Ah, the Daily Show. Source of almost everything I know about conservative TV hacks like Sean Hannity.
Tonight the Daily Show aired a clip from Mr. Hannity, in which he poked fun at new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pledge to use the first 100 hours of the new session to make this congress something of which the American people can be proud.
Hannity called it "100 hours to turn America into San Francisco." (I think that was the exact quote. I know the "100 hours" and "San Francisco" parts are right.) I don't know what else he said. I don't watch Sean Hannity, which should shock absolutely no one who knows me.
I'm totally biased about San Francisco, of course. It appears that a lot of the country is biased about San Francisco, or at least the part of our country that gleans its information from sound bites like "San Francisco Liberal..." My bias does differ a bit from theirs, due in no small part to the fact that I have actually been there. Went to college there, in fact. I think that makes me a San Francisco Liberal. It's probably also why I'm gay.
Nah. A seminary in Berkeley made me gay. Or at least God had something to do with it.
Anyway, I think the whole San Francisco Liberal thing is funny. It's such crude shorthand. True, San Francisco is full of liberals. But Sean Hannity might be surprised at how many conservatives also live there. Actually, I doubt he'd be surprised at all. We're talking about a city with a very high cost of living. Not so many social worker types left. Investment bankers are now living in their flats. You can't have that many people making that much money in a city with that large a business district and not have a pretty substantial conservative element.
But the shorthand works--facts be damned. Everybody knows what Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove (who no doubt first carved the phrase in political bedrock) mean when they say "San Francisco Liberal." They mean to invoke half naked drag queens and topless dykes-on-bikes parading down Market Street. Pot smoking on the sidewalks. Acid dropping in the parks. A city so hedonistic it would make Caligula blush.
San Francisco does have its moments. Halloween is a freak fest. The Pride Parade is always good for a little public nudity (though it's pretty vanilla any more, compared to the seventies and eighties). If you hang around the Castro District long enough you'll probably see something interesting.
But San Francisco is, for the most part, a city like any other. Except for the bookstores. There are a lot of bookstores. And the tolerance. There is a lot of tolerance.
If the 110th Congress can turn America into a tolerant nation with a lot of bookstores in 100 days, I for one will be a happy camper.