Fort Bragg’s Kung Fu Candidate

by Rex Gressett, October 26, 2016

Well, the ballots are out and therefore the election is effectively over. Now begins that period of reflection and waiting that may go on for quite a while after the final vote Nov 7, if experience is any guide.

The City of Fort Bragg is physically divided at Pine Street between the big fancy houses north of that east-west thoroughfare and the rather smaller and, to my way of thinking, more homey and intimate houses south of Pine. Every house north of Pine that has a campaign sign on the lawn is supporting Menzies. And, by an enormous margin, houses south of Pine, the far greater area of the city, have signs for Bernie Norvell and or Will Lee. The blue signs are to the south; the sort of orange/pink multicolor signs trumpeting Menzies to the north, like the Civil War with reversed colors.

Two of the four candidates who opposed Mr. Menzies in principle have removed themselves from the race to give the stronger candidates better leverage against him.

Menzies has wisely said nothing at all. Well, almost nothing. In Fort Bragg our most sacred election ritual is the public forum sponsored by The League of Women Voters and assisted somehow by the Fort Bragg Advocate-News newspaper. Menzies could not avoid it and was forced to speak a few words. They were his only public utterances in the campaign, although he must have been saying something to his not inconsiderable number of supporters. But the general public has no remote idea. His slogan is "Scott Menzies fighting for local solutions."

It would be convenient if we knew what problems there are that he seeks to address. He did not mention anything in the nature of a problem or a possible solution for it in his bewildering remarks.

I think I could recall what he said if I were to try. I know that it had to do with being an expert in an ancient and esoteric practice of meditation and hand-to-hand combat. This study consists in part of sitting for extended periods of time in intimate observation of one's bodily processes. I am quoting him on that. He did it more than once for 24 hours or some such sadistic period of time, and this process has conferred upon him a wisdom that singularly qualifies him to be on the Fort Bragg city council.

When he was finished no one remarked on the idiocy of his statements. Certainly the candidates did not. We were all nervous about our own impending blunders. But I sort of thought that having been painfully adolescent and hopelessly off point he would be avid to correct the record and make some comments rather more aimed to evaluate policy, as it is, or might be with himself on the council. But no. He seemed quite content to just let the whole kung fu councilman idea kind of gestate.

Menzies (right)

Menzies (right)

I would have expected all his yard signs to come down. Or else for the people who had them in their yards just to go whole hog and put on, "Kick me. I am an idiot" sweatshirts.

But no, not at all, in fact more signs went up in the posh areas where the overseers and foremen and owners of our town have always lived and where they live now as the proprietors and operatives of the new and idealistic social services industry hegemony.

Mr. Menzies supporters find it reasonable to support a candidate who intends to bring to our humble town the wisdom of the east and to use it to establish a budget and address a crisis in infrastructure. I can see him on the cover of Time. "Buddhist Warrior Fighting For Local Solutions."

The other candidates were more troubled with possibilities and more weighted with resentments. They were at once more optimistic out of necessity and fatalistic just out of honesty. Scott breezed through it with his offhand remarks in which he defined himself as a fool and apparently thought nothing of it and yet offended not one of his supporters. He did indeed stand out in the group and his supporters stand out with him.

Although I believe in the power of the people to decide ultimately, I do not always advocate for unrestricted populism.

But mostly I do, and I know that in America the iron fist of authoritarian rule, must enter into power in the form of an election.

Mr. Menzies’s every word — obtuse, vulgar and astonishing as they might be, are open announcements of his fundamental intention. He likes it that we have a political machine in Fort Bragg. He supports it without qualification. He works for it. He has made his little two year career carrying water for that machine, being the loyal naysayer, and flatterer of power in the face of any public opposition to policies often openly destructive of our liberties. His symbol ought to be the happy face. His politics are iron rule and few elections. Lack of transparency is not a problem; it is an advantage in getting things done to which the rulers are entitled. Obedience is the proper function of the ruled.

He has said all of this. If he doesn't believe any of it I would love to hear him say it. But he has said it, and loudly. He thinks the people of the town are “sodomites.” Meaning, I guess, that they are in defiance of Gods law. He is pretty sure that although he does not really buy into that whole “God” thing, he understands what he does not trust you to understand and should really therefore be your ruler. All the other candidates want to be your representative. But none of them know kung fu or Chinese. Your call.

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