Coming home to Progressive Land
|Gabrielle Lurie, NY Times|
Writing in the NY Times, Thomas Fuller describes what it was like coming back to San Francisco after 27 years abroad:
...During all my years in Asia I constantly grappled with the perniciousness of poverty. Yet somehow I was unprepared for the scale and severity of homelessness in San Francisco.
The juxtaposition of the silent whir of sleek Tesla electric vehicles, with the outbursts of the mentally ill on the sidewalks. Destitution clashing with high technology. Well-dressed tourists sharing the pavement with vaguely human forms inside cardboard boxes.
I’m confounded how to explain to my two children why a wealthy society allows its most vulnerable citizens to languish on the streets. My son, when he first encountered a homeless man, asked why no one “wanted to adopt him.”
It seems a terrible statement about my home country that my children will encounter homelessness and mental illness much more vividly in the wealthiest nation in the world than they did in Thailand, where we previously lived...
I had a similar experience in 1995 when I came back to the city from San Diego, where I had lived for several years. Before that I was living in Mendocino County, though I had lived and worked mostly in San Francisco from 1961 until the 1980s.
I was shocked at the sight of homeless people living on the streets and in Golden Gate Park. San Diego may have also had a homeless problem at the time, but if so it wasn't as visible as it was in San Francisco.
Just as shocking as homelessness itself was the passive attitude of the city's left, which, instead of pressing for City Hall to respond to what was clearly a public emergency, endorsed Food Not Bombs and the Biotic Baking Brigade, the pie-throwers.
One of my first posts on this blog was about that ongoing political negligence by the city's left. Instead of supporting Mayor Newsom's attempt to deal with homelessness, the left sniped at Newsom and accused him of waging war on the poor!