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February 3, 2007
San Francisco's cardinal virtue
We in San Francisco are on the world stage again with the Gavin Newsom tragedy. San Francisco has predictably placed in the media fishbowl the core values of San Francisco. Outsiders seem to have certain thoughts on what are among these values. Mostly, they are right, and we deserve any and all criticism that we have induced.
But I would only like to correct some of the reasoning. It is difficult to allow your thinking to go as far as a San Francisco, left-leaning liberal. Our own Diane Feinstein believes that Gavin is under stress from his failed marriage. That, along with the ‘twinkie" defense has provided proven methods of getting out of many a "San Francisco tangled webs".
Gav's latest announcement has put most of San Francisco in a predicament: had Newsom simply engaged in an affair, there would be no news out of San Francisco. We would have been shocked if any issue had been raised.
But the fact that Newsom betrayed a friend has San Francisco liberals up in an uproar. It seems to go this way, and provides a good look at SF values:
Friendship, from the San Francisco perspective, holds more weight than marriage... or family.
The benefits, faith, and appeal that come from marriage and family have failed (for whatever reason) a large percentage of the Bay Area population. Replacement of these institutions become the strategy. The "institution" of friendship has become the place to attempt to recover "values".
"How could he do that to a friend?" is the loudest cry in the city.
Nothing else in the list of 8-10 Newsom "wrongs" (I actually heard someone call it a ‘list of decisions') seems to matter. "Friend" trumps all of those absurd details such as "married," "employee", "sexual harassment", "integrity", etc.
Now, friendships are a large part of "success" in one's life; but when those benefits outweigh those of marriage and family, values are skewed.
For those lucky enough to be blessed with good examples of family and/or marriage - or at the least have some hint of respect for their family life - they realize that nothing can match that connection, and can never be equaled by the best of friends.
As a married father, blessed with family and rich in friends, I see and feel the hierarchy of relationship benefits. I also notice when they are out of whack!
My fellow San Franciscans.....we are out of whack!