Photo by Melinda Martin-Khan
“I didn’t know there was any help out there. … I’d probably be dead if I’d stayed in Stockton.” — Terry, an Army vet suffering from PTSD who found the help she needed to recover in the San Francisco Bay Area
One day if I do go to heaven, I’ll look around and say, ‘It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.
— Pulitzer Prize winner Herb Caen
“San Francisco Values” are the three dirtiest words in politics. Conservative commentators from former TV commentator Bill O’Reilly to the blogger next door fling the phrase at political enemies with abandon.
“San Francisco Values” has become shorthand for plastering an anti-American label on anyone supporting the secular progressive culture commonly associated with the San Francisco Bay Area. Fear is their subtext: stirring fears that this country will be destroyed by homosexuality and same sex marriages, hippies and decriminalization of marijuana, anti-war activism, pro-choice politics, and lenient immigration policies. Yet the truth is very different.
These truly American values include real family and personal values, loyalty and patriotism, scientific creativity, embracing diversity, and the use of public policy for the public good. When these values are affirmed and embraced rather than feared and shunned, they can help individuals and bring peace to the war of words that divide us.