I returned to San Francisco last week after a hiatus of about a decade and was shocked, saddened, disappointed and angry at what I saw there. No, that sentence doesn't get to the heart of the emotions raised, I actually can't find the words, but bitterly, bitterly upset is the nearest I can find.
Driving in from Northern California via Sonora, where I found the small towns picturesque and, where I had the pleasure of staying for a few days, the people delightful, friendly open, welcoming and helpful. Whilst clearly great wealth was not in abundance the general standard of living, as seen in well looked after property and busy shops, seemed of a reasonable standard as was the infrastructure-good quality roading etc.
That changed dramatically as I approached the outskirts of San Francisco where the highway deteriorated to a level I had not experienced ever before in America. I found the roads in The Ukraine to be of a higher standard actually. I addressed this with a local who joked that "the roads only get attended to after a major earthquake and we haven't had one here for 90 years." So much for President Obama's "Yes we can" of "shovel ready jobs." Clearly the only shovel required was for shifting the bullshit which six years of "we are the ones we have been waiting for" created.
But roading, as bad as it is and the light it now shines on all the empty promises of the media created Obama administration, is something that can be lived with until, hopefully, liberal America wakes up like Detroit and makes a radical political change to a sound money, sound social policy conservative administration at the Federal and local levels.
Roads are not people, and the tragedy that was the San Francisco I saw, and which broke my heart, is a human one. As soon as I left the highway and entered the city by the 5th Street exit I saw people, human beings with souls, sleeping under the highway bridges. Then, literally, street after street of people rummaging through garbage bins, begging, sleeping rough, standing around aimlessly. I saw people clearly mentally deranged, others apparently in drug induced stupors-this in the most liberal of American cities.
Good Lord-what has happened to America where this can happen?
In the Union Square city center the picture was of Brooks Brother clothed type people obviously prosperous and many, as is the cities reputation, obviously Gay. I spoke to and had business interaction with many and found all I dealt with to be courteous and pleasant. What their attitude to the gross poverty and human tragedies that ringed this oasis of prosperity was I have no idea as, of course, it would have been impolite to raise the matter as a visitor.
What I can say is that I find the disconnect between the Gay activist community, as exemplified by e.g. Blogs like Joe.My.God. to have a complete disconnect with the reality of the world outside their bubble, if San Francisco is any indication, which it must be.
It is understandable that pressure groups will focus on matters of immediate interest to them. But given the power and influence that the radical Gay community has on the wider public through their presence in the arts and the media, the time has come, surely, for those groups to expand their values set to include helping those who are suffering right in front of them?
Instead of railing at Sarah Palin (still, after all these years) and, at a level out of all proportion to the situation, at mom and pop pizza parlor owners and bakeries, instead putting even a portion of the effort attacking such small fry towards demanding something be done to assist the terrible plight of the poor-and yes, the poor Black community around them.
If the Gay activist community took up social justice, economic change as an addition to their specific group concerns they might find that conservatives could be an ally instead of a constantly antagonized foe of their own creation. I for one would welcome such a rethink, not that that matters in the greater scheme of things, but the important thing is that the terrible human plight that surrounds them be attended to.
It's time to put aside the false premises of the Obama years, remove the blinkers, stop seeing conservatives through a distorted prism and reach out to the poor and helpless.