By Cheri Rae
After two weeks of convention speeches, I’m a little wrung out from words ranging from silly talk to soaring oratory. And a bit confused—not so much about what was said as about what was left out. It’s obvious that the streets of Santa Barbara don’t much resemble Main Street, U.S.A., since scarcely a word was uttered about some of the most pressing issues in America’s Riviera.
Homelessness? Pot shops? Plastic bags? Taxpayer subsidized and mixed-use housing projects swallowing up the city? Can’t say I remember hearing anything about any of these locally hot topics from either Tampa or Charlotte.
There sure doesn’t seem to be a local war on women, religion or gay rights: Some children have wondered if a man in Santa Barbara is allowed to be a mayor, since they’ve never seen a male running City Hall. Our interfaith community seems pretty strong and tolerant. And this is one of the few counties in all of California that voted against Proposition 8.
It isn’t all about the economy around here. While we have not emerged unscathed from the economic collapse, it’s clear that Santa Barbara escaped most of the worst ravages of it—managing to avoid massive foreclosures and unemployment.
Maybe we’re all just living in a little community bubble in our pretty town on the left coast of America. Maybe we’re just so busy looking at the tiny little details that we’re missing the big picture altogether. Maybe we’re living up to the Riviera part of our name a little too much, resembling one of those lovely European places that some like to disparage.
Are we post-national politics around here? Or our issues what the rest of the country has to look forward to?
I really don’t know the answer, except to point out a crazy disconnect between political life around here, there and everywhere in between. Seems like it’s something to talk about.