Dear Big Daddy,
You’re into conspiracy theories. How about this one—ship spills thousands of gallons into San Francisco Bay, then the feds wait hours to alert local authorities. Is this the Bush administration’s revenge on the land of Pelosi and Feinstein?
What, have the last seven years somehow not been enough revenge on the land of Pelosi and Feinstein? Bush and his supporters have called the area “irrelevant”—then invoked this irrelevant area every time they want to score a political layup. “Nancy Pelosi” has become a euphemism for “crack-smoking transsexuals who dine on raw infant in white wine reduction with truffles.” A fine real estate term, “San Francisco Values,” has become a coded way to say “tacit support of crack-smoking transsexuals who dine on raw infant etc. etc.” You get the idea.
I say all this, of course, with a kind of bitter, angry admiration. I wish I could toss around terms like “Orange County Values” without people asking what night that airs on Fox. Ironic that I’d have to own Fox to make this happen.
But do I honestly think there was a conspiracy to trash the bay (and was it secretly planned for a time when thousands of gay-marriage-and-socialist-health-care-loving Canadian ducks were hitting the local circuit party on their annual migration?)? It’s hard to say, given the background noise of federal snafus over the last few years. That favorite phrase of the 2000 elections, “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” has blossomed into a dictatorship of general incompetence. Disasters keep striking the Gomorrahs of the United States: New York, New Orleans, now Frisco. Unless a hurricane hits Houston in the next year, we’ll never know whether slow federal reaction times were planned or inadvertent.
Now the obvious connection that no one has made is the fact that thousands of Christians in Georgia were literally praying for rain when the spill happened. How is this relevant? Well, my understanding is that even (especially?) the faithful think that God works in mysterious (random?) ways. They wanted a liquid to spill out and benefit the faithful—wouldn’t an oil slick in San Francisco be the ultimate consolation prize?
My point is this: When something like this happens, the second reaction of Bay Area lefties is to play “Where’s the Conspiracy?” (The first is to make jokes about that ANWR-by-the-bay, Gavin Newsom’s hair). Now I’ve certainly taken members of the GOP to task for products their fevered imagination has produced in recent years. But I have to admit that they are often outdone by the creative output from the thought bubbles of denizens of the Bay Area.
Witness the following, which shows that people’s real beliefs can be much stranger than the crap I make up. I once saw an actual meeting of two San Franciscans in which the conversation quickly turned to the undeniable fact that George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein live together on Bush’s Texas ranch, where they hunt children and drink their blood for their own enjoyment. That guy who got put to death, of course, was one of Saddam’s many body doubles. The best part: After a couple minutes of this, they stopped and stared at each other wistfully and said, almost in unison, “It’s so good to finally meet someone who knows the truth!”
Now there are numerous problems with their scenario. First of all, it’s actually Dick Cheney they’re thinking of. Second, they’re a few cards short of a full deck. Now these two fellas weren’t exactly political insiders—I don’t even think they were Democrats, or even classifiable using the sane people’s political index.
Now both sides of the political aisle have a lunatic fringe surrounding a balding, rational middle. The conventional wisdom holds that having a large contingent of the reality-challenged on your side isn’t a good thing. But waaaaaay-out outsiders serve an important purpose: moving the debate subtly to the left or right. Standing next to my two Frisco conspiracy theorists, Dennis Kucinich would look almost Reaganesque.
So guys, if you’re reading (and I know you’re not), keep up the good work. If you could just mix in a race of aliens living among us and commanded by Nixon’s head in a jar, we might still be able to get health care reform this year.