A Tale of Three Cities
Charles Dickens wrote the classic A Tale of Two Cities a century and a half ago. It's a story about two famous cities of the times, Paris and London, around the time of the French Revolution. These cities were the height of sophistication and enlightenment in the world, long before American cities caught up.
Three American cities did catch up and were at one time shining beacons of American success: San Francisco, Chicago, and Detroit.
San Francisco was the gateway to the Pacific and lands beyond – a beautiful city on hills with the Golden Gate Bridge connecting San Francisco to Marin County, one of the wonders of the modern world. Chicago was the hub of transportation and commerce, connecting the eastern and western halves of the United States. Detroit was an industrial behemoth, home of the auto industry and the assembly line, bringing prosperity and convenience to millions.
Songs were written to celebrate these great cities. Tony Bennett left his heart in San Francisco. Chicago was Frank Sinatra's kind of town. And the Motown music genre began in the Motor City.
As Dickens wrote, "[i]t was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness." Perhaps the best of times for these American cities was 50 years ago, when they and their leaders basked in the age of wisdom. Today, these cities are facing the worst of times, due to their own foolishness. What happened?
San Francisco is being overrun with the homeless and illegal aliens due to its sanctuary city status and virtue-signaling leadership. The streets are littered with human feces, hypodermic needles, and syringes, turning the once beautiful "City by the Bay" into a cesspool. What's the response of San Francisco leaders? Banning plastic straws.
Chicago has become more dangerous than many cities in the war-torn Middle East. This past weekend was another example of the killing fields of Chicago: "[a]t least 72 shot, 13 killed in Chicago over violent summer weekend, police department says." What's the mayor of Chicago doing in response? Maintaining and bolstering Chicago's status as a "sanctuary city" and virtue-signaling to fellow progressives, prioritizing illegal aliens over Chicago residents.
Detroit, in 1960, was the richest per capita city in America. Fifty-some years later, in 2013, Detroit filed for bankruptcy. Now it's a squatter's paradise. Homes once owned by residents, then lost to foreclosure, are now owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. Today, it's first come, first served as to who lives in these abandoned homes. The Detroit Free Press notes "[d]ead bodies, wild dogs, squatters in government-owned Detroit houses."
Via Wikimedia Commons.
How did these three beautiful and prosperous American cities morph from the best of cities to the worst of cities in only a couple of generations? Let's look at who is in charge.
San Francisco has not had a Republican mayor since 1964, the height of Motown music in one of the other cities we are discussing. For the past fifty-plus years, San Francisco has been led by a procession of Democrats.
Then there are the state and national leaders, from Governor Jerry Brown to Senators Kamala Harris, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein, the last employing a Chinese spy in her office for twenty years while accusing President Trump of colluding with the Russians. She was doing more for China than for her own city.
As a quick aside, Senator Feinstein responded to this news with the following: "The FBI told me 5 years ago it had concerns that China was seeking to recruit an administrative member of my Calif staff (despite no access to sensitive information)."
Note how the FBI told the senator of its concerns. The agents did not insert a spy in her office, then obtaining a Title 1 FISA warrant to spy on the senator and her entire staff. This is how the FBI handled concerns over Russians involved in the Donald Trump campaign. Agents did not warn Trump over their concerns, as they did for the senator. Anyone surprised?
Chicago's last Republican mayor finished his term in 1931, almost a century ago, followed by a string of Democrat mayors up to the present time. At a national level, Chicago is currently represented by Democrat senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.
Detroit's last Republican mayor finished his term in 1962, around the time the Supremes were singing "Where Did Our Love Go?" Now they would be singing, "Where did our city go?" Since the early 1960s, Detroit has had a succession of Democrat mayors, including Coleman Young and their famous hip-hop mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, now serving a long prison term. Michigan, similar to Illinois and California, has two Democrat U.S. senators.
Anyone see a common thread here? Cities run by liberal Democrats, implementing liberal policies, with predictable results. These are certainly not the only American cities ruined by Democrat governance – there are also Newark; New Orleans; and Washington, D.C. to name a few others.
Then there are entire countries following this pattern. Venezuela went from the richest economy in South America to financial and social ruin, with starvation and civil unrest – thanks not to the U.S. Democratic Party, but to its international brethren, the socialists.
This is the same political and economic philosophy shared by many American Democrats, including the cheated almost nominee Bernie Sanders and his mini-me, self-proclaimed Democrat socialist and rising star on the left Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She, as another interesting aside, had a bad night in this week's primary elections, with all of her endorsed candidates losing.
As goes Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco, so goes the nation under similar leadership and guidance. You won't hear this on CNN or MSNBC, as they are busy running interference for leftist politicians and policies. Yet their organizations would be the first to be nationalized under a socialistic government. Not that it would make any practical difference, as the media are already a mouthpiece of the Democratic Party.
Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The tale of these three cities is an important part of this history. To ignore it means that many other cities, and the entire nation, could rapidly go from the best of times to the worst of times.
Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.