Sunday, February 19, 2006

Bobo's World, California Edition

Hick town boycotts Baghdad By The Bay.

The faded sign outside Kay's Cafe in the city of Highland sports a cartoon caricature of a grinning chef holding a frying pan.

City officials, who use the drab yellow diner as a kind of impromptu town center, are looking a lot like the diminutive chef on the sign these days as they hold San Francisco's feet to the fire.

The prod that woke this bedroom community at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains, whose 2005 population city officials estimate at 50,860, was a decision by San Francisco voters to pass an advisory measure banning military recruiters from schools.

Calling San Franciscans a bunch of "kooks and nuts" and castigating supervisors for their "tomfoolery," the City Council unanimously approved a resolution "prohibiting the expenditure of city funds for attending conferences, training seminars and/or workshops to be held in the City of San Francisco."

Yeah, I'm sure San Francisco will sorely miss their seersucker suits and Safeway coupons. Jeebus, this isn't even the mouse that roared, it's more like the cricket that thought it was chirping louder than all the other crickets, but really wasn't. Either way, whether Highlanders like it or not (and obviously they don't), this was a measure that was voted in by citizens. Democracy in action, and all that good stuff.

Funny how we are all subjected to this sanctimonious trumpeting about the wonders of the democratic process, when what it really boils down to is whether or not people are voting for something we approve of or not. Note to Highlanders across America: that is not democracy, it might best be described as a mildly benevolent dictatorship.

And it's not as if it was done in a vacuum. The military failed to meet recruiting levels all last year, and was forced to literally move its recruiting goalposts. This has resulted in widespread reports of aggressive recruiting tactics, in some cases practically dragooning high-school kids into the army without being allowed to discuss it with their parents first.

Now, if that's the way we want to do it, if we're willing to meet the need at any and all costs, then just reinstate the draft and have done with it. The added bonus to that is that Bush and Cheney and Rumsfeld grandchildren and nephews, while they will obviously be given a way to weasel out of service, would at least have to deal with some public scrutiny on it.

It was a bold move for a city that is virtually unknown outside of San Bernardino County, but it turns out little Highland was simply the first to pile on.

San Francisco Supervisors fanned the flames of middle American contempt for the city by the bay with talk about impeaching President Bush. Then Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval opened the floodgates of national ridicule this past week on the "Hannity & Colmes" show on Fox News when he said the United States should not have a military.

That was indeed an incredibly stupid thing for Sandoval to say, and his subsequent attempts to qualify and explain himself were so pathetic, he should simply resolve to never try extemporizing in front of a camera again. Really, if you can't outwit a couple of numbskulls like Sean Boy Hannity and Alan Colmes, you might not even belong in public office. Sandoval's remarks were completely stupid, and entirely indefensible, and quite literally out of touch with reality.

All that said, so we really want Americans turning on other Americans for the stupid things they and their representatives say or do? Shall we boycott Sugar Land if they happen to lose their fucking minds and vote Tom DeLay back in, presumably out of sheer spite? Should we boycott Oklahoma for inflicting the festering presence of that moron Tom Coburn on the United States Senate?

You want to get into a cycle of retribution here, a San Berdoo armpit like Highland is a great place to start. San Francisco is not going to be harmed by the windmill-tilting of ankle-biting hick towns. But holes like Highland (which I am actually familiar with; my father lives in a nearby city out there) would never be able to handle it if they were on the receiving end of such nonsense. It's already symptomatic of the dead and dying ghost towns that fester across America, places where the manufacturing bases have been sucked right out and outsourced to Bangalore or Shanghai or wherever, leaving the kids who didn't get the opportunity to escape, and the ignorant codgers whose hobby in life is finding new and innovative ways to tell those damned kids to get off their lawn.

Highland officials are eagerly passing out to the media, and anyone else interested, copies of e-mails they've received from people all over the country, many expressing support for their position.

San Francisco's government "is full of a bunch of whacked-out liberals," shrieks one e-mail from a resident of Napa.

Another commends Highland for boycotting "this city of derelicts, drug addicts and ultra-left-wing liberals" who should be "quarantined so (their disease) doesn't have a chance to infect any of our other cities."

Getting into the spirit of things, City Councilman Larry McCallon railed against San Francisco last week for sins including a lack of support for traditional marriage, family, the Bush administration and the military, if not God himself.

"I was raised in Kentucky and everybody all over that area calls California 'the land of the kooks and nuts' or 'the left coast' because of the things that happen in San Francisco," said McCallon, the retired owner of a laundry chain who does Baptist missionary work in his spare time. "There are a lot of people up there who have some weird ideas, who are extreme in their views."

I think this is the heart of the matter. People who have never been to California have a lot of assumptions about the state and its population -- that we surf all the time, that we're all crunchy liberals who stand around and play hackey sack with our hemp shoes, then fire up the bong and make free love all night, waking up at noon the next day to start all over again.

And that's just stupid. Certainly there are morons like that in this state, but California did not become the fifth-largest economy in the world by smoking pot and forming hippie daisy chains. And the fact of the matter is, once you get outside Los Angeles and San Francisco, a preponderance, if not an outright majority, are rather conservative.

I think it's funny that apparently Kentuckians (and obviously, many other southerners) are not shy about fulminating their erroneous assumptions about how California operates, yet they squeal like a pig whenever outsiders make assumptions about how they do things. Indeed, they get their back up when people who have been there call them on their bullshit. So I give less than a fuck what some Kentucky crackers think about this state. Enjoy your moss farm, Cooter, even poor Californians make twice as much money as you do. Plus, there's things to do here.

But what's really pathetic is that many Californians, particularly along the length of the Central Valley, have allowed themselves to be suckered in by this thinly-veiled Sodom and Gomorrah contempt for San Francisco in particular. And SF is flawed, to be sure. Willie Brown ran the place like his personal fiefdom, rewarding cushy sinecures to inept cronies, while aggressive panhandlers continued to cluster along every other street corner. Property is overvalued, there's a lot of crime, a lot of useless people clogging up the streets, abysmal traffic, way too politically correct, etc., etc. But, like all great cities, SF has a lot of character too. Every place has good features and bad, good people and bad.

What the fuck makes Highland think it has some sort of fucking moral standing? Go back to getting all your disinformation from Faux News and Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly. Believe me, civilization won't miss you. Enjoy your moral perfection in your stagnating hamlet.


r@d@r said...

preach it brotha!!!

love -

a berkeley homie in exile

Craig Heath said...

...who should be "quarantined so (their disease) doesn't have a chance to infect any of our other cities."

Silly example, of course, but there's the "eliminationist" rhetoric again. Seems to keep cropping up: "We need to get rid of lefties", not disprove their arguments or outvote them.

Any historic parallels? You know, a society conditioned to believe that those people are the ones who cause trouble, who rot our national culture, poison the blood of our people?

Nah. Can't think of any.

And as to the whole "let's boycott anyone and anything that ticks us off" approach - the rich and powerful are just laughing themselves silly to watch us mud wrestle over this crap. Yeah, America, keep fighting over race and religion and so-called "morals" and such - pay no attention to the class behind the golden curtain. You folks go ahead and have a good time - we'll just sit here with all the loot and keep pulling all the strings.

Try boycotting the system that steals your wallet and kills your kids, people. That's where the real fight is.