Righteous indignation

Channeling anger by turning a critical eye to the local daily

At 9:14 p.m. on Election Day, when I saw the writing on the wall, I asked my Facebook friends to remind me of the order of the five stages of grief. “I’m now past denial,” I wrote.

Anger came next, and I’ve been stuck there, though I’d prefer to call it righteous indignation. I’ve been most incensed at how Donald Trump’s election has emboldened the dark underbelly of racist America. Right in our backyard, my friends and neighbors have reported instances of bigotry: swastikas carved into the toilet seat at a North State rest stop, white supremacist propaganda scrawled on a flier at Chico State’s library, and fake deportation notices handed out to kids at a Redding high school.

Similar acts of racism have taken place throughout the country. Take, for instance, the mayor of a West Virginia town who posted on Facebook that she couldn’t wait to have Melania Trump—“a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady”—in the White House, and that she was “tired of seeing a (sic) Ape in heels.”

This surge of hate is real and disturbing, and it makes me ashamed of my fellow Americans in this nation of immigrants.

As a result, this week I’ve decided to channel my rage into something productive—in this case, criticism of the sleepy local daily whose editor refused to endorse not only a presidential nominee but also a congressional candidate during the most important general election of the modern era.

In his most recent Sunday column, Chico E-R Editor David Little offered no insight into the results of the presidential election or its repercussions nationally or locally. Instead, he waxed self-congratulatory about winning that newspaper’s office election pool and made what I’ll call a “no shit, Sherlock” prediction that Sean Morgan, Chico’s vice mayor, would be voted in as mayor in December. This, in a write-up with the headline “An ominous look ahead in Chico politics.”

Little thinks current Mayor Mark Sorensen won’t seek re-election in two years and that the other City Council conservatives whose seats will be up for grabs will win if they attempt to retain them. But the makeup of the panel could swing back to the lefties, and that would be a bad thing, he opined.

Over the years, I’ve stuck up for Little when I’ve heard rumblings about him being a puppet of conservative candidates. But it’s getting harder to do that when he shirks his duty to make endorsements and echoes propaganda, including that the three conservatives whose terms end in 2018 are responsible for “getting the city back on track financially and replenishing the depleted Police Department.”

As the record shows, a liberal majority was in charge in 2012 when the city took the steps to right its finances—coffers that were drained due to the worst depression since the Great Depression (i.e., “it’s the economy, stupid”). It was an improved local economy—following that of the nation—that ultimately got the city out of the red and allowed it to buoy the police department’s staffing. Any other narrative is a false one.

Little said “prescience is a terrible gift.” I’d like to know where that foresight was back in 2007, prior to the economic meltdown and when his newspaper had three times its current circulation. He ought to stop worrying about an election two years out and start worrying about the present.