San Franciscans may think of their town as a haven for tolerance, but once again, S.F. supervisors are showing the rest of America how intolerant The Special City can be. Forget a flower in your hair. If you come to San Francisco, be sure to wear a muzzle on your brain.
Criticize a supervisor, and some supes will do their utmost to get you fired.
Last week, KGO radio talk-show host Pete Wilson made some comments about a child born to Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who is gay, and Rebecca Goldfader, who is a lesbian. As Wilson put it, a baby is "not an experiment. It is not an opportunity to see how far you can carry your views on parenting, alternative lifestyles or diversity in family structures."
And: "Look around you, folks. You think the high divorce rate in this country has been, generally speaking, good for kids? So, why not start out divorced? See if that'll work." (While I am sure Dufty's daughter is a beautiful child, I, too, wonder if this Instant Family will last.)
Wilson supports same-sex marriage and gay parenting. Doesn't matter. Last week, Supervisors Tom Ammiano, Chris Daly, Ross Mirkarimi and Aaron Peskin held a press conference at which they called Wilson "homophobic" and demanded that he resign his job.
Yes, San Francisco is very tolerant -- unless you hold the wrong opinion.
Then the supes will try to get you fired.
Dufty, to his credit, wrote in an e-mail to Wilson. I do not want you to "resign or lose your position over this incident." Wilson marveled Monday that Dufty "showed more class than anyone else in this."
Be it noted, Wilson has apologized -- not for his misgivings about parenting and children -- but for using "inappropriate" and overly personal language.
Still, the uproar may not be over, as Wilson also anchors ABC7 TV news.
California Assemblyman Mark Leno did not call on Wilson to resign and now says, because Wilson has apologized, it is time to move on. Still, Leno also raised the question Monday of whether "it is inappropriate for Wilson to be wearing those two hats" -- that Wilson can't be a "loose cannon" on the radio and "an impartial anchorman."
Be it noted that some journalists see a real conflict of interest in Wilson working as an anchorman and talk-show host.
Then again, no one complained about the two hats before. Wilson has opposed the war in Iraq, and they weren't wringing their hands then about his credibility.
Judith Appel, executive director of the alternative-family Our Family Coalition, would not tell me if she thought Wilson should lose his job, or not. She attended the anti-Wilson event as it provided an "opportunity" to highlight alternative families with "adults who love their children."
Supervisor Ammiano is the last man in the world I'd want for that mission. Deliberately ignoring Wilson's point, Ammiano accused the talk-show host of trying to "dehumanize a week-old baby." He declared that Wilson's "manhood is threatened." Noting that he would never criticize Wilson's offspring, Ammiano added, "I would never ask how much grunting and sweating there was -- and God knows it probably it didn't last very long -- at that kid's conception." Feel the love?
OK. That's the sort of puerile patter one routinely hears from Ammiano.
What I don't understand is why Ross Mirkarimi -- the rare adult city pol, and a man who knows better -- was standing in that crowd.
Leno, who like Ammiano is gay, told me, "I'm not going to criticize those supervisors." As he sees it, S.F. and gays are "the aggrieved party. We're the ones who are getting beaten up." Ammiano accused Wilson of "abuse of privilege," and Peskin cited "abuses" of power.
Except in this case, gays and S.F. supes are in power -- and they're trying to get a man fired for expressing views they don't like. They clearly don't appreciate the beauty of free speech: When you don't like what someone says, you talk back. You don't silence dissenters, unless you are afraid of what they say.
If you want the world to understand who you are, you show understanding for others.
If Ammiano wanted to send a message -- that when the gay lobby has power, straight Americans will enjoy less freedom -- he could not have done a better job.