THE BLOG

America's Values Are San Francisco Values

Mar 28, 2011 | Updated May 28, 2011

One way Republicans have used their "two word sound bites" to besmirch Democrats' patriotism and "American-ness" is to accuse us of having "San Francisco values". Extra references to (and political campaigns against) Nancy Pelosi add fuel to their defamatory fire. These obvious references to homophobia and vague "left-ism" are more of their clever and devious manipulation of language to bend the weak minds that watch Fox and don't pay attention to the news -- even so-called "independent voters" who aren't so independent; they just don't have allegiance to either party, but are still easily swayed.

Just as Republicans have tried to turn "liberal" and "trial lawyer" into dirty words (and now "unions") practically hissing these words through their teeth, they have tried the word association technique by identifying "San Francisco" as "Democrat". Republicans understand the key to America's political mind: It is shallow. Many people want quick, short, simple answers: "Bottom line me" has morphed from a noun to a verb. Understanding that when people think about politics they want quick, "grab-and-go" answers, Republicans have capitalized on this knowledge to trick people into believing their corporate agenda.

I am here to re-define "San Francisco values" and turn the tables on Republicans. Simply stated (how else can it be?) if you do not believe in San Francisco's values, then you don't believe in America, because San Francisco's values are America's values. These values are: Diversity; Acceptance; Tolerance and Freedom. This is America in four words.

San Francisco is diverse. Nationality; religion (or non-religion); sexuality; politics, you name it; San Francisco (and the entire Bay Area) is very diverse. There are even Republicans there. San Franciscans accept this diversity and draw strength from it. People enjoy experiencing the ethnic foods and ways of others; people make way to accommodate the expressions of others. Even if and when there is disagreement on things, San Franciscans at least tolerate each other -- understanding that tolerance is the key to getting along in a civil society. Freedom -- that Republican mainstay -- is on display daily in San Francisco. People express themselves howsoever they choose and are free to make their own choices and live them in an atmosphere of, well, diversity, acceptance and tolerance. Think about this for one second: Is this not what America is all about?

Contrast this with the "red" parts of America. What church you belong to; how well you conform to majority demands; how much you don't stick out -- these are the values celebrated in places that chant "freedom and liberty" as slogans. The irony, of course, is that those claiming "freedom and liberty" as their talking points accept neither, and vilify those who use both. On our radio show, I was challenged recently to define abortion. I responded: "It's a woman exercising her freedom and liberty." Likewise, those who want to marry the one they love; those who want to smoke marijuana instead of (or in addition to) drinking alcohol; these are people exercising their freedom and liberty. Of course, the intolerant Republicans invert words: Conformity and intolerance are transformed into "freedom and liberty".

Sadly, many people lacking depth in political sophistication are tricked into this Republican way of "thinking": Manipulate slogans and use word association, and offer these as analysis. For those who are impatient or lacking substantial interest in public policy, this works to answer the need, or perceived obligation, to "pay attention" to politics. To define Republicans' word manipulation itself requires three words: Vapid, vacuous and insipid. Those manipulating the shallow-minded are themselves very sharp and sophisticated. They understand the goal -- to gain electoral majority by conning people into conflating their own interests with those of billionaires like the Koch Brothers; thus "Republicans" as a counterpoint to "the Democrat Party". They count on the vapid, vacuous and insipid nature of a large portion of the electorate to further their goals. And, they have met much success -- turning intellectual fraud into a science. The mind manipulation is stunningly precise -- cold hearted to be sure, but when trying to defraud someone, cold heartedness is a requirement. The use of Jesus and religion only serves to further their agenda.

So, we have to fight the madness. That is why I am on the radio five days per week; three hours per day, and spend significant time on Facebook and Twitter. I, and my colleagues, Ed Schultz, Bill Press, Stephanie Miller, Thom Hartmann, Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy, are all banging away with the tools available to reach as large an audience as possible, to spread the truth to a propagandized populace.

That is also why I am proud to be starting live on the radio in San Francisco on AM 960 -- Green 960 -- Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 PM Pacific Time, beginning Monday, March 28. I will be celebrating San Francisco's values and helping to re-introduce America to its own values. America has embraced San Francisco's values all along; indeed the truth is that San Francisco has embraced America's values -- much of America has forgotten this and forsaken its own values. Let the education begin again. I invite you to join me, on the air in the Bay Area on Green 960; Progressive Talk AM 1090 in Seattle; Chicago's Progressive Talk AM & FM at www.chicagoprogressivetalk.com or streamed online, whether at www.normangoldman.com; www.iheartradio.com or http://www.am1090seattle.com/ or any other of the many stations that carry us!