HOW CAN YOU RUFFLE FEATHERS
When you’re writing about being optimistic, as I was in last week’s column?
Well, I have certainly learned it doesn’t take much. You’d think that folks who are pretty sure they’re not going to like what’s in a column would… not read it.
Then again, I can’t plead innocence. I do know that in expressing my feelings and beliefs, it will provoke some who disagree. But I’m sometimes surprised when I provoke both sides of the aisle.
Last week I wrote, “Don’t vote for a single Republican, anywhere!” (Optimistic advice, I say.) And a friend and loyal reader, a Republican, I believe, responded, “Not even for a non-partisan local office?” That seemed like a reasonable exception, but No! They’ve gone way over the line.
WHEN I WAS A KID
Growing up in a very Democratic family, there was not really rancor towards the GOP but it was understood that only Democrats did the right thing, consistently, for working people. Eisenhower was OK, he was a huge war hero, of the war my father served in — it’s possible one or both of my parents may even have voted for him — but Ike was unlike any Republican we’ve seen for more than half a century. Locally, for state and city offices, I think my folks just pulled the handle in that voting booth that marks your ballot for everyone from one party.
It seems odd to remember it now, but on the playground at school even the 6- to 8-year-olds (boys, mostly) would participate in screaming-chasing rowdiness based on rival “gangs” of “Republicans and Democrats.” It went strictly by parental loyalties. So once this minor mayhem cranked up, you knew whose parents were voting on the “wrong” or “right” side. It was also an indication that even in a relative backwater like Albuquerque, even the very young were aware of civics and current events, in school and at home.
At a slightly older age but still in elementary school, I used to eat up those lessons, and the weekly current events test that I usually aced. Can you imagine even college students today knowing who all the cabinet secretaries are, and the Supreme Court, and the Speaker and Majority Leader? We were expected to. Along with Governor, Lt. Governor, Senators and Representatives, Mayor, Sheriff.
Of course you’re not familiar with that word. It’s only invoked now occasionally, for its absence. Nostalgically, even, as though we’ll never see it again. The modern day Democrats are guilty too of not working with their rivals, but without going any more into this I will simply repeat my Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not use False Equivalencies in political or social discussions. Quite simply, IMHO, yes, the Democrats today are very very bad, but the Republicans have become horrid. Yet I get slammed for not hating equally on the Democratic party.
Don’t tell me both sides are bad; that is a F.E. There are degrees, and words matter. Most long time Republicans with a brain and a soul know their party has gone off the deep end and that history will not treat kindly their shameful 21st century crimes against humanity and Mother Earth. And any Republican who remains silent (that would be almost all of them) is equally guilty and therefore not deserving of sympathy nor a single vote for any office.
Even though the axiom “all politics are local” is valid, the D-R split is fairly irrelevant in Santa Monica. We have only one political party, that has controlled everything for decades, and that is SMRR, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights. Because of so many ugly similarities I think of them as Republicans Lite. But that’s just me.
I GET SLAMMED
For condemning the illegal election fundraising the Huntley did year before last, and then for pointing out the way those actions were distorted and used as a political football late last year. When I mock the futility of our City spending millions to fight an inevitable switch to district voting, noting that out of 24 cases that have surfaced for litigation recently in California, all 24 cities have either given up (and saved themselves millions, and avoided criminal charges against their representatives) or fought in court and lost, I’m criticized for imprecise language rather than presented with a cogent reason why the City is pursuing this course. I side with the long-suffering students and parents who were promised a much-needed playing field on the Civic Center grounds across from Samohi and feel the City is working against their cause, and hear City officials swear that such concerns are groundless, there will definitely be a field, then I have to report that the City hired a comfy bus to transport our bureaucrats to a Coastal Commission meeting to plead the case, against the parents, that nothing need be done about that field yet (hey, it’s only been 12 years) but please quickly move along the insanely expensive City offices annex and the misplaced Early Childhood Education Center building, whose approvals may have the effect of squeezing out the field. A park? A civic plaza in the center of our Downtown? No, we need a 12-story behemoth hotel complex (union wages!) but don’t worry, plenty of room for parks once we close the airport. Right. Or wait for parkland when we cover the freeway.
I’M NOT COMPLAINING
Really. Though some think that’s all I do. It all goes with the territory. But I’m an optimist, and I’m telling you, warning you, as bad as 2017 may have been, 2018 is sharpening its claws. What shall we do now? Why, optimism, my friends. Optimism, as we dig out the truth and the backroom deals and the master plans for the ruination of a once-great little city by the sea and try to keep a step ahead of those who see us only as their next fortune. We can do it, you know. We shall prevail.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: (Repeat of last week, because I think it’s a good Pollyanna notion and I didn’t get enough response yet) — What is one thing you — yes, you!! — can do to make Santa Monica a better place? This week! Will you commit to doing it? Will you let me know, please? (email at bottom)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “There is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.” — George Orwell
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 32 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at firstname.lastname@example.org