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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Enraged Right-Wingers Cancel San Francisco Vacations

Posted By on Tue, May 11, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Illinois cracker: I canceled my S.F. vacation and am going to Arizona instead

click to enlarge These could become scarcer in San Francisco
  • These could become scarcer in San Francisco

With the spring/summer tourist influx also comes cracker season, in which tour buses, cruise ships, and airlines disgorge hundreds of thousands of people in comfortable shorts -- some of whom don't celebrate diversity. We hear them snickering gay-bashing slurs in hotel restrooms, pointing and whispering at homeless people near the theater district, and, one way or another, casting aspersions on polyglot San Francisco.

This cracker season may prove leaner than most, however, thanks to a proposed San Francisco measure, to be voted on today by the Board of Supervisors, calling for a limited boycott of Arizona to protest that state's new law allowing cops to apprehend people for appearing to be Mexican.

The San Francisco Convention and Visitor's Bureau has so far received 200 letters from out-of-towners saying they've sworn off this city to protest the proposed boycott. This won't keep all crackers out of San Francisco, but may well thin the ranks of visiting Mexican-haters.

Terry Leonard, of Rockford Ill.,, for example, sent a letter April

28 saying "I just canceled my family's summer vacation to San Francisco

as a result of your boycott of AZ. Now we are going to Arizona to show

support of their actions to curb the illegal immigration problem."

Speaking for myself, I'll spend my vacation in San Francisco to show support for this city's actions to curb its out-of-town cracker problem.

The Convention and Visitor's Bureau's Laurie Armstrong said she's so far forwarded 200 e-mails to the mayor and Board of Supervisors, in support of the Bureau's anti-boycott stance.

The correspondents are "either canceling trips, threatening to cancel trips, or threatening not to ever return to San Francisco," she said, and pointed me to an item Bureau CEO Joe D'Allessandro wrote for San Francisco Chronicle's website May 3.

"There are other ways to protest actions by governments, and travel

boycotts rarely work,"  D'Allessandro wrote. "What worked in South Africa was global isolation

and divestiture, not a travel boycott. The U.S. travel boycott of Cuba

has not changed the government in 40 years; it has only hurt Cuba's

working poor."

The Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 ended South African landing rights at U.S. airports, in essence a travel boycott. U.S. policy has been to subject Cuba to global isolation and divestiture. Notwithstanding these apparent points of confusion, D'Allessandro is correct in comparing Cuba sanctions to San Francisco's proposed Arizona boycott.

For all the material deprivation and lack of basic freedoms suffered by Cubans, they do enjoy one benefit Americans do not: a near complete absence of "gusanos" the right-wing supporters of the old Batista dictatorship who fled to south Florida and, for a half century, have dominated that region's politics. If San Francisco's proposed Arizona boycott prevents a few hundred Mexican-hating crackers from visiting San Francisco, the benefits may outweigh the cost.

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Matt Smith


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