San Francisco sans Tyrant Speech
August 27, 2017
I left San Francisco several hundred years ago – or so it seems. Memories of The City, now more impressions than specifics, reveal like a Monet viewed through a sweet fog of daily burnt weed. Heavy on the feeling, light on detail – gee, that was one wife, two children and three career changes ago. Funny how detail like the scent of bay remains while the color of her eyes, her from back then, has faded. (I think blue, but picture brown or hazel – as usual, could have paid closer attention.)
Yeah, bay leaves in the air, fog in the morning, hills and tunnels everywhere – but, mostly all the smiling, delightfully different, crazy, faces. One of the few native Californians I knew once explained San Francisco with, “This is the last stop for those on the run.” The Pacific seemed dark and dangerous, but with seals making it on the offshore rocks. Beautifully contradictory, fond, impressions of a place left behind – a gentle recollection.
So, I have always been grateful to San Francisco for contributing to my story and for existing as an idea. A really good idea. And it’s heartening to see, even in the midst of the Tyrant’s reign, SF continues to exist as that idea. Yeah, and that idea prevented a pro-Trump, white supremacist, Nazi rally just by organizing a party in response. No violence was threatened, but a dozen or so drag queens did announce plans to confront the Nazi leadership in evening gowns and heels – which may have been too much for the master race leadership.
So anyway, the specter of a large counter-party, along with vastly negative national attention, persuaded the organizers of the Patriot Prayer rally to cancel their action on Saturday. Instead, hundreds showed up to protest intolerance. They brandished signs saying, “What would Mr. Rogers do?”, “Queer Resistance” and “Not on my watch”. They came in costume, they came wearing red and pink. They partied in the streets, then waked to the ocean and sang “This Land is Your Land” and “Imagine”. An American idea realized, as flamboyantly as required. Or maybe just a little more – love that place.
Over the last two-hundred-ninety-two post-election days we’ve heard so much bad, fascist revealing news. And while free speech is important and the republic is reluctant to tell anyone, even Nazis, to shut up, sometimes, for the common good, we just gotta drown the ugly voices out with gay colors, dance and childlike frivolity. Thanks San Francisco for reminding us.