I was recently off in the central time zone for a weekend somewhere and when it came to light that I was living in Northern California, the conversation turned to bashing liberals. I haven’t been at a meal where the conversation was liberal bashing for sometime, in my Rochester days, pretty much every meal was devoted to liberal bashing for no other reason than “they are wrong and immoral” and “we are right and moral” or something along those lines.
For the record, I am far from liberal, but anyone who only hangs around frum right wingers would probably call me such – so I won;t start explaining all of my uninformed ideals now. I do, however, dislike people who only look at one side of the story as is frequent with both sides of the extreme. Last thanksgiving I got into a whole argument with my father and his father in law about looking at the other side. My argument was that you can’t just go on listening to people you agree with, watching right wing TV and reading right wing books if you are ever to have a truly informed opinion. Their argument back was that they would never look at something they didn’t agree with and I think many folks are like this.
I tried to explain to my hosts that northern California, while being quite liberal, is not as noticeably liberal as they think. Sure, if you go to the Castro you will see some pretty extreme stuff, but if you’re just wandering around, northern California isn’t necessarily anymore liberal than New York City which is quite liberal – unless you live in one of the Jewish ghettos.
No matter how extreme political the shabbos table may be, frum folks in northern California simply don’t discuss politics at the shabbos table. I should commend the Bay Area for that, I have not once been at a table where there was conservative or liberal bashing, while every time I go to New York that’s what ends up happening and since everyone usually agrees to hate on the libs, there is only one side being discussed. I don’t think shabbos is for politics, which is funny, because I used to think that’s what shabbos was for – you get together with your friends – drink booze eat hearty food and discuss how stupid the liberals are and how they are taking society into the fiery depths of hell. Although it does get interesting when there is a frum liberal, quite a rare thing, sitting at a shabbos meal – frum liberals are a unique breed and if you find one send them my way (I’m not talking modern orthodox here)
My favorite thing is when people say really stupid uninformed things about San Francisco because they heard it on Micheal Savage, now I love Savage, but he is living here for a reason – as do most – the San Francisco area despite being so left wing is probably the most beautiful place to live in the country and the homeless people don;t stick you with needles when you’re walking down the street. Just steer clear of the Tenderloin and Bayview and you should be cool.