“Liberal,” “Progressive,” “worms.” The first two, attacked from both the left and the right. In the People’s Republic of Santa Monica, perhaps the last word would get the most “dirty” votes.
As I reminisced last week, I realized “I kind of like earthworms.” Had to do with fishing for rainbow trout in the gorgeous, pristine northern New Mexico mountain country, in my college days.
Back then, among my crowd, liberals were mostly well regarded (except among the most burn-it-down radicals, and I knew a few of those). Even though they moved more cautiously, they were on our side, to shake up the status quo to create a more equitable society for all. As opposed to the Establishment, the conservative, hidebound, uptight short haired booze-not-pot suit and tie church-going war-mongering very capitalist white Man. Liberals (mostly white folks too, in numbers) did away, by law (if not immeiately in practice), with racial discrimination, from schools to voting to housing, gave us Medicare and even ran a major party candidate for president on an anti-war platform. The Peace Corps and NASA were birthed, the Equal Pay, Wilderness, Food Stamp, Arms Control and Disarmament, Community Mental Health Centers, Clean Air and Clean Water Acts all passed into law.
LET’S LOOK AT HISTORY
Social Security, Women’s Right to Choose, women’s right to vote, product labeling, EPA, Internet, national parks, the USA union period, and so much more. Who here would like to work seven days/70 hours a week and never get a vacation? If times are tough your kids, as young as six, work too, maybe in a coal mine, with no safety regulations. But don’t get sick or injured: no healthcare, no Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no Family and Medical Leave Act. No unions to ask for help.
But don’t raise your voice — no free speech, no Miranda Rights, no due process. You wouldn’t want to be put back into slavery, would you? No laws against torture, you know. Vote to change things? If your skin is dark or your gender female, forget it, but elections are meaningless anyway, completely corrupt with no oversight.
No fire or police, no paramedics, no 911, no military. No national railways, no air traffic controllers, no public transportation at all. No national highway system, mostly just unpaved roads lined with garbage. No vehicle safety standards. Careful what you eat out there: no Meat Inspection, Water Treatment or Pure Food and Drug Acts, no food labeling, no ban on lead in any consumer products.
Any idea what to expect from the weather? No public schools, no libraries. No national currency (think about that). You could call all those things socialism. I call it common sense. And we have the liberals to thank. Almost all of it fiercely opposed by conservatives.
I’M NOT BEING NOSTALGIC
Not looking through rose colored glasses. Not trying to further divide us. But it does irritate me now when I hear criticism of the very notion of being a liberal (now mostly calling themselves progressives). The knock is that they are hypocritical and so self-unaware that they are doing damage. (Keep in mind that like so much that is now in the public realm, dirtying the word “liberal” was an orchestrated talking points PR campaign from the right, during Reagan.)
Anyone can wear a label. There are a whole lot of people calling themselves Christians who would scare the bejeezus out of Jesus. My personal definition? Liberals care about people, all people, and fight for their well-being, not for the further enrichment of corporations and billionaires. There has been a class war going on here, folks, since Washington lost a wooden tooth and one of his slaves tossed it in the river..
So let’s not forget and let’s not kill the very good for the perfect. Hey, I’ve had it too. I do NOT want to have to vote for another Wall Street corporate centrist just to keep a Republican crazy out of the White House. It’s way past time for aggressive leadership to attempt to save this quickly sinking ship of state.
IN SANTA MONICA
Where some might think it woul be hard to find an admitted Republican/conservative, it doesn’t matter, such labels are irrelevant here. All the damage, the selling (out) of Santa Monica, is being done by liberal Dems. There is only one real political party, one boss in town and that is Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR), founded with the best intentions in the ‘70s but long ago devolved into a vehicle for maintaining power.
And even SMRR is not what it once was. The philosophy and members of Forward, a very pro-development group, have infiltrated. And that still doesn’t explain our tangled web. There are power brokers around issues like childhood education, Santa Monica College, homeless advocacy, urban planning (or absence of), “sustainability” at any cost, housing, cars-are-evil and so-are-their-parking-spaces, building size limits, and they all jockey for their cause, no matter the cost to the residents of Santa Monica.
Only one group is not organized, and not represented by our self-serving “representatives” — residents.
INSPIRATION OF THE WEEK:
My heart was broken by the hate-twisted young murderer in Poway, but how inspiring the words and demeanor of the rabbi. How did he even get his words out, after his ordeal? I am taking his thoughts about light and darkness to heart, and his suggestion about a minute of self-reflection for all students at the start of their day was outstanding. Let’s do that.
Charles Andrews has lived in Santa Monica for 33 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at email@example.com