Diary of a Mad County

Wednesday, Sept. 7
Former moderate Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announces that he will veto a bill passed by the California legislature legalizing same-sex marriages. Schwarzenegger, who has chided opponents as weak-kneed "girlie men," doesn't have the guts to say whether he supports the bill itself. Instead, he hides behind his press secretary, Margarita Thompson, a woman, who says the issue was decided when voters approved Proposition 22, which defined marriage as being between a man and a woman. "We cannot have a system where the people vote and the legislature derails that vote. Out of respect for the will of the people, the governor will veto [the bill]." Will of the people? If Schwarzenegger is so driven to follow the will of the people, why doesn't he cancel the special election he's jamming down their throats? Why doesn't he think about the will of the people who elected him who said they were tired of a weak-willed douche bag in the governor's office chasing after special-interest money—he's collected more than $22 million so far. Will of the people? How quickly do you think the South would have integrated had it been left to the will of the people? Here's a clue: Georgia just approved a new poll tax. Apparently what Schwarzenegger, who isn't from this country, fails to understand is that we don't live in a direct democracy but a representative form where elected officials are expected to govern so we have time to harvest our crops, marry our cousins and tarry, at all times, tarry. The Founding Fathers were absolutely terrified of the people, knowing that the will of the majority almost always involved the subjugation of the minority, whether it's African-American, Irish, Jewish, Japanese-American or gay. We depend on courageous lawmakers to do the right thing, people such as Assemblyman Tom Umberg, who may have sacrificed a successful run at a state Senate seat by voting his conscience and voting for the bill. He did this despite the fact that his 69th District voted 70 percent in favor of Prop. 22. The irony is that his district is overwhelmingly Latino, a group targeted by "the people" a few years ago by Proposition 187, which sought to deny many of them—and their children—access to education and medical care. Schwarzenegger could learn something from Umberg or from an old book that looks at eight statesmen who took similarly courageous but unpopular stands for the greater good. It's called Profiles in Courage. If the governor isn't familiar with it, he might ask his wife, a woman. I believe she's familiar with the author.

Thursday, Sept. 8
In a world where effete governors don't have the courage to act, one man was willing to take a stand. Edward Joseph O'Neill was a simple businessman—owner of Newport Beach's Ho Sum Bistro—who asked only to be afforded the quiet one would expect living near the Balboa Pier. But they finally pushed this man of peace—with a cache of guns—too far tonight. According to police, some Disneyland employees were at the beach near O'Neill's home, brazenly not drinking, not doing drugs, not listening to music, not shooting off fireworks, not making much noise at all, though you can bet the thugs were talking a blue streak about cute puppies and how children are our future. And that's when it got personal. Sword personal. Police say O'Neill walked up to the mob and asked, "Are you the people banging your swords out here?" They said they didn't know what he was talking about, which is what sword bangers always say—look it up, it's in the Bible. It was at that point, allegedly, that O'Neill did the only thing left to him: pulled a handgun from his waistband and fired it once in the direction of two members of the group. The bullet is believed to have gone over their heads and into the ocean, where it no doubt struck a sword-banging dolphin whose blowhole had gotten too big for his britches. As you'd expect, The Man got involved; apparently it's now illegal to shoot at people—damn activist judges. Still, O'Neill stood his ground. And that's where the police found him: heroically standing his ground attempting to sneak out of a back window of his house.

Friday, Sept. 9
And apparently there is no slaking the blood lust of the Disneyland cabal. No longer satisfied with tormenting innocent gun-toters and -firerers, news comes that Disneyland employees set upon a journalist today, who was covering an important summit at the theme park between actress Reese Witherspoon's 6-year-old daughter and her friends. According to police, photographer Todd K. Wallace was just doing his job—chasing after the group, thrusting his camera and body at them, terrifying small children and making them cry—when Disneyland storm troopers stepped in to stop him. Is this what John Wayne died for at Iwo Jima and again at True Grit?

Saturday, Sept. 10
I edit our Letters page, and I'd like to take this time to answer an e-mail I received today from a D.N. in Newport Beach, who writes: "Democracy is dead in the OC because not a single one of the 17 candidates campaigning to replace Rep. Chris Cox on Oct. 6 is for the proposed El Toro International Airport." Hey, D., it gets worse: none of the candidates are for the proposed Newport-to-Tokyo footbridge, either.

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