Initially I became a supporter because I did not want Koch brother progeny and Teabagger (double entendré not intended) supported Carl DeMaio to become mayor. His policies are so far to the right that I would’ve voted for Ronald Reagan instead of him.
Once I started to learn more about Congressman Filner and his campaign agenda, thanks to my fellow Freepers here at San Diego Free Press, I bought in. He was down for historically marginalized communities like Barrio Logan. He believed in the power of the underdog. He was going to change the business as usual stylings of city government that placed the needs of the rich elite before those of the poor and middle classes.
To be honest I didn’t think he’d win. Few did. Especially with DeMaio’s moneyed backers and the U-T Lynchester’s biased polling. When the votes came in and Filner won I almost shit myself. I didn’t think it possible that we’d ever have a peoples mayor defending the interests of those like myself and others in my neighborhood. I felt like we won the mayoral seat. That we were all mini-mayors.
For the first time in my life I felt the system worked and it gave people like me hope. And I also felt a little shadenfreude towards the rich fucks that have ruled this city my entire life. It was such a good feeling knowing these bastards wouldn’t be getting their way with a progressive mayor and a liberal majority on the city council.
In early January I saw Bob Filner across the street from my apartment in Barrio Logan at a campaign announcement for soon-to-be State Senator Ben Hueso. This was the first of four times I saw him within two blocks of my pad. I congratulated him on his victory and I told him that I look forward to the implementation of his progressive agenda. He seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.
I asked to take a photo of him and he asked if my son Dino and I wanted to be in the picture. I’m not really a fan of taking pictures with celebrities (except mixed martial arts fighters) but I decided to anyway. I thanked him and told him to carry on with his much needed work.
I totally had a bromance with the guy and the policies that he was planning on implementing. Little did I know that six months later we’d break up. But man, those were the best six months I’ve seen out of any local politico. He took on the tourism industry, he supported safe access to medical marijuana, he stood up for Bank of America chalker Jeff Olsen, took the cars out of Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, spoke at Chicano Park’s recognition as a historic site and so much more.
Then in July news of him sexually harassing someone in his office broke. And so did my political heart. I felt betrayed. I had never bought into the system and then the first time that I did he let me down. This was my guy and I felt hurt.
As a progressive who stands for the rights of the poor, minorities, the LGBT community and, most importantly, women I could no longer side with him. Even though his policies were correct it would be hypocritical of me to do so.
Though I knew there would not be a viable politician who would be able to carry on his agenda, or who would be willing to do so, my principles told me that he no longer deserved to be mayor.
I was tempted to write a piece calling for his resignation. But after the dogpiling by most in the smug, back slapping, local media and everywhere else in our city I didn’t think it was necessary. The chorus was already loud and ugly. I didn’t want to write a column and pile on with the rest of them. Though I was tempted.
So here I am, just hours removed from his resignation address to the city council typing away with a deep sadness inside.
I’m sad for the women he harassed. Most of whom didn’t have a legitimate case against him. Asking for a date is not sexual harassment. A few, like Irene McCormack, have legitimate cases.
I’m sad for Bob Filner. He had a lot of potential to do good except his behavior got in the way.
I’m sad for the historically marginalized communities of San Diego. They/we are the real losers in this because things will go back to the way they were before Mayor Bob.
And I’m sad for myself. For the first time in my life I bought into the system. I bought into Bob Filner and what he could do. And he betrayed me. He betrayed all San Diego progressives. We deserved and deserve better.
I will not let that happen again. I will no longer buy into the Democrata party. If I vote it’ll be to keep out the Republiklans not because I support a candidate. And that’s a shame.