The definition of “progressive,” according to Dictionary.com, is “favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement or reform … making progress toward better conditions.”
By that definition, the SLO Progressives, who have taken over the local Democratic Party, are engaged in Orwellian false advertising and should change their name to the SLO Regressives—regressive as in “to move backward, to revert to an earlier or less advanced state or form.”
That’s been the unfortunate legacy of decades of progressive government in California, converting the Golden State into fool’s gold. According to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association’s latest “Follow the Money” report:
▪ More than one in five Californians live in poverty.
▪ Californians pay some of the nation’s highest tax rates: a 7.5 percent state sales tax, 13.3 percent individual income tax and 8.84 percent corporate income tax.
▪ Despite some of the country’s highest gas prices and gas taxes, California’s crumbling roads rank 42nd out of 50.
▪ California spends $77 billion on education ($45 billion on K-12), but its education system is ranked 41st in the nation.
But just as bad as this trail of failure and destruction is the coarsening of political discourse by progressives who have repeatedly demonized Republicans. This has led to violence by deranged progressives like James Hodgkinson, a Bernie Sanders supporter who seriously wounded Rep. Steve Scalise and shot four others.
Sanders issued a statement saying, “I am sickened by this despicable act." But just a week later he was stirring up future Hodgkinsons by saying the Republican health care bill will kill thousands of Americans—in effect calling Republicans murderers.
This is par for the course from progressives such as Kathy Griffin, who held up the bloody, severed head of President Trump in a mock beheading and progressives like Madonna, who declared at an anti-Trump rally that she has “thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House.”
So it was disappointing but not surprising that SLO County Supervisor Bruce Gibson repeatedly demonized his Republican colleagues on the Board of Supervisors—Debbie Arnold, Lynn Compton and John Peschong—at a recent SLO Progressives meeting.
Gibson had previously vilified them in a Tribune op-ed in February as “hard-right,” engaging in “pettiness” and “faux populist rage,” and being devoted to “rigid ideology – not the common good.” He topped it off by warning, “San Luis Obispo County residents should be worried.”
At the SLO Progressives meeting, as captured on the group’s Facebook page video, Gibson continued that kind of vilification:
▪ Gibson said, “[W]e deal with a Board of Supervisors that has been hijacked by three folks who hold, in my mind, abhorrent views of how we should proceed forward as a community, who don’t understand good governance and who are out essentially to create a patronage state in this county.”
▪ Gibson accused Arnold, Compton and Peschong of violating the open meeting law known as the Brown Act, saying, “We face a board majority of three members who vote in lockstep, who by all appearances work these things out before they ever get to the dais because there’s no significant amount of discussion.”
▪ Gibson accused Arnold, Compton and Peschong of having “a rigid ideology that says government is bad … and should be degraded. What they don’t have is a vision for what our community should be like, our communities our state or our nation.”
▪ Gibson, when he was asked what recourse citizens have when they feel the supervisors aren’t being truthful at meetings, replied, “Well, take it to the streets. It is a matter of raising our voices to demand good government.”
▪ Gibson applauded a recent action by five to six members of the Atascadero Democratic Club who “confronted Supervisor Arnold in her office hours. That freaked her out, I think.” The SLO Progressives laughed and applauded.
At the end of the meeting Regional Leader Dan Cook also elicited laughter by telling the audience how much fun he’s had engaging in profanity-laced exchanges online with ideological opponents.
Amazingly, the progressives are also willing to demonize and threaten politicians with whom they agree on 99 percent of the issues. The SLO Progressives Facebook page has a posting condemning Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s decision to table the socialized medicine bill, SB562.
Elsewhere, some progressives have done more than condemn; they’ve actually threatened Rendon’s life, with one tweeting a reference to repeating Hodgkinson’s shooting. At a demonstration outside of Rendon’s office, one demonstrator carrying a fake knife with “Rendon” written on it pretended to stab another, dressed as a bear, in the back, according to the Sacramento Bee.
By dragging us back to the hostility, street demonstrations and assassinations that marred the 1960s and 1860s, the Progressives have become the Regressives. Shouldn’t the SLO Progressives change their name?
Conservative columnist Andrea Seastrand is a former representative for the 22nd Congressional District, a longtime grassroots activist and current president of the Central Coast Taxpayers Association. Her column runs in The Tribune every other Sunday, in rotation with liberal columnist Tom Fulks.