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Antonson risks honor, dignity in race

There’s the story of the college student in Cambridge, Mass.,who goes into a grocery store where canned beans are on sale, three for $1.

The student takes four cans to the counter and slaps down a dollar bill. The clerk looks at the cans, looks at the dollar, and says, “Either you go to MIT and you can’t read, or you go to Harvard and

you can’t count.” Could it be that Mr. Rene Antonson attended Harvard?



At a loss to determine what motivates Mr. Antonson to continue his doomed election campaign for supervisor after suffering a resounding defeat in the 4th District primary, I have struggled to come up with some possible scenarios that might explain his seemingly unexplainable behavior. I probably have missed a few, but I offer the following possibilities for consideration.

Scenario #1: Abstract math. I had a math professor who could “prove” through a variety of assumptions and manipulations such things a 2 plus 2 equals 5. Mr. Antonson may have taken a similar course in which the professor demonstrated that 25 percent of favorable votes exceeds the 75 percent who voted against him. Refer to the clue in the first paragraph.




Scenario #2: If you can’t be well liked, be well known (also known as the “skunk at the picnic” scenario). Mr. Antonson has decided that, not being the people’s choice, he’ll gain public acknowledgement and attention by disrupting the party and letting someone else worry about the mess and the odor. Skunks usually have sense enough to figure out at some point when they’re not welcome and go away. We’ll see if Mr. Antonson has enough skunk sense, excuse me, horse sense, to do the same.

Scenario #3: Ignorance and Apathy (“I don’t know, and I don’t care”). To avoid any possibility of confrontation with the facts, Mr. Antonson has been living in a cave near Hobbs, New Mexico. His only worldly contact is a 500-watt radio station in Del Rio, Texas, that he picks up between midnight and 4 a.m. He stays abreast of burning controversies such as whether to use rattlesnakes in worship services (the pro-choice view) or restrict services to nonpoisonous reptiles (the pro-life view). Also, he has become quite knowledgeable of Texas livestock prices.

Scenario #4: The bigger fool. People who have been holding certain tech stocks for a few years understand this one. In the present case, Mr. Antonson figures if 25 percent of the voters voted for him as a loser in the primary, then there are fools who will contribute even more money and more votes to him in the general election. One might ask, who really is being foolish here? If Mr. Antonson gets close to half the percentage of votes cast for him in the primary, it will be surprising.

Scenario #5: I need a job, and I know someone who will do almost anything to keep hers. In this scenario, Mr. Antonson and Elizabeth Martin, his former political ally, agree that if Mr. Antonson will stay in the race, act as the attack dog against Robin Sutherland and attempt to shunt votes away from Ms. Sutherland, he will be rewarded with some sort of employment.

You might call it the “Antonson and Martin think the voters are stupid” scenario. One flaw in this scenario is that the voters aren’t stupid. Another is that Ms. Martin may be looking for a job of her own, with or without Mr. Antonson’s participation. Refer to the clue in scenario #4.

Relegated to the dustbin of Nevada County politics, Mr. Antonson is poised to snatch humiliation from the jaws of defeat. For his sake and the sake of how he is remembered, maybe he will withdraw while he can still retain his dignity. It’s not too late.

There’s probably a side to Mr. Antonson’s character heretofore unseen that will motivate him to do the right thing and prove all my scenarios wrong. I hope so.

Personal honor and dignity are among the few things that can?t be taken from us. If they’re lost, it’s because we give them up.

Is anything, especially an election in a small county on a small planet, worth that? Is anyone who thinks so worthy of the public trust?

Nate Beason was a naval officer for 30 years. He lives in Nevada City and writes a monthly column.


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