A Reader Writes: A few choice words for Popaditch
The recent explanation in Probe concerning Nick Popaditch’s political future was off the mark. Probe stated Mr. Popaditch “plans to go to Washington to do the right thing and bring back ethics to Congress.” Based on Mr. Popaditch’s behavior in his unsuccessful effort against Bob Filner, that doesn’t wash.
When the flap over the Imperial Valley Press cartoonist’s caricature of Mr. Popaditch-as-pirate occurred, the Popaditch camp became hysterical over a piece that was supposed to be light-hearted, even complimentary. Mr. Popaditch came off as a hypocrite because he traded on his image as a bald, cigar-chomping, eye-patched tough guy. Tough guys don’t cry over a cartoon.
What is worse is Mr. Popaditch’s sordid behavior on Election Day 2010. Mr. Popaditch and approximately 100 of his supporters physically trapped Rep. Filner and his small retinue against a pillar at Golden Hall in San Diego, the headquarters of Rep. Filner’s campaign. As Mr. Popaditch’s minions screamed epithets and threats, a Filner supporter was punched in the face as a smiling Mr. Popaditch stood 10 feet away. That is so wrong on so many counts I don’t know where to begin.
I’ll start with the fact that as a defender of democracy, Mr. Popaditch should have known, but clearly did not, what it was he was defending. His intimidation of Rep. Filner and his supporters was as undemocratic as it gets. It was fascistic. It was an act of gross cowardice unbefitting a man who was awarded the Silver Star. The irony of this is that no one — and I mean no one — has done more for veterans than Rep. Filner. What is worse is that I know several Marines, active and former, who felt Mr. Popaditch dishonored our beloved Corps through his thuggish behavior.
(That indicates a far deeper problem, the overt politicization of the military, which extends at least back to the Reagan era — and which I saw firsthand as a Marine reservist in the 80s — but space precludes me from expanding on that often overlooked issue.)
Before anyone gets upset about me attacking a war hero, listen up. There have been many Republican politicians who were real combat heroes, men such as Bob Dole, John Chafee, John McCain, Colin Powell and George Schultz, to name but a few. The difference between these accomplished, honorable Republicans and Mr. Popaditch is that the former were/are gentlemen.
As for my own yearlong, undistinguished tour in Vietnam, I won no decorations but the usual fruit salad everyone else received. I was competent, reliable and did my job as well as any other 19-year old jarhead in the mud and the blood over there.
Probe may have been right on one thing. Sending Mr. Popaditch to Congress might be a good fit. With the incessant disrespect, indeed, demonization of Democrats, especially President Obama, by Republicans (“You lie!” shouted Rep. Wilson, R-S.C., as the president delivered his State of the Union speech), well, Mr. Popaditch would certainly be welcomed on that side of the aisle.
I read somewhere Mr. Popaditch was pursuing a degree in social studies, a degree I earned while Mr. Popaditch was in grade school. Given his past behavior, I’m sure he will find earning his teaching credential, should he attempt it, quite daunting. There is no small amount of civil deportment expected in public education. The rules of engagement demand it.
Whether Mr. Popaditch’s service in Congress would “serve all the people, not just the 53rd (Congressional District),” as his media rep, Al Provencio, says, is, needless to say, an open question. Given the facts, however, for that to happen would require a personal adjustment I’m not sure Mr. Popaditch is willing or, more profoundly, even able to make.
It is hoped Probe will be more discerning in its choice of words when describing Mr. Popaditch. “Ethics” and “right thing” are not appropriate where Mr. Popaditch is concerned.
Scott Fullerton, El Centro.