Revolution by Tiny Steps

Now, the city council in the People’s Socialist Green Republic of Santa Cruz where I live does not do everything wrong, just many things, like making sleeping illegal. Many more of its decisions are just goofy, like red parking meters to donate to the homeless or declaring the city a “nuclear free zone.” Sometimes, however, it takes intelligent initiatives such as replacing much “ornamental” city -owned shrubbery with real plants including various kinds of attractive cabbage, artichokes and odoriferous, low maintenance plants such as lavender.

There is a restaurant downtown that offers “Mediterranean ” fare. I don’t know exactly what it is but I like the sound of it. The other day,  I am in my car and I have to stop because I see a man in a white cook’s jacket behaving strangely. He is bent over  what appears to be the sidewalk, intent on some task or other. Quickly, I park my car and approach to spy on him. It turns out he is foraging in one of the city’s mini-plantations, between two files of traffic, cutting lavender with small scissors. He is working twenty yards from the Mediterranean restaurant. Thanks to this inventive lawbreaker soon, someone is going to enjoy sherbet flavored with fresh lavender.

California is in a bad drought. The city leads by example. It has practically stopped watering its shrubbery, especially the plants located in ill-favored, non-touristy areas. Two days after catching the lavender thief in the act, I am driving by a large hardware store. Outside a crowd of day laborers – mostly Mexican, 100% illegals, I would guess – gather every day in the hope of scoring some work. Again, I see a man bent over the sidewalk. I slow down enough to also catch him in the act. He looks like a Mexican laborer. He is holding a water bottle in his hand. He uses it to water a single, tiny, unrecognizable plant in what used to be a city sidewalk lawn. He and the survivor plant may have become acquainted during the long hours of fruitless wait for a job.

I wish thousands of my fellow Republicans on automatic trigger about illegal aliens had seen the guy. It would have reminded them of their shared humanity. It might have helped some recognize that yes, you are right and they have no right to be here but sometimes, you are just wrong to be right.

Little individual acts of harmless rebellion like these two give me hope.

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5 thoughts on “Revolution by Tiny Steps

  1. “Now, the city council in the People’s Socialist Green Republic of Santa Cruz where I live does not do everything wrong, just many things, like making sleeping illegal.”

    OK, I’ll bite. How in the world does a city make sleeping illegal?

    • He might be referring to laws against sleeping in the park and other public spaces.

  2. No sleeping in public anywhere, anytime. If an old man takes a little nap on a public bench a 3 PM he can theoretically be cited. Practical progressive politics in action! I say this because the city ‘s electorate is practically all left of something or other. When my wife and I vote in person and announce our party affiliation in a clear voice, we attract much attention. The attention is not all hostile; they have never seen one, that’s all. They are kind of titillated. It’s like meeting the Devil briefly.

    • Thank goodness Toronto doesn’t have anything like that. My commute to campus is an hour and fifteen minutes, I need the 45 minute nap between Kennedy station and St. George station.

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