A Berkeley nudity activist who recently lived in a van with an “Ain’t no sunshine until capitalisms gone” sticker affixed to it and was described as “progressive” and “mentally ill” by his incarcerated ex-partner morphed into a MAGA extremist over the weekend.
Such rapid political conversions tend to take place when one commits some atrocious act. Evil isn’t evil for some people, until and unless it connects to an enemy ideology. This is especially true in San Francisco, where an unhealthy politics-drenched mindset sees evil as always and everywhere the work of the political Right. The pull to blame outsiders, geographical, political, and otherwise, strengthens in this case because the soft-0n-crime, illegal-alien sanctuary, deinstitutionalized dystopia of the Bay Area strikes as more directly responsible for what happened than words uttered by faraway Republicans.
The dirty Berkeley hippie whom Americans saw in pictures became, in Lawrence O’Donnell’s telling on MSNBC, “that Trump supporter who broke into Nancy Pelosi’s home.” Politico-turned-pundit Bill Press called the attack “the direct consequence of years of violent rhetoric directed against Pelosi by Republican Party candidates and official campaign committees.” Gavin Newsom accused Jesse Watters of “aiding and abetting all this,” as though California’s governor somehow knows that DePape listens to voices on Fox News rather than the ones in his head.
Bay Area politicos wrote the playbook on deflecting the sins of its city’s denizens onto distant political enemies who somehow control the actions of local crazies by remote.
When Jim Jones, who described capitalism as his faith’s “devil” and socialism as its “god,” orchestrated a murder-suicide event in Guyana 44 years ago this month that claimed more than 900 lives, the media rewrote his ideology. The Associated Press described members of the Marxist-atheist group that used Bible pages as toilet paper in Jonestown as “religious zealots.” Walter Cronkite described Jones, who willed millions of dollars to the Soviet Union, as “a power-hungry fascist.” The New York Times told a half-truth in reporting, “Mr. Jones had preached a blend of fundamentalist Christianity and social activism.”
In fact, the Bay Area Left, as I document exhaustively in my book Cult City, worshipped Jones almost as much as his deluded followers. Willie Brown described him to Fidel Castro as “a highly trusted brother in the struggle for liberation,” deserving of a state visit upon his arrival in Cuba. Harvey Milk, who, like Brown, ran interference for Jones, gushed, “Such greatness I have found in Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple.” Mayor George Moscone appointed him to the city’s Housing Authority Commission, of which Jones became chairman before slaughtering almost all the people housed in his compound 5,000 miles south.
When a bitter and troubled former San Francisco supervisor murdered Milk and Moscone in the city hall just over a week later, San Francisco again blamed political creatures exotic to city limits — conservatives — for the crimes of local nutters. (READ MORE from Daniel J. Flynn: Gloria Allred’s October Surprises No Longer Surprise)
The assassin, a Democrat mentored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, became, in the chants of protesters, “Dan White, Dan White / Hit man for the New Right.” He supported gun control, voted for affirmative action measures, and donated money to defeat the anti-gay Briggs Initiative. But years later, White strangely became “a disturbed right-wing supervisor” who killed not because he felt betrayed out of his office by Milk and Moscone but because he — a man who hired a gay man as his campaign manager and chief of staff — supposedly hated homosexuals.
If it does not make sense, neither does San Francisco.
From the New World Liberation Front shooting up Feinstein’s beach house to the Symbionese Liberation Army murdering Oakland school district Superintendent Marcus Foster to the Zebra Murderers shooting future Mayor Art Agnos twice in the chest, Bay Area politicians know firsthand the blurred line between political crazies and just plain crazies attracted to the region.
DePape sits on one side of the Bay Area line of crazies, the side on which the human flotsam and jetsam pushed by the currents upon its shores hold political views at once largely incoherent and incidental to their atrocities. The just-the-narrative-ma’am reaction to a man who once imagined himself to be Jesus Christ striking an 82-year-old Paul Pelosi in the head with a hammer at 2:30 in the morning certainly finds precedent in the region’s recent history.
David DePape has been delusional for a long time. One could say the same for San Francisco.