The “self-appointed PC ayatollahs”
When I read Tim Martin’s thoughts about a particular class of Arcatans I was struck by how easily he could be writing about a slew of local blogs and their resident commenters.
Tim Martin Eureka – Times Standard
Posted:Sun May 18 01:18:36 MDT 2014 – Times-Standard.com
I’ve never been accused of being a lackey for the Republican Party. To the contrary, I’ve been a loyal
supporter of Democrats since I was old enough to vote. But what I experienced during the 20 years I lived
in a college town has me wondering if, in the end, liberals are no different than their conservative
Talk to a passionate liberal in Arcata, say, a haughty former mayor or an arrogant ex-newspaper editor or
some like-minded individual with over-sensitive, myopic Pollyanna views and a superior attitude. They will
more than likely offer this lofty opinion of their citizenry: “Democrats are the most rational people in this
country. Republicans only care about themselves. They eat meat, don’t recycle or compost, and drive gas
guzzlers.” Blah, blah, blah, rag, rag, rag, get the picture?
Their complaints have become like Eminem lyrics that way.
Arcata is the most sanctimonious town in Northern California. It’s a hotbed of lofty musings and
self-deception. Many of its residents are as essentially naïve about the real world as George H.W. Bush
was when confronted with his first supermarket scanner.
Of course, not everyone in Arcata is bathed in a fine mist of bias and insensitivity. There are plenty of
residents untouched by HSU’s ivory-tower smugness. Yet a good number of those in charge — city
leaders and self-appointed PC ayatollahs — are mired in a self-righteous rut that runs roughshod over
such heinous criminals as cigarette smokers and tree-fallers and (gasp!) skateboarders. Their list of
dissatisfactions with anything right-wing related is nearly despair-grade.
Case in point: I recently wrote a column about the need for conservationists and the timber industry to
work together. You would have thought I had suggested slaying senior citizens. A few of my Facebook
friends (mostly Arcata residents) were choked with fury. One labeled me a “traitor.” Another person stated
that my recent move to Fortuna had turned me into “just another dumb redneck.”
Arcata government is so hilariously prone to arrogance that it has become immune to any sort of
self-awareness. The most influential among the ruling elite actually feel an obligation to project their
political views, gender bias, and moral authority on everyone else in the county. I have a suspicion that
this kind of snobbery takes place in every college town in the United States.
Sure, everyone does a little innocent judging from time to time, but the high command in Arcata takes it to
the limit. They paint with a broad brush and create feelings of anger and resentment in other Humboldt
residents. They want you to believe that conservatives eat their children, foreclose on your homes, and
put good people out of a job. They chastise anyone who doesn’t fit into their cultish, narrow-minded
perception of the universe that is Arcata.
These folks give higher education a bad name.
According to a poll by the New York Times, conservatives donate more to charity than liberals do. Believe
it or not, they also volunteer their time, give generously to their communities, and help feed the poor. Their
representatives are not immune from taking money from big-wig donors or free from the influence-peddling, but neither are liberal politicians. The truth is people are people. Not everyone who lives in Arcata is a long-haired, unemployed hippy. And not everyone who resides elsewhere in Humboldt County is a white-trash pickup-driving moron with a truck horn that plays “Dixie.”
Liberals and conservatives alike generalize. They are inclined to reduce people who have different
religious, environmental, political, and sexual beliefs into some type of caricature. It’s pathetic that after all
we’ve accomplished in the areas of civil rights, women’s rights and worker’s rights, we’re still divided by a
deep chasm of ignorance and mistrust. Even the most educated among us — those who teach at our local
colleges and lead our nation — are clueless as how to unite the people in this country.
I think it’s time for a call of honesty and wisdom of the heart from everyone. We can start by practicing
humbleness instead of preaching superiority. That’s the sign of a great leader, you know — humility.
Arcata’s most out-of-touch citizens might want to begin by wiping that condescending smirk off their faces,
stepping outside of town once-in-a-while, and developing a better understanding of those in their
community. You know, like blue-collar workers and conservative voters. We’re all negotiating the sea of
life here in Humboldt. And despite what one ex-town mayor might think, we’re not all dumb rednecks.
Tim Martin resides in Fortuna and writes this column for the Times-Standard.