Showing posts with label defunding the police. Show all posts
Showing posts with label defunding the police. Show all posts

Thursday, June 8, 2023

If you're going to San Francisco, you're sure to find some feces on your shoes

After my freshman year at Oklahoma State University, I hitchhiked to Montana, hoping to get a summer job working for the National Forest Service. That plan didn’t work out, and I wound up working in a sawmill in the little town of West Yellowstone.

That was the summer of 1966, when young people were heading west to California, where the Beach Boys sang about a little surfer girl, and San Fransisco's Haight Ashbury district promised abundant marijuana and free love. 
West Yellowstone, where I was stuck, was merely a waystation for youngsters headed west, a place to refuel on pizza and Olympia beer.

"Are You Going to San Francisco" was a radio hit that summer and Scott McKenzie's lyrics seem to sum up the spirit of the day. "If you’re going to San Francisco," McKenzie sang, "be sure to wear some flowers in your hair." I recall standing on West Yellowstone’s main street, listening to that song on someone's transistor radio and wishing I had the money and the courage to go to San Francisco and hang out with the hippies.  When I arrived there,  the song assured me, I would find the gentle people I had been unable to locate in Oklahoma.

Fifty years later, I don’t think many people go to San Francisco to find gentle people or put flowers in their hair. The city is a mess. Homelessness is out of control, and deadbeats shoot dope and defecate in the streets.  Office towers suffer from a 30% vacancy rate, and retailers are moving out. Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Office Depot, and Walgreens, are fleeing Frisco to escape crime and rampant shoplifting.

San Francisco is the poster child for the downfall of American cities. New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and other major metropolises suffer the same malaise.

Every American should be alarmed by this trend because American cities are where creative people go to find opportunities. As Michael Marotta wrote in a blog essay, “The city is literally civilization. Cities--not nations or American 'states'--are the engines of creation and progress." Indeed, Marotta argued, "the American republic is culturally a very large city."

Unfortunately, most major American cities are run by idiots and race hustlers. They think they are showcasing their liberal values by enacting policies encouraging homelessness, shoplifting, and random muggings. They equate anarchy with personal liberty when in fact our individual freedoms are best protected in a society that respects the rule of law.

So if you’re going to San Francisco, don’t expect to find gentle people with flowers in their hair.  In today's San Francisco, you are more likely to find feces on your shoes.


Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Not all white people live in a "place of privilege": Minneapolis City Council wants to dismantle the police department

Okie use' ta mean you was from Oklahoma.  Now it means you're a dirty son-of-a-bitch. Okie means you're scum.
John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath 

Last month, the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to dismantle the municipal police force and replace it with an agency that will address crime more holistically. I take it that means more social workers and fewer guns.

Although the city council wants to deny police protection to the citizens of Minneapolis, some officials still want it for themselves. The city hired a private security firm to protect three council members at the cost of $4,500 a day. In other words, security for me but not for thee.

A CNN reporter asked Lisa Bender, president of the Minneapolis City Council, what people are supposed to do if their homes are being burglarized. "What if in the middle of the night my home is broken into," the reporter asked. "Who do I call?" 

Bender basically said the police aren't necessary to deal with a home invasion because if you're calling 911 to report a burglary, you're coming from a "place of privilege."  By privilege, I think Bender meant white privilege. 

If I follow her reasoning aright, Bender is basically arguing that white people don't deserve police protection from theft because they (or perhaps their ancestors) benefited unfairly from our society's structural racism.

But of course, that's bullshit. 

As far as I know, my family hasn't exploited anybody. My great grandfather on my father's side worked in a brick factory in England. Sometime in the 1880s, he immigrated to Canada with his wife and children and finally wound up in Kansas. No slaves on that side of my family.

My mother's people emigrated from Germany before the American Revolution. They settled in Pennsylvania, and several of my ancestors fought in George Washington's army. No slaves or racial exploitation on the German side of my family.

Even if you buy the tortured argument that my ancestors engaged in racial exploitation simply because they were white beneficiaries of a racist society, they certainly paid for that sin. Both sets of my grandparents lived in the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression and suffered greatly. 

Although my immediate ancestors did not migrate to California during the 1930s, many of their relatives and acquaintances did. Much like today's Mexican immigrants, Oklahomans uprooted themselves and headed to the Golden State in search of a better way of life.

And when they rolled up to the California border in their broken-down cars, the state police would not let them enter. These economic refugees were referred to as Okies--a term almost as derogatory as the N-word.

Think of that: Today's California politicians want to abolish all immigration laws and allow anyone to enter the country--even criminals. But in the 1930s, the Californians denied entrance to American citizens who just wanted to work and feed their families.

American history is tainted with systemic racism to be sure. Africans were enslaved in the South, Chinese workers were abused in the West, and the Irish were exploited in the East. And if you want to know how the Okies fared in 1930s California, view John Ford's great movie, The Grapes of Wrath

But today, in the second decade of the 21st century, we all deserve to be treated equally and with respect. And if someone breaks into our homes, don't we all deserve police protection?

Okies, keep out of California.