In the aftermath of the overwhelming recall vote of Frisco da Chesa Boudin, progressive activists have argued vehemently that the voters were wrong. They bring up crime stats. They compare San Francisco with other cities and states where tough-on-crime prosecutors are in office and Republicans in control to show that the “explanations” are false, promoted by conservative media like the New York Times propagating lies and fear to mislead the public. .
In other words, there is no lesson to be learned and this was just some outrageous manipulated distortion of public understanding by the hard right that proves nothing more than how evil the right is and how they merely need to work harder to thwart the evil right.
The left’s response to Boudin’s recall is instructive. The voters who decided to recall their left-wing prosecutors were simply confused. “Why is recalling a prosecutor supposed to be an answer to homelessness? How is the mythic fusion of CRIMEANDHOMELESSNESS supposed to translate into any sort of ‘stark warning’ on these two separate policy questions? ” demanded Tom Scocca. “Perhaps more than anything, Boudin’s recall shows how inchoate anger over the visible symptoms of inequality – homelessness, public drug use, property crime – can crystallize into a renunciation of an individual politician, even as voters broadly desire the policies that politician champions, ”concludes Piper French.
The biggest takeaway from Boudin’s decisive defeat, according to the left, is that voters really like Boudin’s policies.
Without much need for fanfare, the alternative explanation of why one of the most progressive cities in America, deeply blue in all respects, chose to recall first three school board members who used their position to dedicate public schools to anti-racism and then a newly -elected progressive district attorney who did pretty much what he promised to do in his campaign? Because the quality of life still matters to people, and it was sucking in Frisco and was getting worse daily.
The city was progressive, and it was on a trajectory that its residents rejected. Even if most of the problems had nothing to do with Chesa Boudin, his policies or his exercise of authority, he bore the brunt of public disapproval. Now he’s gone. Even the woke of San Francisco want to enjoy their lives, their homes and their streets. They don’t want the police to needlessly shoot unarmed black men. They want to be able to walk down the street without stepping in human feces or over needles or bodies.
Is that wrong?
The lesson from Boudin’s recall is different than lessons from other places and people because San Francisco is different. It went further than almost anywhere else, Portlandia notwithstanding, in indulging the fixes that progressives believe will bring about Utopia, the reimagining of a city for the benefit of the oppressed, the marginalized and the downtrodden. And it came at the expense of the quiet enjoyment of the vast majority of woke residents. At some point, the majority of people are going to ask themselves, “Am I really so woke as to live my life, let my children live their lives, in misery and mediocrity?”
The left’s response to these reversals has been to portray voters as the victims of brainwashing by conservative media.
Do people not walk out of their homes (how dare these selfish miscreants have homes when there are people who are housing challenged) and see the streets with their own eyes? Who are they to believe, the progressive activists, the conservative media or their own lying eyes? They are not antagonistic to helping others, and to the plight of those less fortunate or burdened by discrimination. They simply want to enjoy their lives as well. They want their children to enjoy their lives. The progressive obsession with the oppressed comes at the expense of their quiet enjoyment.
I’ve half-joked about some woke friends who are constantly heartbroken at all the suffering of the marginalized, but have yet to give a black person the keys to their house or car, or offer their child’s seat at Harvard to an undocumented Salvadorean immigrant . Why should they eat dinner tonight when there are others who have nothing to eat?
The very progressive people of San Francisco came to a realization that they were not willing to forfeit their quality of life, their quiet enjoyment, for the sake of others who did not enjoy a life like theirs. If the only point of existence, of the effort to succeed and accomplish is to wallow in the same misery as the most oppressed, why bother? And no, they’re not wrong to want to enjoy their life, even if there are others who can’t. At least, the quiet enjoyment of our lives is one of the reasons to exist. Sure, we can help others as well, but if the demand is that we live in misery until everyone can live in Nirvana, then it asks too much.
This is the lesson of Chesa Boudin’s recall, not that Boudin is the person necessarily responsible for it. But as long as there are arguments, fights, battles to be waged, this lesson will not be learned.