The SEPTIC System

REPOST: Dumais and the San Diego Front of the Cultural War

In District Attorney on January 13, 2010 at 8:24 am
Originally posted Tuesday, January 12, 2010 by San Diego Americans for Safe Access www.safeaccesssd.org

The Cultural Wars Continue in San Diego

By: Rocky Neptun

San Diego’s District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis struts onto the stage, her swagger, her measured pace, her menacing stare in front of the cameras reminds me of the persona John Wayne created on his way to becoming an American icon. I once overheard him tell my aunt at breakfast that an acting advisor once told him that he had to forget his rather sissy name Marion and that he worked in an ice cream parlor and find an image which would represent the fading world of the “Old West.” Grinding away in B-movies, he successfully created a tough, super- masculine, militaristic image that went to the heart of what American Empire was all about; whether slaughtering Indians or carving up the ungrateful Vietnamese.

There is a popular video game circulating the Internet called “Heroes of Annihilated Empires” where mythical creatures live alongside humans in “lands which frontiers are impossible to be located on any world map presently” and whose actions “are able to change the world.” Like these “creatures,” John Wayne was never real – I saw it trapped in his eyes, a butchered Marion – he was a prisoner of his own sham; trapped in the image and the make-believe, and like that mechanical dummy of Abe Lincoln in Disneyland, wobbled through life owned by others and was what they needed him to be.

As I watch Dumanis swagger on to the platform, amid camera flashes and reporters’ shouts, my friend, who is Gay, whispers “Who does this tough broad think she is – Raymond Burr in high-heels?”

“No,” I answer, “I know many really tough gals who are Lesbians; cab drivers, construction workers, even a few rodeo gals, whose personalities are real, they are warm, caring persons.”

“This demeanor, this show, is not about Freudian over-compensation or being tough in a masculine world; it’s all about power and ambition,” I comment as she is book-ended on the stage by two modern “Dukes” of bluster and armed might, San Diego County Sheriff William B. Kolender, who allows his deputies to shoot down unarmed Latinos in the barrios and San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne who has protected murdering police officers, tries to encourage brutality against the homeless and uses his detectives to circumvent city ordinances.

John Wayne, even though he provided a cultural context, a mythical arrogance to the national character, which continues to drive American Empire, never, personally harmed anyone in his chimera; while Dumanis welds her power as District attorney to enrich herself and manipulate the legal system for personal ambition.

American Empire seems to be a double-edged sword. It is not just bombing distant cities to protect oil pipelines or corrupt world corporations. (Would Wayne’s modern movies show him gunning down Afghan poor in their own villages and homes?). Empire is also reflected in ideology and national assumptions. From the Romans to the British to modern Corporate-Owned Capitalism – an emerging state without defined borders and its own armed forces as the movie Avatar spectacularly highlights – the domination of others, the plunder of national resources, was always driven by a mind-set that depended on power and hierarchy.

Thus, the flip side of U.S. troops making the world safe for Wal-Mart and McDonalds is the other edge of the blade; narrowing the parameters of freedoms and liberties in our neighborhoods and in our everyday lives. Empire must own and control its base, provide wonderful motivations for conformity and terrible consequences for dissent and, most importantly, make alternatives not only impossible but unthinkable. Today, everywhere; human beings, either individually or in associations, such as governments, are increasingly incapable of calculating possibilities because the freedom to choose is an illusion. Like shoppers on an escalator or cattle prodded through chutes, there is no room to maneuver. Behavior is no longer innovative and spontaneous because consciousness itself [to stand apart, the ability to give things meaning] is hammered into a socially determined aspect of self. In a corporate-owned world, most of us are trapped by the lack of alternatives and increasingly, the ability to even imagine options.

Human praxis, the reflective process of thought and action, has become stunted; liberty an illusion, and the notion of individuality a cruel myth. C. Wright Mills’ warnings, decades ago, about the continuing constraints on human freedom by those who have institutional and economic power has come to pass. Political and economic tyranny, even the manipulation of truth itself, has become commonplace, with little dissent. Thus, the San Diego District Attorney can go before the press and not only spoon feed local journalists a fraudulent legal basis for her harassment and downright lies about her victims’ personal affairs but is never challenged by the media – even when her statements are not what the official court documents say.

Dumanis, like any self-respecting addict, is hooked on the egotism of power and the selfishness of wealth, the rewards of Corporate-owned Capitalism, its high, its opiate, its material comforts, its insatiable requisite for supremacy’s self-definition and purpose.

Her place in the continuing cultural wars for economic purposes, where everything is made into a commodity and sold at a price, even the health of one’s one body and the alleviation of pain, is assured as she persecutes and prosecutes medical marijuana users in San Diego. Her place at the public trough, her personal wealth extracted from wealthy corporate donors, especially the medical industry, overshadows and is an affront to her membership in our Rainbow Coalition. The violence of stalking ill persons, particularly fellow LGBT members, for personal ambition makes her addiction to wealth and power even more sad and pitiful.

My mother advises me not to suggest a fierce District Attorney is vindictive, deceitful, power hungry and a crook. Of course, dear old mom lives in the far-off piney woods of the Ozark Mountains and worries about her only son; she doesn’t see the shattered lives and broken families that Dumanis has scattered around San Diego neighborhoods.

My mother suggests that most politicians are dishonest from the get-go and that the money District Attorney Dumanis receives from selling her prosecutorial powers to a rich Chula Vista landlord to punish a local city councilman for voting against one of his projects or to corporate lobbyists who reward her legal jihad against ill people who are attempting to secure safe, legal, effective use of cannabis for their pain – rather than expensive, dangerous, addictive pain-killers packaged by wealthy corporations – is the reward for being in office.

I assure my mother I have nothing personal against the DA. In almost 20 years in San Diego, I have never been arrested or even had to pay a traffic fine. I can pity Dumanis; her infirmity, her madness, the tyrannical, autocratic abuse of authority for personal gain, like Nixon or Abramoff, and still fight the system that allows one person to have so much power to destroy lives, circumvent state law and the will of California voters and great personal greed.

“The authoritarian ideology she represents, owned by corporate dollars and backed by the armed might of all our militarized forces is what I fight,” I tell my mother, “not this tragic, fleshy android, another piece of equipment in Empire’s mechanism.”

What we Can Do to Help Our Fellow San Diegans in Pain

1. Call, write or e-mail your Council person and demand that quite hiding from the issue and develop ordinances that protect the rights and access of legal users of medical marijuana.
2. Contact the District Attorney’s office and insist that this blatant political use of her office to persecute and prosecute legitimate medical marijuana users stop.
3. Contact San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne and suggest that department manpower spent lying to doctors, falsifying documents, and infiltrating professional co-ops and collectives should cease – scarce funds could better be used to fight real crime against persons and property.

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