Peeling back a veil to a painful past, Martin repeats a delicate revelation—that he lost both parents when he was 9 years old.
“That informed my psyche,” he says. “That taught me to be a fighter. Not a fighter in terms of obnoxious, but a survivor—to stick up for myself. That’s why I have such a passion for the underdog. I was an underdog. What some perceive as grumpy goes to serve my community.”—The Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 11, 2011
Like the overwhelming majority of people in District 6, we had long since grown weary of the obnoxious antics of Councilman J.T. Martin, whether they involved shouting at constituents or obsessing about rubber penises. But we have changed our minds about the grumpy underdog and now count ourselves as his most fervent supporters. We hope all his constituents (and all other citizens of a forgiving Christian disposition) will join us—The J.T. Martin Anti-Defamation League—in ensuring that the emotional beekeeper and chicken farmer remains in office.
All of us in this vale of tears suffer disappointment, heartbreak and the loss of loved ones. It is the human condition. Despite our suffering, we carry on, buck up and refuse to excuse or justify grumpy behavior. Sometimes, however, the weight of the world and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are just too much.
By any standard, losing both parents at a young age is a grievous and unimaginable loss. Those who have experienced such a loss are understandably marked for life and surely deserve our ongoing sympathy. There are some people of a stoical turn of mind, however, who might argue that such a devastating loss does not grant one an automatic waiver on ordinary human courtesy. Others of a similar turn of mind might be willing to extend that waiver for an appropriate period of mourning. They are willing to cut someone some slack for one year, five years or even 10 years.
Even for the most sympathetic, 44 years of slack might seem extreme. We at the J.T. Martin Anti-Defamation League, however, disagree. Not only do we think the grumpy underdog should be exempt from normal decency and kindly fellow-feeling for however long a term he wishes, we also firmly believe he should be able to play the loss-of-parents-at-a-young-age card at every possible opportunity.
What is there to be gained by maintaining a dignified reticence? Why carry on with a stiff upper lip like other mortals who have also suffered greatly? Especially in the rough and tumble of elective politics, there is no percentage in refraining from shameless appeals for sympathy.
We were, therefore, heartened by our fighting (for 44 years!) survivor’s shameless justification for being an obnoxious jerk just before last week’s primary election. We were disappointed, however, that Mr. Martin’s repetition of the “delicate revelation” of his long-ago orphanage did not translate into a victory at the polls. In fact, he was soundly trounced by ad man Charlie Luke and just narrowly edged out neophyte Tracey Harty.
Only 29 percent of his constituents voted to retain their grumpy underdog. Had 71 percent of the voters failed to read and take note of their fighting councilman’s delicate revelation? (We applaud the Tribune writer’s deft rhetorical touch—describing Mr. Martin’s self-pitying and heavy-handed ploy as “delicate.”) It is well-known that very few readers pay attention to the Tribune, but still.
There is a more disturbing possibility, which is that most of the citizens of District 6 are hard-hearted, dried-up wretches devoid of the milk of human kindness. We at the J.T. Martin Defense League refuse to believe a third possibility: that most voters are not only tired of Mr. Grump’s act, but are also disgusted by his self-serving and self-pitying excuse for being a first-class jerk.
In the coming weeks, the J.T. Martin Anti-Defamation League invites the soft-hearted and/or soft-headed citizens of District 6 to rally to the support of the grumpy underdog. We ask that you demonstrate your sympathy for the perpetually victimized underdog by not bringing up the subject of Emigration Market, which Mr. Martin was forced to sell after supporters of the Blue Boutique so cruelly stocked the cucumber bin in the produce department with rubber penises.
And if you ever find yourself at the receiving end of one of Councilman Martin’s erratic tirades, just remember that he is a special case, unlike anyone else in the history of human life on this planet.