The very name of our surf town sends wingnuts into a tofu-foaming, crystal-smashing fit. This past week, I found myself as a mysterious statistic in one of their tempests.
My story starts with the media coverage of a pro-peace student group at U.C. Santa Cruz, "Students Against War." They've had tremendous success pressuring military recruiters off of campus.
They organize to stop the armed forces
from showing up at campus job fairs with their "Go To Exotic Places
and Kill People" rap. I like their politics. I went to UCSC too, a twenty years ago, and was involved in similiar activities.
UCSC is the biggest employer in our town, the reason we have a sizeable population and traffic snarls most of the year. Ever since they broke ground in 1967, there has been a resentment by "old-timers" that the university brought braless heathens, pot smokers, and liberal politics to an otherwise peaceful (redneck) hamlet. Our local paper, The Sentinel, likes to intensify this town/gown seething at every opportunity.
I don't know if I'm being contrary, but THESE days, it seems like the older generation in "town" is far more New Age and liberal than the students on campus. Gown drinks more beer; Town smokes more weed.
This year, army recruiters declined to come and face the protestors, and their plight aroused outrage from hawks around the country. It became a Drudge Report hysteria item.
I may be cynical, but I don't think the recruiters retreated because satanic communist hippies run the university— if only that were true! If they did, maybe they would do something to alleviate the traffic mess.
No, the bigger issue is that military pitchmen have no prayer of recruiting upper middle class kids from Orange County whose GOP parents are footing the bill for their darling sons to matriculate from Banana Slug U.
The majority of UCSC students today, despite what you've heard, are upper-class, apolitical, sheltered, and vaguely conservative— like every other elite campus in the UC system. They aren't going to Iraq— not because they take a stand— but because mommy and daddy have other plans. The recruiters will do much, much better hassling people at the junior college (which they do) or the working class high schools.
Nevertheless, Michelle Malkin, hippie-hating blogger extraordinare, went ballistic on the Student Against War activists, and published their home addresses and phone numbers, prompting tidal waves of hate mail and death threats.
I hesitate to link you to Malkin; I'll let you find her on your own. Suffice to say she makes Rush Limbaugh look like a drug-addled old hasbeen. Oh, right...
This all reached fever pitch LAST week, Easter week. On Saturday, I woke up and went out to the car with baskets of eggs, ready to embark to our annual pagan preparations. As we drove off, I changed lanes and realized someone had smashed my passenger side-view mirror.
I got out, looked around, and discovered the passenger door had been dented as well.
SHIT! You know how it is when someone wrecks your car. But I wasn't about to cancel my Easter Egg Hunt. So I decided to deal with it the next day.
Sunday morning I picked up the daily Sentinel with the blazing headline:
Men in Black Vandalize SUVs on Santa Cruz's Westside!
Vandals apparently went wild in my neighborhood— slashing tires, breaking mirrors, keying paint jobs. Some cars with spray-painted with left-wing "politically charged" slogans.
The Sentinel found one "witness," a hopping mad Ms. Andrea Muzzi, who said she saw 30-40 young people in black trenchcoats (Matrix!) riding away on 10-speeds. Muzzi surmised they must be radical Slugs!
She has re-graffittied her own car to read: "Die UCSC."
The Sentinel story, aided by Malkin, has now got everyone in the country thinking that it's the student peace group that ran amok.
I called the police to report my disaster too, and they were quite interested to hear from another victim from the exact same area and time period.
But I had a new angle for them. I said, "My car is a HYBRID— I drive a Prius." Can the Sentinel explain that?
I wonder how many marauding right and left wing vandals could be working the same block at the same time. With 40 bicycles in the street, it could get chaotic. The police, meanwhile, are flummoxed. Ms. Muzzo is not their star.
Me— I don't think it was the Baader-Meinhof gang. It certainly wasn't Students Against War. I say, it was a bunch of drunk assholes, who along with the desperate junkies, are the two groups who usually vandalze cars in our "historic" neighborhood.
But now the FBI has been brought in! Gosh, we know how tough they're cracking down on environmental terrorists! I hope they've brought plenty of fax toner! Can they get me a rental while my car's in the shop?
Someone's cute kids... location unknown!