AskWHYBlog: Carol Harvey In San Francisco

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Sunday, January 02, 2005




During the van ride back from the store today, January 1, 2005, I announced to a new friend, Jonathan, that I was writing a BLOG. I confessed it was a "little anti-Bush."

"Gee," he said, "You're taking the easy way out."

Another passenger, Rose, observed, "You know, people are always looking for purpose in a disaster like the Tsunami in the India Ocean. I don't know about that, but this certainly brings wealthy and impoverished countries face to face. Tragedy is a great leveler. Maybe rich nations will become a little more sensitized to the tremendous gulf of privilege and deprivation yawning between the rich and poor of the world."

I recounted a story I had heard of a German couple vacationing in Sri Lanka who were stranded cut and bruised on some debris-covered outpost for five days. The man was walking around in human blood in his bare lacerated feet. During this time, the Sri Lankans, whose villages had been leveled, helped them get to a hospital and to an airport, and back to Germany. The couple reported that children handed them food --- a banana here, a cookie there. They were incredibly touched by the kindness of these people who had literally lost everything.

I said I thought, in the sophistication of our fast paced life, perhaps we have lost the kind of community closeness these villagers share. Maybe we could regain a sense of it from them. That might be their Christmas gift to us on this day of horror for them.

We talked a little about how the amount of U.S. aid to the Tsunami-struck countries rose exponentially from $15 million to $35 million to $350 million as other countries, like Spain, began to best the United States.

We spoke of the huge sums Bush is spending on the Iraqi War.

I thought of an article I head read recently "Little coverage of another (man-made) disaster" by Peter Phillips, professor of Sociology at Sonoma State University and director of "Project Censored," a media research organization.

After applauding the tremendous media coverage of the Tsunami calamity, Phillips compared the hypocrisy of the U.S. press who left uncovered the massive disaster that has befallen Iraqi citizens. "Over 100,000 civilians have died since the beginning of the U.S. invasion and hundreds of thousands more are homeless and weakened." The most common cause of death was aerial bombings. After that, strokes, and heart attacks.

Then Rose made a startling observation, which, it turns out, is an idea being bandied about by some.

"What if Bush just cancelled the war?," she said. "He won't do it, of course, but I think, if he did, he would win it."

"He would certainly reclaim the good opinion of the world, which he has completely lost," I said, "which is the same as winning the war."

The van driver, Donald, piped up with another new idea going the rounds of the Anti-Bush contingent. "What if the Blue States, led by California, seceded from the Union?"

"I would hope not!" I exclaimed.

"But," he replied, "It would be a smart economic move. California is a very rich state. Not to mention the wealth in the other Coastal Blue states. The very threat of secession would snatch the Bush Administration by the short hairs."

As it turns out, Matt Smith, investigative reporter for the SF Weekly interviewed a proponent of California secession for the December 8, 2004 issue. See: San Francisco Weekly.

The Washington Times online had already published this piece on secession by Joseph Curl a week after the election back on November 9, 2004. They are calling the red states "Jesusland," and saying that the Blue States are paying the freight for them.

There is a secession movement afoot in San Francisco. Alf Watt's website USOUTOFSF got a lot of hits in post-election November. Very interesting comments. Take a look. You can join the ten other people who want San Francisco to secede at the San Francisco Secession Meetup Group which is advertizing for an organizer on their site.

The Washington Times article points out that, if States and Cities may not secede, individuals may. Alec Baldwin threatened to secede if Bush won the election, but apparently, in the end, decided to stay.

What kinds of secession fantasies are floating around in your community?