Gone to Texas
On Friday, March 25, I posted the announcement at Instapundit that, like so many Red Staters trapped in collapsing Blue States before me, I had Gone to Texas. But getting there involved a week of synchronicity and symbolism—not to mention the “fun” of packing. My wife had posted a few things here at Ed Driscoll.com last year on our plans to move; this was the week we set that plan into motion.
On Saturday, March 19, we had our last dinner at the Left Bank, the Santana Row restaurant where Nina and I dined on many, many Saturday nights for the past 11 years. In 2005, Nina took my portrait outside there which wound up as my PJM mugshot; we dined outside there almost every Saturday night in the summertime, as the people watching was loads of fun, particularly all of the singles on the prowl hitting the local singles bar, named “Straits,” a phrase that comes with a double meaning in the omnisexual Bay Area.
The staff was incredibly friendly; we gave our favorite waitress a glass of the 1977 Warre’s Port we had been saving since purchasing it about 15 years ago and saving for a special occasion. But since the moving company couldn’t move my stash of hooch for legal reasons, this would do. It certainly made the evening memorable, as did the restaurant’s manager picking up our last check, an incredibly gracious gesture.
Our waitress and the manager were curious as to why we were moving to Texas. There’s the reduction in taxes and expenses, and the chance to cash out on our house, as California’s zany leftwing “BANANAS—Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything” coastal zoning policies have jacked the real estate prices through the roof. But the chief reason was a sense of isolation. In California, I was living out firsthandleft-leaning Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam’s observations that, as “as communities become more ethnically diverse they in fact become socially frayed,” as Jonah Goldberg wrote in The Tyranny of Cliches:
Putnam found that as a community becomes more ethnically and socially varied, social trust plummets. People tend to “hunker down,” in Putnam’s words banding together with a shrunken and shrinking group of friends or alone in front of the TV. Trust in political leaders, the political process, and even voting decline precipitously. Volunteerism, from charitable giving to carpooling, deteriorates. Political activism increases as people look to government to solve problems that once might have been solved by a simple conversation across a coffee table or a shared fence between neighbors. Note: Putnam did not find that diversity fuels racism; the vast bulk of the people interviewed for the study were not bigots. What he found was that diversity promotes alienation, disengagement, and social isolation. This all runs counter to a host of prevailing clichés and pieties.
Indeed it does, but it helps explain how talking politics in the Bay Area is a tricky proposition for someone on the right-hand side of the aisle. There was a recent article in the Washington Post on the rise of Trump Derangement Syndrome, which as paraphrased at Red State noted:
Another example is Ken Goldstein, a Los Angeles-based author and businessman who is a Democrat. Goldstein recalled meeting with a business associate recently and feeling astounded when the man said he thought Trump would “be great for America.” “You just realize you have nothing more to say to that person,” he said.
Lefties do this a lot, and have done so long before Trump. I was at a Bay Area party once where the wife of a friend said her husband was out hunting that afternoon. She was completely frozen out by a lefty woman there, perhaps because the only other option presenting itself in her brain was the Sutherland Shriek.