Michelle Tandler, founder of Life School, in San Francisco, Tweets that 8,000 people sleeping in the rain in a city that has a $13 billion annual budget looks like ‘the least compassionate city on the planet’. How should Conservatives respond when Progressives awaken to evidence that their ideology creates the harsh reality of a Hellscape like San Francisco?
I’m starting to develop a seriously dark view of the Progressive politicians in charge of our town. They have absolute power – act like a regime, and talk often of how “broken” the system is. Are the homeless their foot soldiers? Mascots? Mercenaries?
You have to wonder, with the funds we have as a city, state & nation – is this situation… on purpose? We saw what SF was capable of when pandemic hit. We had testing sites up in days. Hotels converted into shelter. Funds flowing. Yet here we are… Is this nefarious?
Progressives tend to blame Republicans for almost everything. Yet here we are – not a Republican in sight – and I think we may be the most deranged city on the planet. Nowhere is there such inequality. I have never seen destitution at this scale.
So here are my questions to Progressives —
- + What do you stand for?
- + What do you believe?
- + What are your strengths as a political group?
- + Weaknesses?
- Why, after decades of Progressive rule in SF are 8,000 people in the streets?
- + Why do we have the highest overdose rate in the nation?
- + Why do we have the highest property crime rate?
- + Why do we have fewest children per capita?
- + What are the biggest “wins” of progressives in SF?
- + What are progressives most proud of here?
- + Who are the strongest public servants of the progressive party?
- + Why do you think we should continue on this path?
Recently I have been having flashbacks to Junior year when I ran for class representative and lost by five votes. My opponent promised candy vending machines, parties – all kinds of fun things. He won, and didn’t do a darned thing all year.
Thought experiment — what would San Francisco look like if Republicans were in charge? If moderates ran things? If we had two party rule instead of one?
Downtown is boarded up. The children of the Tenderloin are begging the Mayor to arrest drug dealers. Our school system is on the brink of state takeover. Our DA is completely over his skis and a defender at heart. We are in crisis. And – yes, we voted for this. We know.
We probably have more “Black Lives Matter” signs up than any city in the nation. 40% of our homeless people are Black. Do their lives matter…? Or is this just about virtue signaling and moral grandstanding?
This past Thursday afternoon I dialed into the Board of Supervisors meeting about the emergency order to refund the police. Our board sat through 10 hours of debate & public comment. It was astonishing. Caller after caller saying “defund the police.”
The #1 “advocate” for the homeless, Jennifer Friedenbach – called in to say “Vote no on black lives don’t matter!” She is the head of @TheCoalitionSF — and has for decades fought against shelters – saying they warehouse people. She is for “housing first”. Well – here we are.
I would really like to know if @fbach4 stands by her advocacy. I personally believe she is the person most responsible for this tragedy unfolding in our streets. But we are all responsible. We are allowing this insanity.
I’d also like to know why the loudest voices right now against changing our approach are all white progressive women. We have Kate Chatfield from the DA’s office, Jennifer Friedenbach from COH, Hilary Ronen of D8. All yelling about defunding the police. What is this about?
Meanwhile our Mayor, who grew up in the projects of SF – and our Chief of Police (@SFPDChief) – two of the most thoughtful, kind & pragmatic people in SF – are asking for funds & help. And they are getting shouted down as racists? This is nuts!
Many people in SF came here to “change the world”. They start companies, fight for causes they believe in, recycle & compost, invest in “green” products. This is all wonderful, but what about the humanitarian crisis in our backyard?
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the concept of “Civic Duty.” What is our responsibility as a citizenry? What is “civil society”? What does it mean to “contribute” to your neighborhood, city, state, nation?
One of my friends recently woke up to find a homeless person sleeping on the front step of her multi-million dollar home. I asked her what she did. “We closed the blinds.” I think this is such a metaphor for what’s going on here. San Francisco is turning its head.
San Franciscans believe they are righteous because they pledge allegiance to the righteous tribe – Democrats. They believe they are moral because they believe in higher taxes. They believe they are virtuous because they believe in big Government.
I am just so confused. If Progressives believe in big government then why aren’t they doing the bare minimum – the minimum that even F.A. Hayek spoke of in “The Road to Serfdom” in 1944? He is a famous Libertarian, and believed in providing food, shelter & clothing.
REACTIONS IN THE COMMENTS:
John JDec 28
I live in a small and very conservative town. We don’t wear and never wore masks. Vaccine rate hovers around 20%. This community went over 90% for Trump. People here are pretty religious. Everybody owns a lot of guns. We have next to no crime. Everyone drives trucks. We have almost zero hunger. We don’t have a police force though we do have a county sheriff, but we never see them. Drive as fast as you want, nobody is writing tickets. We don’t have any homeless people. When people need help, as often people do, we call on our neighbors and family. We even mostly plow the snow off our own roads, since waiting on the county would take too long. We don’t run out of food, because we grow it, and likely we grow some of yours too. Everything here is green, and open, and big. You can see the stars at night and you wave to your neighbors – who know way too much about your business. We aren’t a utopia. A lot of heroin ODs for a community our size, these last few years. Farm and agricultural business has suffered. We have challenges. But I wouldn’t trade your town’s problems for mine. No f’ing way. To me SF looks like a hellscape. People in SF probably sneer at where I’m from. That’s fine. I’m never going to SF. Our way works for us. My only fear is having the policies of SF forced on us here. We want to be left alone. If “Progress” means cities like SF and NYC – thanks but no thanks. Bad things happen, and when they do I’ll trust my family and neighbors over an anonymous government that treats me like a number… a statistic…. anyone looking to shoe horn me into a “Demographic” isn’t a friend. Keep the money and the laws and the “help.” My family and neighbors will see us through.
You see the problems but still refuse to see the cause of them. You think it is political tribalism. You don’t understand that the problem is the core tenants of progressivism.
Big government is always oppressive. You don’t understand that this country was founded on anti-big government values. That is what made America unique in the world.
You still call the right NAZIS . But the American right has nothing to do with big totalitarian government. You don’t even understand what the NAZIS were. Hitler didn’t use the term NAZI. He always said “National Socialism” . His policies were the same as yours. Hitler’s policies were very similar to Gavin Newsom’s policies. Do some research.
The American right want political power to be at the lowest level possible. That is why they talk about individuals and liberty. While the left talks about groups (tribes) and group rights. The right wants equality of opportunity the left demands equity of results.
Everywhere that democrats have control in this country there are the problems you are seeing in San Francisco. But those same problems are not as prevalent in areas run by the right. It is not a problem of one party rule. It is a problem of political policy.
You call for a middle path. But fence sitting between liberty and tyrannical government does nothing but empower the left.
You still don’t understand that what you are seeing is a direct result of the policies you have supported your whole life. Not just the party. Tyranny never improves the human condition. Big government is always tyrannical.
Christopher D. ThibeaultDec 29
One day a blind person wakes up with partial vision, and your response is to gouge their eyes out and screech into their ears? She lived for eighteen years as a Democrat, not a Communist. Democrat is just a machine to get people into office; communist is a literal criminal mafia under the guise of an economic theory–similar but still different. Nobody truly accepts either; we pay lip service under expectation of better treatment (bribery).
When this treatment doesn’t visibly apply to all, we either protest or doubt said arrangement. Her entrepreneur friends lack perspective and initiative; she just regained hers! Nobody is ever the sum of whatever institution they (think they) serve, including convervatism. She asks, “Where have I been?” You order her to pack her bags immediately while insulting her for not packing them fast enough. One thing at a time!
You want to recommend heading out and finding mass graves in other people’s countries so someone in the comments section blurts, “OKAY NEO CON”? You don’t deprogram someone by punching through their skull and yanking out the cerebellum. You can’t advise people to just “Google” around for the great discovery that they have associated with zombies and are therefore zombies (and then John was a zombie) the whole time.
You know why? People double down into denial–sometimes justifiably so. Then they get angry, bargain, get depressed, and just go along because they hate feeling angry over what seems like nothing special. They don’t gain any valuable insights or contribute any good vibes, let alone actual support, because they ask, like she is, “where do I start?” and must then change the bandages on those eyes you just gouged.
You have to realize you’re being bullied before you bail out, fight back, or find someone who cares enough to cover your back. You also need to realize that you’ve become a bully before you consider dropping the act. Big government is not always tyrannical–bullies are always tyrannical. A government is just their cover point, not the source. If even limited government is unfashionable, anarcho-tyranny will prove how bullies ruin everything.
Bailing out of the wrong crowd and reevaluating everything you’ve come to understand is a personal process. Don’t get uppity just because she woke up about it. Give her a chance to learn things on her own. If she doesn’t gain this knowledge for herself, she won’t feel responsible with how she uses such knowledge. Wouldn’t that be a shame, when they begin to agree with you, only you condemn them for not doing so in advance?
Jeff M.Dec 29
Christopher – That’s a well meaning and well minded, thoughtful post. Thank you for it. That being said, I understand why someone like Roger would post what he did.
When you’ve been bullied for years and been called a NAZI every time you dare preach personal responsibility or point out the flaws in relying on government as the one size fit’s all solution and nearly completely abandon the notion of personal citizen responsibility save writing your tax check (and expecting others to do the same so that your ‘team’ will provide what they’ve promised.) This is what you get. We HAVE been polarized and made tribal – it happens every night when you turn on the news regardless of what channel you watch. Working as intended.
Frankly, as well, if this person in her awakening is so utterly fragile that any online criticism will be seen as having one’s eye’s gouged out, then she’s clearly NOT the person to carry the water of reason to her side. She’ll just fold like a cheap tent when challenged. I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt that she’s tougher than that – we can only hope so. If she’s just Sarah Silverman, then her entire post will be meaningless and she’ll retreat back into the obedience demanded by the tribe.
Should Roger, myself or any of us be less than our best at all times when posting and never, ever let our feelings get into our posts? Probably.
I’d like to introduce you to 2 things, however: Humanity and the Internet.
Signed: A former Californian who lives now in flyover country where I spend no time in traffic, 5 minutes at the DMV, next to no homeless, limited crime, next to zero violent crime, no mask wearing, shutdown, or large increase in covid or overrun hospitals. People go to church and help each other and that’s in a state with some of the highest minority population in the country. And, yeah, they vote largely for the ‘red’ team.
Maybe all these ‘rednecks’ aren’t right, but since I get to choose someplace to live – the choice isn’t even close. Those ‘blue’ folks can keep the hell they’ve created and it’s THEIR responsibility to make what they broke better. I wish her luck in her endeavor. Truly. That, however, is where MY responsibility ends. I voted long enough against what they now have and lost. Be careful what you wish for.
Terrific piece and dialog. I live in Seattle and wake up in a state of mild to extreme background grief daily due to what I see happening here. We are just a few minutes behind you in destroying everything I used to love about my city. The worst part of it to me is the hypocrisy and utter lack of self-reflection on the part of the left. While parroting dogma about “density” and “green cities” they have wiped every old and affordable building off the streets via up zoning, replacing the existing housing stock with colonies of luxury town houses and the smallest (in square footage) apartments built in the USA. Under the mantle of virtuous environmentalism they have also erased the character of the city’s architecture. Every day we look more like a cartoon third world city that Seattle tourists used to visit, to write home about the shocking juxtaposition of luxury towers and slums.
The key missing piece in the policies and belief systems running Seattle and the other cities in this predicament is accountability. The homeless industrial complex is never required to show what it is doing with its dollars. “Harm reduction??” We have people running around the city in vans giving addicts everything they need to keep their habit going, and housing where they can use whatever drugs they want. The stores frequently have empty shelves, if the shelves aren’t locked, and the goods stolen to feed drug habits are being sold across the street from stores in sidewalk markets. It’s complete insanity.
We need tough love when it comes to addiction. Incarceration is good if it gets you sober. And we need to invest in the intermediate steps to keep addicts in halfway houses and counseling when they get out. We have become a magnet for every addict who wants free food, clean needles and a tent in a mild climate in the middle of our best parks.
The anti jail people say continually that jail “doesn’t solve the emotional and economic and addiction problems of the homeless and those committing crime. We need to solve the root problems of capitalism…..” What they forget is that tough love and incarceration make it possible for the rest of us to function, to make the money to pay the taxes for the remediation programs–and they make it possible for the rest of us to not become victims of crime. The victim story is completely backwards: not once has a city council member spoken publicly about the homicide wave that has taken us since the George Floyd riots and subsequent move to defund the police. Not once have they sent condolences to the victims of the weekly shootings (who are 80% people of color). Thank you for writing and keep it up. I lost about 20 friends due to speaking out against the current policies, and have been called a racist, a Trump supporter and everything else. After enough abuse the effect is that I am now thoroughly vaccinated! immune! and happy to call myself “post woke.” Join me in embracing freedom of thought.
I am very conservative, by my own definition. Specifically, I believe we should address problems in ways that work. How do we know what works? In the US, we have 50 experimental laboratories, the states, with myriad local governments, all working to solve problems. San Francisco is indeed a failure in many respects, but in the bigger picture, San Francisco is providing a great service to the country by illustrating the consequences of their poor solutions. True, it’s an unfortunate situation for the citizens of San Francisco, to which I can only reply “thank you for your service”. But you can always move to another city in another state and escape those problems, at least until San Francisco’s leftist solutions are implemented on the national level.
“Progressives” deny human nature, it’s just too harsh for them. If you subsidize an activity, you will get more of it, that’s human nature. Jobs were lost during the pandemic, so government stepped in with free money. Now we have some percentage of the population that declines to re-enter the workforce, perhaps because their sense of self-worth is no longer tied to their job. Only a progressive could be surprised when subsidizing homelessness, separate from any form of accountability, only works to increase homelessness.
Progressives despise the wealthy (and wealthy progressives despise themselves, or at least pretend to). How do you become wealthy in the US? Well, if you are self-made, and you ‘earn’ your wealth in a competitive free market, you get wealthy by providing value. In the US, you must provide, on average, $100 in value to make $5 in wealth. The other side of this coin is that confiscating $5 in wealth from an entrepreneur pulls $100 in value from the economy. Since government is doing the confiscating, the government needs to provide $100 in value with that $5, perhaps by building a sorely needed road. But we all know that much of government spending provides little or no economic value, and much gets redistributed very unproductively to buy votes.
Progressives despise accountability. This is basic human nature; nobody likes to be held accountable for failures. This is why progressives love unions (and vice-versa), and why progressives hate local control of decision-making. How many failed federal programs ever go away? If progressives can implement their policy preferences at the national level, they never have to be held accountable. Is there a better way? With a federal program, we never find out, and therefore no one is ever held accountable.
In sum, progressives are motivated by feelings, what they feel is fair, what they feel should work, feeling that their proposed solutions are obviously the right ones and shouldn’t need to be justified or subjected to an after-the-fact grading on success or failure. I don’t see much chance that San Francisco will change anytime soon, even if it’s leaders magically moderate considerably. Progressives, even moderate progressives, just have no stomach for the harsh realities of life.