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Friday, October 28, 2016

Meet Nathan Fletcher, candidate for mayor of San Diego.

He will lose, at least if the polls are right. But he has raised a minor stir through a video posted online a few days back. In it, he explains his decision to leave the Republican Party and identify henceforth as an independent. “I don’t believe we have to treat people we disagree with as an enemy,” he says. “I think we can just say sometimes we disagree. … I’ve fought in a war,” adds Fletcher, a Marine who served in Iraq. “I have seen the enemy. We don’t have enemies in our political environment here.”

Fletcher’s decision has been scorned by observers from both parties as a desperate gamble by a guy trying to shake up a flagging campaign. Maybe it is. But that doesn’t denigrate the essential truth of what he said, and in particular, that word he used: enemies.

It is a telling term. After all, one might negotiate with an “opponent.” One only contends against an “adversary.” But one seeks to destroy an enemy.

And it makes you wonder: Is that really the way we the people see ourselves? The evidence of recent years suggests that it is. The so-called culture wars — a battle of ideas and ideals concerning abortion, faith, gay rights, gun rights, Muslim rights, global warming, health care, immigration — are fought with splenetic bile that would have been unthinkable not too very long ago.

But that was before a congressman heckled a president, before guns were brought to presidential appearances, before a radio host called a college woman a “slut,” before someone set a fire at the construction site of a Tennessee mosque, before “I want my country back” became a rallying cry. It was before there grew this gnawing sense that we do not know each other anymore, that the extremes are pulling the center apart.

Nor is Fletcher the only one to notice. Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican moderate, announced her retirement a little over a month ago, blaming the dysfunction and polarization of American politics.

One is tempted, in the spirit of moral equivalence, to ascribe blame for this polarization to both parties, but that is simply untrue. For all their sins of ineptitude, infighting, cynicism, and even occasional name calling, it is not the Democrats who have gone off the ideological deep end.

  • Michael Sankpill

    As a gay man, he’s cute..but I wouldn’t vote for him.

  • @Michael Sankpill:

    You’re pathetic!! Your kind are next!

  • montanabill

    Apparently Mr. Pitts doesn’t read the vitriolic posts made by his followers. By the way, Leonard, the far left is not the new center.

    • rustacus21

      … I wouldn’t either – or disregard it out of habit… The ‘Left’, by the way, is, like the “Right’, a corporate media, pavlovian ‘sign’ language, to invoke ‘cue’ responses for the low-information, intellectually challenged, unsophisticated Conservative voter. This way, Conservatives voters won’t have to think, weigh &/or consider alternatives, but more importantly, saves them the trouble of thinking ‘critically’ & deeply about candidates/issues/reality. Conservatives seem lost & out of step at this point in time, b/c they ARE… & 4 reason stated above…

      • montanabill

        They are just confused by a President who says one thing and does another and says a lot of things that just aren’t true, a Senate majority leader who refuses to create a budget but feels free to criticize someone who does or a Speaker of the House who says we have to pass bills to find out what is in them. A whole gang of people in political leadership who say, “Yes, we can”, but never have. Just too confusing for most of us.

        • rustacus21

          It’s all about the $$$! Once Conservatives allowed it in, unchecked & then placed a nepotistic Court system to ‘compliment’ it, we’re back to, or worse than where we were EXACTLY 100 years ago, when WE, the PEOPLE said we wanted that filthy, dirty, vile, payoff, extortion MONEY OUT OF OUR POLITICS! Obviously, the national conscience isn’t 100 years long enuff, but the greed of generations of selfish, dictatorial, tyrannical elites certainly is…

  • perplejado

    Nice retort, Shakur, it is always amusing when the commentators reinforce the writer’s point.

  • MS14107

    Yhis is exactly the kind of politician that should be put in office , yet it rarely happens. The followers of the Right are so gullible and have been so brainwashed. That’s why you’re more likely to see Democrat voters swayed to vote for Independents. I agree with the views of the writer and Mr. Fletcher.


      the liberal goons wont let that happen.ryan wants o make an ultra sound law for people wanting abortions so a woman can see her baby AND MAYBE NOT WANT AN ABORTION but you liberals now say he wantsabortions. wake up you will never get real people to run as long as you keep reed and polosi. thank god dodd and frank quit

  • Clarpark24

    What would be John Boehner’s life span as Speaker if he went to the White House basement a couple of nights a week, drank a beer with Barack Obama, told war stories and looked for possible compromises? As a liberal Democrat, I’d applaud both the President and Speaker for trying to dial down the rhetoric and find a way forward. But the Republican “base” would crucify Boehner with Eric “Me, me, pick me” Cantor leading the charge.

    I think I’m, on average, pretty close to the ideological middle of the Democratic party. Extend the retirement age for future Social Security recipients? We have no choice, but the first move should be end the limits on the payroll tax. End corporate taxes? Great, no tax loss and no more tax breaks for sale in Congress. Tax hikes for the wealthy? This country’s future viability requires it, but we can do it by killing deductions and the capital gains dodge without increasing marginal rates. National healthcare of some kind? Take your head out, look at the UK and tell me how anyone could rationally oppose this. Set an ex utero viability point as the last date for elective abortion and require every reasonable effort to deliver a live baby in late term abortions to save the mother’s life? Nothing else makes practical or ethical sense. Make women jump through hoops to have legal abortions or let employers hide behind religious objections to avoid healthcare coverage for reproductive services? Over my dead body. Illegal immigrants? Provide a short path to legalization and loosen immigration restrictions; those immigrants are our future. Same sex marriage? Why on earth should I have anything to say about which consenting adult you marry?

    How many of the GOP candidates for president this year are even willing to discuss those issues except to adamantly deny they’d ever entertain any possibility of compromise? Giving 25% of the population on an extreme end of the political spectrum an absolute veto over national policy is the end of the American experiment. The right is outraged that healthcare reform proceeds despite the opposition of a plurality. Where’s the outrage over roadblocking gun control when 60% of the American people support it?

    Yes, we’ve got Markos Moulitsas and other zealots on the far left who want to create ideological purity tests too. The difference is: we’re letting them talk, not letting them drive.

    • grannyk8

      Well said! We have let greed, ignorance, and hatred take the wheel, The cliff is not far ahead.

    • Who are you and will you please run for office? Please!

  • Dsporn

    Bravo to Nathan Fletcher! Where can we get more men and women, rather than pay-to-play politicians who spend all there time on gaming the system for personal benefit.

    I hope more patriotic citizens with views similar to Fletcher will step forward and be accounted for. It’s been a long time coming.

    • rustacus21

      Comments like THIS are why the nation ABSOLUTELY NEEDS more men & ESPECIALLY WOMEN, of this same coherence & determination to conduct government in CONJUNCTION w/their co-legislators, in ADVANCE & PROMOTION of the wishes & desires of the citizenry!!! Where are the PATRIOTS?! Here’s 1, so lets show REAL SUPPORT & get this guy (U gals, come on TOO!!!!!!!) ELECTED!!!


      well ryan is trying that, but obamas people make him look like .well you know push granny off the cliff. with people like that who would want to and polosi calling gop. the are bacteria. but that is ok that is obamas people

  • howa4x

    This is what happens what you let a radical fringe push the center out of the party. There is now a purity test in the republican party administered by people like Grover Norquist for taxes, Rush Limbough for social issues, Fox news for creedentialing, the Wall st journal for economic policy, and the religious right for reproductive issues. You must a white Christian male, be for no taxes on the wealthy, for continuous war, with anyone, anytime, continue corporate welfare for the oil companies and like industries, allow the 1% to hide money outside the country to avoid paying taxes, bailout any big company that needs it, be willing to cut social programs for the poor and middle class, privatize social security, cut medicare by vouchering it, dismantle agencies like the EPA , FDA, FCC, SEC FTA HHS, and any other the mob yells for.
    This is the Republican party circa 2012


      you pick on rush for what he says. when a collage student wants me to pay for her having sex, i would say she is a slut.bbut she is a liberal like you.tired of paying for obamas unions and our teachers that are leaching on retired peoples pensions, you do know teachers are paid with property taxes. they are the people being pushed out of their homes

      • howa4x

        there are many people that work for govt at many levels and not just teachers,who by the way are educating the next generation that will keep paying for your SS. Rush is a lap dog of the 1% whose wealth went up 256% during the Bush tax cuts. He is paid millions by them to lie to you to get you to vote against your own self interest and that of children and the middle class. They depend on people like you who have the inability to decern issues, and would rather hear catchy slogans that debate real issues. You can’t turn back the clock , and women will be having pre material sex. What is the difference of paying for birth control or Ins companies paying for Viagra, so if you want to cancel one than the other goes too. You right wingers are the proponents of social Darwinism and support winners and distain losers. You have no idea what Christ was talking about so you would give to the people who need it least and take from the people who need it the most. The 1% after getting the tax cut shipped 2.9 million jobs out of the country and middle class wages were flat and little job growth. So keep listening to Rush, and believe his lies and watch the economy crumble for those you love.

  • William Deutschlander

    The Republican Idealogy is no longer of our Earth, their sick idealogy has cast them out into far off space, without oxygen, only toxic gas!


      obama is the biggest lieing president we ever had and yu love him that shows what is wrong with our country.

  • We DO have enemies in this country. They are congressional republcans.

    • rustacus21

      … but by the same token, we ARE their bosses. If they behave unruly, we have the ‘recall’ mechanism to oust them from office. This little used option should be discussed more, over the course of the next several months, as recall elections are currently going on in WI, MI & OH, among other states. It was once said… ‘…people shouldn’t fear their governments; it’s government who should fear its people…’ By virtue of our ‘OWNERSHIP’ of the government of America, we have ABSOLUTELY NO BUSINESS acting confused over what needs to be done to fix our nation & KEEP IT FIXED, in the model it was left for the incoming 2001-2009 administration. We R all Americans. Democracy is our defining quality. Yet, only Conservatives ‘see’ enemies among us, in every direction. Lets ALL commit to rejecting such pathologies & paranoid psychosis’. If they don’t understand or even if they ‘hate’ Democracy, they have no business participating in it – They can’t get in office if no 1 votes 4 them, after all…

  • I had a poly sci professor who put it best, he said “in a free society the people get exactly as good a government as they deserve”. This will not be a popular post but please take 15 seconds to think before you reply. WE THE PEOPLE are responsible for the current poisoning of politics. We allow leaders to speak about enemies instead of opposition. We vote based on 10 second sound bites and 3 word phrases instead of looking deeper at meaning. This young man represents what is happening in this country. We can still disagree with each other and we should from time to time. We just need to show some respect to one another and honor one of the greatest beliefs ever said about our country. “I may not agree with what you say,but will fight to the death for your right to say it”. This country has serious problems to deal with, and they will not be solved by “party purity”, whatever that means.

  • rustacus21

    The cream always – ALWAYS rises to the top! It has to ‘course’ thru much gook & slop on the way to the top, but Mr. Nathan Fletcher – I do believe U ARE on U’r way to something truly remarkable!!! All the people want is to hear is the truth. All they want to see is VIRTUE in ACTION. Give them that, w/out conflict, w/out backtracking, w/out mincing words – w/out COMPROMISE!!! & who knows… U could be the 1st Independent president 4 a long while. Oh, & the 1st Independent I’ve voted 4 since 1988!!!