I think I’m a little bit furious.
Not because some shadowy group calling itself the “Coalition to Restore California’s Middle Class, Including Energy Companies Who Produce Gas, Oil, Jobs and Pay Taxes” (what a mouthful) spent a whopping $70,878 on “Cecilia Aguiar-Curry for Assembly” potholders, but because of all the cheesy promotional crap on Earth, this group chose potholders. The only other item possibly more sexist and demeaning would be an apron, but aprons are larger and more difficult to mail, so they went with potholders.
Let’s get this up front and center: Cecilia didn’t fund, endorse or mail any potholders. I know, because I asked her myself.
The potholders are the latest grievance in a pile of campaign mail endorsing Cecilia, and many immediately conclude that because these groups spent money on her campaign, she is loyal to their Big Oil causes.
Hey — do you drive a car or purchase groceries at the supermarket, where every single item arrives on a truck? If so, you are loyal to Big Oil causes. So, maybe shut your self-righteous yap.
Furthermore, an unsolicited endorsement doesn’t equate agreement. If some nutwing KKK loves to read my column, does that mean I support the KKK? Talk about erroneous logic. Let’s try and engage our brains a little, rather than taking the path of least resistance/effort that leads to bite-sized histrionics.
I present Exhibit A, which arrived by email recently:
“For years, I have read your column published in ‘The Davis Enterprise’ on Sundays. While I haven’t always agreed with your perspective (though most of the time I do), I appreciate your insights.
“Your endorsement of Ms. Aguilar-Curry two weeks ago stunned me and I’ve become even more suspicious of her forthrightness as a candidate since then. The amount of mailings I have received is crazy — one day three different pieces of material related to her candidacy arrived in my mailbox. Today alone I received two more, including a potholder.
“I had read she has been the beneficiary of large financial contributions from the oil and gas industry. Certainly she has far too much money to spend on a campaign. The result of her flood of literature to this house is to further deter me from voting for her and makes me very suspicious about the ‘forces’ behind her campaign. I will hope others view her expenditure of money similarly.
“Perhaps you will reconsider your endorsement or at least speak to this issue in a future column.”
Let’s unpack this.
First, the mountain of mailers. I have them, too. I don’t like them, either. Guess what: Not one of the mailers I’ve received came from Cecilia. I have eight of them sitting next to me right now, and every one says on the back: “This advertisement was not authorized or paid for by a candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a candidate for this office.” People should actually read the fine print before launching into sanctimonious outrage.
Yes, Big Oil groups paid for much of this junk mail, and nobody was more surprised about that than Cecilia. I know, because again, I simply asked her. She said she didn’t know about the fliers, the money has been returned, and she’s working on an official response. In other words, this is all news to her, too, and she’s assessing the situation and plans to respond. Someone please explain to me how a careful, thoughtful approach indicates an underlying character flaw.
The kerfuffle behind all this Big Oil for Cecilia stuff was sparked by a video on candidate Dan Wolk’s Facebook page, of a May 4 Woodland League of Women Voters forum. Regarding fracking, Cecilia commented that “the jury is still out.” The video was obviously and clumsily cut before she finished speaking, and then it jumps to Wolk’s response, which, if you break it down, doesn’t say much more than “Fracking bad, m’kay?” Cecilia’s complete, uncut response, however, was that she wants to gather more information before making a decision.
So … getting accurate data is … a bad thing?
Cecilia’s official response to the fracking flap, as reported in The Enterprise was, “I support a moratorium on fracking because of serious concerns that have been raised about the impact on the environment. In fact, my exact quote to the Sierra Club in March was: ‘I believe that a moratorium on fracking would be prudent so we can study its overall impacts to our environment.'”
Me, I have no problem with seeking accurate data as opposed to popping off a glib “fracking bad, m’kay?”
Now, back to the potholders. They have me fuming. The message is blatant: Women belong in the kitchen … women can’t handle important jobs … better they stick to cookin’ and makin’ babies. They are astonishingly demeaning and belittling; so 1950s-ago.
Oddly enough, the potholders were funded by the same Big Oil group. There’s a logical disconnect here. Why would this group dump a truckload of money into Cecilia’s campaign, and then turn around and remind us that she’s “just a lowly woman” and maybe the big jobs should be left to the big boys.
My conspiracy theory antennae are trembling. What if the Big Oil donation, was surreptitiously positioned to be used as a catchy reason to turn voters off? That was the slam, and then came the dunk of astoundingly sexist symbolism. I have to wonder if it’s all part of a master scheme to tank Cecilia’s candidacy. Or maybe the Big Oil backers are tone-deaf morons about sexism.
Either way, it’s irrelevant, because I don’t really care what the “supporters” have to say. I know Cecilia. Personally. She’s got a long track record. When she started dedicating herself to Winters, Wolk was still in junior high. I’m confidant that Cecilia will transition to the state level seamlessly.
So. As requested, I’ve spoken to this issue. Reconsider my endorsement of Cecilia? Oh, hell no. I’m doubling down. I will absolutely vote for Cecilia for Assembly. But I may burn the potholder.
* This column was not authorized or paid for by a candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a candidate for this office.
— Email Debra DeAngelo at firstname.lastname@example.org; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com