Yesterday was a tough day to be in Berkeley. There were just so many things to do.
For one, there was a big rally/riot underway in downtown Berkeley. That sounded enticing! For another, signs were plastered around town for a Psychic Fair.
Psychics or riots? Riots or psychics? What to do??? Overwhelmed by these formidable options, I chose what any self-respecting gal would do. I got my nails done.
A side note here: what is with the explosive growth of nail shops around here? I mean, on every commercial block, there are multiple salons, and more opening every day. And the shops are packed to the gills with ladies, and sometimes gentlemen. There’s a definite irony here about women in the most progressive, egalitarian area in the US having their footsies rubbed and toes painted by young Vietnamese girls literally on their knees.
But returning to my story:
Downtown Berkeley has been the scene of continual riots since 2008. Prior to that time, there wasn’t much going on there, unless you count the rampant muggings and other assaults by Berkeley/Oakland criminal types. Riots were occasional on Telegraph Avenue, but not downtown.
That all changed in the era of Obama, with the Occupations and all the rest. And the downtown has experienced a huge amount of violence and property damage since President Trump was elected. Last Sunday was no exception.
Strangely enough, just as all of this chaos is happening, at the same time, there’s an inundation of new housing being erected all over downtown. While development was highly controlled for decades, now the skies the limit, literally, with high-rise apartments and condos opening every which way.
This is why I thought of a clever new advertising campaign for the developers. How’s this: Live Where you Riot! And also this catchy campaign to promote the latest, trendy restaurants in downtown: Dine Where you Riot!
As memorable as such advertisements might be, they would never be successful. The reason is that almost no one around here actually participates in the riots.
Now, after watching the full-color wreckage on CNN, you may assume that Berkeley is a place inhabited by violent communists who riot with impunity. Actually, this is untrue. Berkeley is not inhabited by violent communists. It is, however, a place composed of people who support and approve of violent commies.
I mean, who in Berkeley would actually be doing the rioting? We’ve got thousands of college students, who are doing that studying-and-partying college student thing. Then we’ve got the brainy grad students, many from China and India, who are working hard to some day make a bundle.
There there are the Facebook and Twitter techies from LA, Chicago and NY who are engrossed with their phones and obsessed with planning their next vacation to Vietnam.
We’ve got the middle agers who are distracted by their horrendous commutes and beaten down by their rebellious teens. Finally, we have our old people. And they are. . .well — old.
So exactly who would be doing all of this rioting?
As I said before, these Berkeley or Virginia or wherever insurrections are bought and paid for. Just check out the various Craig’s List ads enlisting the unhinged and unemployed to pretend that they are revolutionaries. (What’s not fake, though, is that a lot of people are getting hurt.)
The widespread, unpredictable mayhem is designed to keep the masses frightened, furious, and fighting with each other. From what I can see, the masterminds are doing a stellar job.
And while all of this is happening to distract us, some truly horrific things are happening in this country: a legal election appears to be intentionally undermined, particularly by the media (how frightening is that?); there is widespread violence against innocent citizens; and a lot of previously sane people have lost their collective minds. It’s a terrible sight to witness, that is, the degradation and destruction of a once-proud nation.
And yet, not many people will see reality; they are too brainwashed and/or stubborn to take the time to educate themselves. A single weekend spent on the Internet would teach them everything that they need to know.
It’s just easier to believe whatever they hear on NPR or read in the Washington Post. And when all else fails: get one’s nails done.