So this is what the country is now supposed to be scared of? House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, riding back into DC with her "San Francisco Values" slung over her shoulder - just waiting to infect the rest of `Murka. Now that the failed conservative house of cards has officially come crashing down, all that remains in talking meatstick land is the
And before you think this won't take hold in freeperland or right wingnutistan (yes, they are not the same, although they reside very close to each other), I have had conversations over the past week or so where this very issue came up - not just in passing either. The crux was how Nancy Pelosi and the liberal congress is going to let the terrorists win and run our armed forces into the ground. Funny enough, I think that I heard that somewhere else recently, but it wasn't about Pelosi or any liberals though...
Besides the complete asininity (and yes, I reserve the right to make up words if I need to) of this, was anyone talking about the southern values of lynching, segregation, discrimination and hate crimes when Congress was being run by Tom DeLay and Bill Frist? Plus, I think that those who are afraid of, or who mock the "San Francisco values" should probably not only take a good hard look at what those values are, but also probably would benefit from rolling up a nice fatty chock full of those values and inhaling deeply.
Now, I don't live in SF, and never have. But I have family members who live there, very close friends who have (and still) lived there, and it is one of my very favorite US cities. My guess is that I have only been there around 10 times, tops, but each time is better than the last (and the first one was largely spent at Dead shows at Shoreline Ampitheater, which as Bob Weir says, "must be heaven").
So, what are these spooky "San Francisco values" that we should cower in fear from?
Since its days as a port of entry for the Gold Rush, San Francisco has been an epicenter of Western-style individualism. Yet given the city's high cost of living and role as an international tourist destination, alternative lifestyles coexist with cutting-edge businesses and a monied class that thrives on fine dining and the arts.
More recently, the region's early embrace of gay rights, medical marijuana and anti-war rallies cemented the stereotype of contrarian peace-nicks out of synch with American values.
That's ironic, said Richard DeLeon, professor emeritus of political science at San Francisco State University.
"The values of the American creed - individuality, liberty, free speech, democracy and at least the aspiration of equality - can be expressed and experienced in San Francisco to an extent that's hard to find elsewhere," said DeLeon, who first came here during the 1967 Summer of Love. "San Francisco isn't un-American. America has become less American, with a retreat from civil liberties and, in the White House, suppressive policies and pre-emptive war."
Hmmmmm. It seems to me that the whole anti-war, civil rights, gay rights, free speech, democracy and liberty thing are pretty much in line with what America is all about. Not only that, but a number of those words appear in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence or other major movements in America's history (ok, so you have to read the fine print in the Constitution to find the words "gay rights", but they are there. Trust me).
Also, the demographics are a pretty solid model with one of the lowest poverty rates (under 8%), a relatively high median income, and a somewhat average level of crime for a large city. Not to mention the economic environment, which is very friendly to small businesses, large businesses, and venture capital. I don't think that the republicans' best friend, "the almighty dollar", would argue with the San Francisco values.
I would think that education is a value that people would respect as well - and the city was ranked 2nd in the country as far as cities with the highest concentration of college degrees. The educational system (public schools) is on the leading edge for major cities and the system (citywide) has improved greatly over the past few years.
And what about keeping our families healthy? Well, those crazy evil bastards out in SF are looking towards a system of universal health care for its residents. How un-American that is - to try and make sure that people can afford to get treatment or medical help when they need it.
Yeah, education, tolerance, health care, free speech, a solid economy, an eye towards business, keeping military recruiters out of high schools (and really, how small is the percentage of people who (1) are for this and (2) would actually want their own children to be recruited?) - what horrific and scary things.
And that whole "anti-war, hippie" thing that makes the terrorists salivate - well, I guess that the 60%+ of the US who are against the illegal and immoral invasion and occupation of Iraq (and voted the republicans' sorry asses out) - they must have those same "San Francisco values" too.
If House Speaker Pelosi does bring those values to Congress - then man, we would be able to get this country headed back in the right direction.