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We Live in a City of Dolphins - By Stephen Jackson - March 22, 2017 - SF Weekly
SF Weekly

We Live in a City of Dolphins

Dolphins are rarely found alone. They live together in small groups called “pods” and lead charmed lives as some of the most intelligent animals in the planet. They have recreational sex, pass around pufferfish to get high off the toxins, and are believed to possess a certain degree of self-awareness. San Francisco is a lot like a pod of dolphins.

Dolphins have only one natural predator: sharks. But sharks can’t easily mess with them — as soon as a pod perceives one in their midst, they quickly band together, deftly outsmarting their atavistic foe while working as a team to come to the aid of their most vulnerable.

Donald Trump is a big dumb shark. He’s a frightening presence and a short-sighted killing machine, but he can also be outwitted. Doing so takes teamwork, and our city has banded together like so many sleek aquatic mammals, showing our walnut-brained predator what it really means to fight back.

Last week, Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s office was awarded enough funding to hire three lawyers and a paralegal to represent a portion of the estimated 1,500 people in immigration detention without legal representation. While this fell short of Supervisor Sandra Fewer’s initial request for a larger legal team, it’s at least a step in the right direction. Like a dolphin’s oceanic habitat, our city is a sanctuary, and we do what we can to protect our pod.

Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors passed a preemptive order leading the country in opposition to a proposed Muslim registry. The ordinance bans cooperation from any city in the creation of such a database, should the mandate ever come. There’s also talk of a boycott of companies that help build Trump’s wall — and let’s not forget that we recently sued the President over this whole sanctuary-city thing.

Sharks are prehistoric animals with prehistoric mindsets. Trump is trying to maintain power by way of an old and tired playbook: scapegoating others, vilifying the media, bulking up defense budgets, and drumming up nationalistic, xenophobic worldviews.

Trump has released some of his most classic vitriol in the wee hours of the morning, not unlike a sleepless shark, meandering in dark waters on autopilot. Last month, he officially put Iran “ON NOTICE” via Twitter at 3:30 a.m. for testing a ballistic missile, while informing them that they should be “thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them.”

Earlier this month, in a flurry of Tweets that began at 4 a.m., he wrote, “122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision!”

This claim was swiftly fact-checked and debunked by The New York Times that same day. As it turned out, he was just live-tweeting Fox & Friends again, chumming the water for his millions of followers.

In a stunning tell-all that ran in The New Yorker last summer, Tony Schwartz — who spent 18 months with Trump while ghostwriting The Art of The Deal — revealed that he doubted Trump had ever read an entire book in his adult life and cited his limited and shallow attention span as the reason why he prefers to get his intel from places like Fox News in lieu of, you know, a security briefing.

This is likely why Schwartz, who might know The Donald better than anyone else outside of his creepy cabal, also thought that if Trump ever got a hold of the nuclear codes there was an “excellent possibility” it would lead to the “end of civilization.”

A shark with a nuclear warhead strapped to its back. What could go wrong?

Trump’s primitive intellect, coupled with access to advanced weaponry, might be what’s really behind all the echolocation coming from San Francisco. Progressive politics and protest are so deeply imbedded in the city’s DNA that we’re literally leading the nation in the fight against Trump, and that’s because we know just how high the stakes are.

We are a city of dolphins. We can handle a shark in the water. Perhaps it’s Trump who should be worried about us.