Will you accept Lei Ann Larson as mayor?
Will you accept Ben Cantu as mayor?
Will you accept Gary Singh as mayor?
There is a high conceit circulating among some of the most adherent — and most vocal — supporters of the three Manteca mayoral candidates, that one or more of the other candidates are completely unacceptable.
They have their reasons.
You may agree or you may disagree.
But that doesn’t really matter.
The question is will you accept the outcome?
That doesn’t mean acting like a scolded dog and putting your tail between your legs and slinking away or rolling over and playing dead.
But is also doesn’t mean conducting the equivalent of dogs mauling anyone in their path that is not a part of the pack that disagrees with them every chance you get starting from the first week of December when the next mayor’s term starts until the next mayoral election in Nov. 3, 2026.
Imagine, if you will, the reaction from those that dislike Larson the most if she were elected mayor.
Imagine, if you will, the reaction from those that dislike Singh the most if he were elected mayor.
You don’t have to imagine too much about the reaction of those that dislike Cantu the most if he is re-elected mayor because we have experienced that for the past four years.
The only difference is the animosity toward Cantu by his biggest detractors has been more like diluted venom lite for the past 47 months compared to what is going on now.
It also doesn’t mean conducting non-stop political guerilla warfare because one is smug in the belief the ends justify the means simply because the biggest share of your neighbors that bothered to vote disagreed with your basic premise about the state of affairs in Denmark.
This election, according to those that have taken a blow torch to the campaign process, is not just about if there is something rotten but everything is rotten in Denmark.
It is an interesting position as why would one stay here if things were that awful and housing prices are such if you are tethered to a mortgage you can still flee to safer pastures?
Do not misunderstand. This is not a line being drawn in the sand that you need to either love Manteca or leave it.
It’s about an unwillingness to be fully invested in the process that one is hellbent on tearing down.
Even though some will read what they want into this, is not about one side or another. It’s anyone who engages in repeated personal attacks, mocking, sophomoric behavior, doing something and then denying it, abandons all sense of decorum, and keeps hammering away in their worked up rage being fueled by the blind assumption that they occupy the only right side on an issue and that the “facts” as they see them are 100 percent black and white with absolutely no hint of dilution.
Shades of gray for such people do not exist.
At the same time, there clearly is a shortage of mirrors in Manteca.
There are calls for peace from those who disavow a vicious attacks conducted on their behalf.
There is also a bit too much piousness from those who do not condemn personal attacks directed back at those that more than pushed the envelope.
Apparently there isn’t an overwhelming concern these days on the part of a number of people to occupy the higher moral ground.
That is not as much as to claim same sort of superiority but to act civilized in public discourse that’s key to a collection of 88,000 individuals and growing in the drive to strengthen the community for everyone’s benefit.
There is no way that any two people see eye-to-eye on anything. Multiple the given truth 88,000 times per resident and then multiply that 89,999 more times and add up all of the variables and it is amazing anything works without people manning the barricades at the tap of the “enter” key.
Yet, most of us try not to run traffic lights, try not to go above the speed limit and try not to run stop signs.
Given how hideous we think some are that view things differently than we do, it is amazing that every Monday people make their way to the Manteca VFW Hall on Moffat Boulevard to donate blood without giving a thought their blood could be saving someone’s life that has staked out a diametrically opposed position in Manteca politics.
Maybe we do get it. Maybe this is all about letting off steam.
Perhaps elections — even local ones — have become the equivalent of people going to trendy Rage Rooms in bigger cities and smash things for $50 to get rid of their frustrations.
It might make sense given there are few people — if any — that think everything is hunky dory in Manteca. Keep in mind because one isn’t thrilled with everything doesn’t mean they think Manteca is going to hell in a handbasket.
That said, in the words of Toby Wells, one of the shortest serving city managers in Manteca history, “Manteca has got to be doing a lot of things right if people keep moving here.”
No one is going to commit to buying a $600,000 to $1.2 million tract home in a hell-hole.
Perhaps the bigger truth is the tsunami of noise, accusations, breathless declarations, and rumblings of 8.0 on the emotional Richter scale is not as widespread as we think.
Maybe those that have staked out positions as if it is a matter of death or life doesn’t reflect the — one hates to use the term due to political connotations — “silent majority” of Manteca residents.
They’re not 100 percent thrilled about things and they channel the practical sensibilities of dogs in that there is no upside to soiling where you sleep.
For all of the noise, 10 will get you one that there will be far from a record turnout of voters for the Manteca mayor’s race.
The real challenge candidates for mayor should make of their fellow candidates is simple.
They need to say they are willing to accept the results in advance of the outcome of the Nov. 8 election and conduct themselves in the manner of an opposition loyal to Manteca and not hellbent on destroying the other side.
They then need to challenge their opponents — and their supporters — to take the pledge as well.
This column is the opinion of editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinions of The Bulletin or 209 Multimedia. He can be reached at email@example.com