Sunday, February 24, 2008

Can We Lay Off My City Please?

I was skimming other conservative blogs, and ran across this one, and I've finally had my fill of San Francisco and California-bashing. It's really getting pretty cliche.

Here I am, doing my part for America by writing a progressive conservative blog, sitting literally in San Francisco (Pacific Heights specifically; pretty cool place). And I'm looking around. Am I sheltering any terrorists in the bathroom? No . . . trying to sneak in illegal immigrants through the window? No . . .I should probably set my running shoes outside to air out before my wife tells me to, but that's about the worst offense I'm guilty of at the moment.

You know what? It's not so bad here. I really like my city. I really like my state. And guess what? So do a lot of other people. You don't read a lot about the lack of technical innovations coming from Silicon Valley. You don't read a lot of headlines about how cheap San Francisco is - if as a conservative you're concerned about government interfering with wealthy businesspeople's money-making, you should be sticking up for Californians! And when I've traveling on business around the country and I tell people where I'm from, I don't hear a lot of them saying "We visited San Francisco three years ago and it was just terrible. Horrible. I don't understand why anyone would want to live there."

Maybe it's time to re-evaluate those cliches. Does anybody remember Ronald Reagan, governor of California? Does anybody remember California Senator Richard Nixon? Has anybody noticed our outstanding GOP governor Arnold Schwarzenegger? How many Republican names on that level can you cite from YOUR state?

If you didn't know better, you might almost think there's something GOOD going on here. Almost like people like living and visiting here.

I'm strongly patriotic about my city and state, just like we all should be about the place we choose to live. And we've all chosen to live somewhere, even if we were born there. So here are the ridiculous knee-jerk cliches from the conservative blog-and-radio set:

1) Anything from San Francisco is bad. I'm sure there are people who won't read my blog because I'm from San Francisco, and they don't want gay electrons getting into their computer.

2) Anything from San Francisco is SO bad that whatever they do, we should do the opposite.

3) Next time you're in the car listening to a conservative radio show, and it gets a little slow because the callers aren't there, pay attention to how to fill dead air the host will start reading off instances of "look what those crazy liberals in San Francisco did". In fact the local AM news station used to have a regular feature, covering the "crazy San Francisco" coverage elsewhere in the country.

On this blog I'm trying to promote rational conservatism, and anecdotal accounts of any kind are not a good way to think through problems. Anecdotes engage emotion, suspend critical thinking, and lead to gross overgeneralizations. And ALL three statements result from gross overgeneralization, and THAT results from the unfair, outdated perception that this place is a seething hotbed of Satanic radicals who burn three flags between coffee and corn flakes every morning, and of course, mass media feeds that. Just like there's an unfair, outdated perception, also fed by the media, that the South is all inbred racist fundamentalists. Maybe we should remember we're all Americans, and we all together built this fantastic country? Is that too much to ask?

By the way, we were just in Mississippi and Alabama for a little mini-vacation in December. Not only did we have a great time with some fantastic people, but when we told people we were from San Francisco, they didn't lynch us, AND people who'd visited here said they loved it!

Obviously I wouldn't defend every resolution that every Bay Area city has ever made, because a lot of them really are pretty bone-headed. But it's not any crazier than what goes on in any other major city in the country (for example, Philadelphia, my home city), and that's probably just the result of a lot of intended career politicians trying to make a name for themselves in big markets. What I do value about San Francisco is the spirit of rational problem-solving among people here in general. Seattle and Portland have something similar; possibly it's a result of the biotech/high tech industrial base of both places.

It's a pretty cool place to visit. Shoot me an email if you'll be in town, I can tell you where the best brewpubs are.


Anonymous said...

Since my blog post was the example of what finally sent you over the top, let me say this:

I LOVE San Francisco--for one, it is the gateway to Napa Valley--my favorite vacation spot. Number two, I got engaged there at the Blue Fox Restaurant in 1992--in fact, I decided in 1985 that whenever I got engaged it would be at the Blue Fox restaurant in San Fran (sadly it is no longer there). Third, I love the wharf and Giradelli square and chinatown and the whole area.

So--I do apologize for not building up the highlights of that beautiful city--however, your mayor is kind of a wack-job and through no fault of yours-the city is kind of a haven for super-liberals.

That being said--love your blog--keep the faith and I'll try to keep the bashing down--check out my other stories though--I have 2 that bash my home state (all in good fun of course) and my next post will be a whopper of a slam on small town Texas. Yee Haw! ;)


Thomas Paine Jr. said...

Glad you like The City, as we call it (wack-jobs and sort of not wack-jobs alike). As it turns out, Newsom is losing some of the respect I had for him by keeping people from protesting along the Olympic Torch route - wouldn't want to offend Red China!