Sunday, December 8, 2013

Why Politicize the Nonpolitical? Part 1

Why politicize that which is completely unrelated to politics? Has the party you support done nothing worth writing about in any positive light? Have the politics of your party caused them to be so utterly without accomplishment that you're left with nothing positive to say about them, so a smokescreen of lies and propagandist fairy tales are all you have left as a means of making the other side look bad? Seriously, it accomplishes nothing other than to destroy your own credibility and make you look foolish and petty. Not just at the individual level either; the credibility, intelligence and integrity of your entire group become suspect. Let's take a look at an example from the past week.

Oh my God it's a war on Christmas! Yeah, that same old worn out BS just never ends. This time it happened in extremely conservative Orange County, California. A neighborhood went overboard with its community decorating, violating county ordinances in the process, so the county told them they must remove the unpermitted encroachment or face fines and prosecution. The conservative blogosphere immediately freaked out. It's a liberal attack on good, God-fearing Christians! The articles, almost all of which are copy and paste plagiarism as usual, even had photos of beautifully decorated houses. How could the liberals be so cruel? They weren't.

It had nothing to do with liberals, or any war on Christmas. It had everything to do with factually challenged conservatives creating and spreading anger under false pretenses, and of a neighborhood that created unsafe circumstances by breaking county code and they got called on it. You see, what the good Christian liars all forgot to mention were the hundreds upon hundreds of feet of wires strung across the road. Multiple houses on one side of a street connected via lights to the houses on the other side of the street. These lights were the only lights the county had an issue with and the only lights they wanted removed.

Unless Christmas light strings have undergone radical changes in the past few years there is little possibility of them being connected and strung unsupported over a distance of 60+ feet under tension outside in the wind. None. Especially when other objects are being hung from them. The stress created by the tension necessary to keep them taut would shred them, the thin cords would just break. Unless they're supported by ropes or other cables.

Image from the Los Angeles Times.

Ooooooo... pretty, but my first thought when seeing this photo, which oddly enough didn't seem to make it into many of the conservative "news" articles was "How the hell would an emergency vehicle get through that?" Silly me, making sense and all that. I should be ashamed of myself. But I'm not. Nobody driving a large emergency vehicle, like say a fire truck, is going to go through that and for several reasons.
- One, a large emergency vehicle wouldn't fit under the strings.
- Two, since the light strings must be supported by something else a lot stronger, driving through them would damage the vehicle and possibly cause damage to the homes to which the ends of the support cables are anchored.
- Three, driving through the light strings and thereby ripping them apart when lit has the potential to create a serious risk of fire in numerous dwellings.
- Four, lights glow bright because of this newfangled thing called electricity. When overhead light strings are broken and fall down onto vehicles this electricity can and will cause damage to the electrical systems in that vehicle, especially troublesome if this causes inoperability of an emergency vehicle sent to put out the fire consuming your house, leaving the vehicle dead in the road and blocking access to your home for other emergency vehicles.
- Five, electricity has another serious side effect, it can kill you. So maybe first responders aren't going to be real willing to go crashing through all those strings of lights and support cables just to have live electric cords dropping on them.

Of course the inevitable result of an actual emergency would be lawsuits against the county or the emergency responders. "They damaged my house because of my own stupidity and prohibited actions!" and "They let my house burn because my own stupidity and disregard for public safety prevented them from reaching it!" being the most likely. There's no war on Christmas, but we seriously need a war on stupid.

Orange County bent over backward to help resolve this, but the homeowners themselves won't even co-operate. The county extended the deadline for permit submission. They waived the permit fee. They realized that asking 34 homeowners to apply for permits would be unrealistic so offered the solution that the neighborhood homeowners association could submit one permit application as an entity representing all of the homeowners but the association board of directors couldn't be bothered. The president of the board stated, "We want the holiday spirit" but "the association has zero involvement."

The homeowners were still doing zero to help themselves so the county ended up coming up with another solution. They let a lighting contractor submit a permit on behalf of all the homeowners. If the permit is granted the lighting can then be inspected and the height of the lights (or lack thereof) regulated to ensure the safety of everyone in the neighborhood, which is all the county wanted in the first place.

Wow, safety. Protecting people from having their homes destroyed and/or their lives endangered by neighbors who've done stupid things. There's your war on Christmas. Isn't is funny how once again the facts tell a completely different story than the lies created and spun by the good Christian right for the sole purpose of propagating hatred and divisiveness at the time of year they celebrate the birth of their savior who, incidentally, taught the complete opposite?

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