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Don’t Be a Tacky Asshole With Your WWIII Memes Just Cause Trump Sucks

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Sooner or later, Northern California will experience a major earthquake. Statistically, it’s likely to be on the Hayward Fault, which means less-affluent parts of the Bay Area like Oakland and Richmond may bear the brunt of the destruction. The recovery will be arduous, and decades-long, and it will almost certainly exacerbate the displacement emergency, possibly morphing the crisis into an even more ghoulish, social Darwinist contest of who gets to live here.

A sign notifies people they are standing on the Hayward Fault in the children’s zoo area of the Oakland Zoo in Oakland, Calif.
Ben Margot/AP

California will also need federal help — probably in the range of tens of billions of dollars, far beyond the scope of the state’s proposed climate bond. Maybe even hundreds of billions.

Based on the lecture about needing to rake our national forests a little better that the state received after the destructive 2018 wildfire season, there’s a slim chance that we might not get it. California isn’t popular with fascists, and right now, fascists control the federal wallet.

I cannot imagine how I would feel if my house fell down and some of my friends were seriously injured and 100,000 people were suddenly homeless and jobless and a half an entire historic neighborhood — like, God forbid, North Beach — burned down in the chaos. Now add to that a million right-wing memes saying it was God’s judgment on this liberal shithole, and a GOP senator or two dangling the possibility of declaring a state of emergency only if Congress ties it to legislation building a border wall because they think that’s a national emergency, too. 

That’s what I think about when I see people daring Iran to nuke Palm Beach just because the president’s gilded palace is there. 

This is not a hot take, like “You’re a terrible person if you drink almond milk.” I am merely asking people to reconsider posting things like that “Dear Iran, he’s on the golf course” map with the arrow pointing to Florida. Yes, the United States should not have assassinated Qassem Soleimani, and Donald Trump cannot be trusted. But if there’s in fact an attack on Florida, you know you would delete that shit in a second. 

As of Thursday, it looks like Iran and the U.S. have de-escalated a bit (although maybe not, and there’s still that downed airliner). Iran attacked two bases in Iraq with U.S. troops stationed there, a show of force that plausibly demonstrates defiance without baiting Washington into ratcheting up a skirmish into a war. The Trump administration’s rhetoric remains as belligerent and Orwellian as ever, although maybe we’ve stepped back from the childishly symbolic threat to bomb 52 cultural sites in Iran, one for each hostage in the 1979 crisis. There’s no way Donald Trump can provide anyone the name of even one cultural site in Iran, but after the Taliban dynamited those giant Buddha statues and how ISIS razed the site of the ancient city of Palmyra, just hearing that kind of loose talk is nauseating. And destroyed cultural patrimony is not the same thing as hundreds of dead civilians.

theatre in Palmyra

Let’s put this in perspective. Tehran uses Facebook to spy on its political enemies, but they’re probably not monitoring the social media feeds of ordinary people to form the basis of their foreign policy. So dumb jokes aren’t going to get Florida nuked. (Also, Palm Beach is sinking into the Atlantic. If you really hate it that badly, just give it time.) But half-joking fantasies about mass carnage and whole regions of America getting destroyed are a staple of the conservative imagination — and surprise, they often focus on San Francisco and California. Let’s let the faux-warrior assholes savor that nonsense among themselves. If you’re a progressive and you’re committed to peace, don’t be tacky just because the president sucks.

 

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Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane

Peter Lawrence Kane is a total gaylord who was the editor of SF Weekly for kind of a while. His goal is to get to every national park before he turns 40, but they're starting to get really remote now.

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