The Victimhood at the Heart of Conservative Politics in Humboldt

From John Fullerton to Matthew Owen to Tim Martin a mean streak of victimhood runs through the rhetoric.
I think it’s important to call this out because it doesn’t seem like it’s going to end anytime soon and it does nothing to help clarify the critical political or policy discussions that we need to have.
John Fullerton’s entire campaign for City Council seemed centered on his contention that he and his surrogates alone could be depended on to run a positive campaign.  I paid pretty close attention to the race and I cannot think of any policy initiative that Mr. Fullerton fullertonwished to get out to the public more than his idea that those on Councilmember Allison’s campaign were treating him unfairly.  All this, btw, while he said during the Elk Club debate that his three campaign themes were based largely on how he distinguishes himself from his competitor Councilmember Allison.
Tim Martin who came out as victimized Trump voter last Sunday in the Times Standard had this to say…
“If you are a white male, lock your jaw, grid your loins, and steel yourself proper. It takes a thick skin to survive in America. You are passed over for job promotions and college scholarships because you are already “rich and privileged.” You are labeled a bigot and a demon that doesn’t deserve anyone’s respect.  You will be made to feel unwelcome in groups of women and minorities, and among members of the LGBQT community because after all, “you are the problem here.”
Mr. Martin continued …
Once you label someone, you negate them. It doesn’t seem to bother liberals, though, especially if that someone is white.”
…and, btw,  it also doesn’t seem to bother Mr. Martin however because he ended what was wonderfully characterized in a letter to the editor today as a “diatribe” like this…
“Somehow, the left fails to understand that segregating whites and minorities is not multiculturalism by any stretch — it’s pure, straight-up brownshirt fascism.”
Matthew Owen and his wife Supervisor Bass are the current champions of this tactic and I am convinced their political success has driven other Eurekans such as former Councilmember Chet Albin to John Fullerton to try similar political triangulation tactics rather than running on their personal convictions.
For those coming into Humboldt’s ongoing political circus late, Matthew Owen is an outspoken and influential local Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Consultant who has been the center of right-wing politics for way before I started paying attention to local politics.  If you are lucky you might catch him calling out progressives as regressives and while also arguing he is the true progressive in one of his Lost Coast Outpost columns.  His most important local recurring political recurring role is, however, as a supporter of his wife’s campaigns.   Owens and Bass along with friend Richard Marks form a trinity of connected insiders who all share this idea that they are the victims of a) HCDCC Democrats  b) an extreme, regressive, & uncivil left or c) both.  Even given the fact that they are the ones making an continuing overt attempt to obtain the imprimatur the left-of-center political party while all 3 show continued public of support a staid and conservative local political line-up.(1)
Here is Mr. Owen from his latest column, after making sure we all know how Democratic he is by spending the first half of his opinion piece taking on President Trump.
“I’m a little confused as I’ve been called a Trump supporter by some local Berners when I’ve been quite vocal in print of my opposition to Trump. Keep in mind these are some of the same people who don’t have the common courtesy to meet and have a face-to-face adult conversation with me. For the past decade I’ve reached out to The Left and the Right as I believe we have more in common than what divides us. Just because we disagree on political issues, doesn’t mean we have to be disagreeable with each other.”
Ugh.  First of all, yes, we do have more in common than what divides us.  Outside of Rob Arkley we all think that the work Betty Chin does is amazing.  We all wish to celebrate the 10’s or hundreds of organizations and people doing great work for Eureka.  We all wish to drive on well-maintained roads and work for a fair policing of our neighborhoods.  Yes.
But what is it that a discussion with you brings to the table for those on the left?  I’ve been at what 10 or 15 HCDCC meetings with you in attendance as an Associate Member.  What is it that you contributed other than assistance in fundraising.  What is it that the left has to gain from affiliating itself with you?  Remember that Democrats win state-wide by approximately 25% and Bernie sanders won beat Hillary Clinton by 71.0% to 29.0%.  What, exactly, is it that you offer these voters?
Is it to promise to continue to label them as “regressive” in column after column?  Is it a reminder that you are a hard worker for a yuge multi-national bank and how we can become one too?  Is it how to separate the plight of the homeless from our cut-throat economic system?  Is it to support a candidate for Board of Supervisors whose focus is honoring land-owner’s rights when considering land-use planning for the next 25 years? Is it to give up on universal health care because you can’t figure out how to pay for it when all other wealthy industrialized countries have? (2)
Lookit John, Tim, Matt and all other politicians and/or political pundits who are doing pretty good in this economy, please get a grip.  Politics is not for the feint of heart.  It shouldn’t be.  Through politics, policy and government we are making very real, very meaningful decisions each and every day.  If the past month and a half of the Trump administration doesn’t prove this to you then you are not paying attention.  I don’t know if you all are being disingenuous or if you are simply not paying attention.  Turn on KINS radio and listen to what the right is calling the left.  Go to work as an employee in the private sector and see how many rights you have to express your views or fight for a living wage.
I am not encouraging anyone to call anyone an enemy, evil, a brown shirt, regressive or racists; nor do I support negative adverting during a campaign.  I do encourage everyone who has the opportunity arise to sit down over a beverage and have an open non-confrontational discussion with those with whom you disagree.  Matthew, I’ll even do everything in my power to get a meeting with you with the NCPA members you’d like to meet with.  But all of us adults, especially those who opine in public or are responsible for deciding public policy, must develop a thicker skin.
Yes, there is some point when negative campaigning or name-calling must be called out, but being the victim of left-wing name calling should quickly come to an end  as a political strategy here on the North Coast, hopefully before the realization by pundits or politicians that it does more harm than good to their own political aspirations.
You are who you are. You believe in that which you believe. You will vote this way or that on this or that policy.  Sometimes things will get ugly during the campaign or during a policy discussion.  Not everyone will wish to speak with you, no matter how wonderful you think your ideas might be.  We shouldn’t hope for callous or uncivil behavior, but we shouldn’t find it especially unusual when so much is on the line for so many.  That is the nature of politics and we should all be proud to be a part of a system where, more often than not, these discussions and decisions are made peacefully and with at least a modicum of respect.


(1)   Supervisor Bass continues to endorse the right-of-center local politicians such as, well, John Fullerton, Mike Newman, Chet AlbinMarian Brady and Rex Bohn before*. See also this for a little historical context of the long-standing Bass/Owen/Marks partnership.  (*The last link also notes that now Planning Commissioner Brian Mitchell also joined Supervisor Bass in supporting the nascent candidacy of now Supervisor Bohn.)

(2) From the article below by Mr. Owen “Free medical care. Great idea! How do we pay for that? “


My skin color is my curse in today’s America (Tim Martin | Times Standard | February 26th, 2017)

MATTHEW IN THE MIDDLE: The World According To Trump (PLUS: Eureka Looks Like ‘Crap’) (Matthew Owen | Lost Coast Outpost | March 3rd, 2017)

Martin piece ‘tired rhetoric more suitable for trolling’ (Jane Higley | Times Standard Letters to the Editor | March 5th, 2017)


2 thoughts on “The Victimhood at the Heart of Conservative Politics in Humboldt

  1. Mary Ella Anderson says:

    I don’t know Tim Martin but I feel sorry for him. He seems to want the approval of people he despises. Perhaps women and others don’t feel comfortable around him because he’s labeling them and telegraphing his low opinion of them..

  2. Henchman Of Justice says:

    Tim Martin is on point about reverse discrimination and racism by the liberal kooks, but enough conservative kooks desere the labeling as well.

    The way liberals and conservatives work within the 2 party system structure is to hurt the Common Man…… and when the Common Man critiques the abuse and voices it, then the liberal-left and reich-rightie blames the common man even more while lacing a response with some psychosomatic gesture…….HOJ has caught on wisely to the tactics and finds it all is fair in war and politics to puke back the retoric.

    John F. and Matt O. are not “common men”, but rotary club elitists at the grass roots level…..

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