Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happenings: Conservative Clarita

When J to the Wilson broke news that Claritans are donating twice as much money to Obama as McCain[1], I feared for the conservative heart of SCV. I decided to investigate how well the Red State lifestyle is doing in Santa Clarita by going on the ultimate Red-Valley-in-a-Blue-State-Friday-night: Republican Rally followed by Church BBQ. I am pleased to say that I had little to fear. Clarita’s still conservative despite lackluster donations to the cause.

Republican Warehouse* Warming
*Warehouse exports traditional American Values

Though I’ll be voting McCain-Palin, I found the grand opening of the new SCV Republican headquarters[2] a bit, well, awkward. My few conversations were terse and clumsy. In a sea of middle-aged suburbanites with kids in tote and silvering grand dames of the GOP, I ended up resorting to my comfort zone: sit and judge—in the most supportive way possible, of course.

The new headquarters are essentially a warehouse, but the building is not without its perks. For example, the roll-up metal door for industrial loading/unloading offered excellent ventilation. To be fair, there were actual, air-conditioned rooms that had been built in the back of the concrete shell. I christened these the inner sanctum, housing the phones, “McCain/Palin 08” yard signs, and other accoutrements vital to winning a campaign.

"You can put Palin posters on cement walls but they’re still cement walls", Obama is alleged to have said[3]. And yes, I know the pictures are very bad.

Filling the space were many Claritans of Consequence. Hunt Braly[4] puttered around, eating an enormous bunch of green grapes. He was working the room, darting purposefully from one friend to the next. My attempts at eavesdropping on his almost certainly important conversations failed miserably; all I got was a suspicious glance. (Note to self: invest in eavesdropping device advertised on late-night infomercial).

Councilmember Laurie Ender came in later. She was all smiles. Kevin Korenthal, the conservative “SoCalPundit”[5], was also present. An emissary from Buck McKeon’s office showed up. Suffice it to say the people here were more important than those at the opening of the Democrat Headquarters in Newhall.

I’m not sure what kind of food was offered at that other, bluer opening, but offerings here were modest—crackers with cheese slices; chips and salsa; brownie bites; $5 wines. I thought the less than gourmet spread was admirable. Pass the cash saved on smoked salmon onto McCain, I say! Like the food, the headquarters aren’t exactly luxurious, but the inner sanctum seemed highly functional. The stream-lining, cost-cutting mind of a skilled capitalist was apparent, all profits going the Republican way.

Despite a spirited shouting of “McCain, McCain, McCain, McCain, McCain, McCain, MCCAAAAAAAAIN!!!” I thought there was more enthusiasm for Sarah Palin. I saw more pro-Palin T-shirts than McCain shirts; on the tables, her face was cleverly superimposed on Rosie the Riveter posters reading “We Can Do It!”; there was a woman selling dog tags with Palin’s picture; and McCain was rarely mentioned without also mentioning Sarah Palin.
Apart from the Alaskan Governor, people seemed enthused about the towering Tony Strickland. He gave a speech (it was alright…a bit too long…and he should have relaxed his clenched fists…but overall, acceptable) and garnered applause, cheers, and the like.

Unfortunately, I had to leave before the band started. Still, I was around long enough to confirm that both Santa Clarita's common folk and more recognizable public figures are supporting the GOP. Next time, I’ll skip the event and just send money.

Johnny Cash and Jesus

Considerably better-attended (several thousand for the night) was the annual “bar-b-q-fiesta” on the OLPH Church grounds. When I was little, thrill rides at the barbecue were limited to ponies and swing sets. Organizers later upgraded to Ferris Wheels and big slides, but now things are out of control. Everywhere I saw metal carriages and tracks colluding to invert, accelerate, and spin riders. As I passed them, I instinctively mumbled a Hail Mary for no multi-million dollar lawsuits.

In the middle of the parking lot, an enormous expanse of tent canopies and tables accommodated fiesta goers who came to eat. Each of the various Catholic ethnic groups (Italians, Mexicans, Filipinos…) had their own offerings (cannoli, tacos, lumpia…) along with the traditional barbecue beef. Alcohol, of course, was available in various forms and contributed to some overly generous bids on silent auction items.

As darkness (the natural, nighttime sort that wasn’t a metaphor for evil) enveloped OLPH, a Johnny Cash cover band played. Apart from Cash classics, they also played country favorites like “Redneck Woman.” The singer was pretty good and really, who doesn’t like hearing the words “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” at a religious function?

Folsom Prison Blues may contemplate sin and punishment, but more overtly religious lyrics came from the hip hop dance area the church provided for teens. As we passed it, the DJ played Ice Cube’s “You Can Do It”—the lightly censored version. To quote the uncensored version:

“So pray to the Lord that I don’t pull out/ Cuss out and bust out/ Go to nigga raveling/ Make the clip traveling, uh/ You can try to smoke an ounce to this/ While I pronounce this shit/ Baby bounce them tits/ Mama move them hips/ Baby shake them cheeks/ I got dick for days/ You got ass for weeks, yeah, yeah.”

See? They mention God in the first line. The less seemly language that follows could be easily sorted out with the help of a ruler-wielding nun.

In sum, the grand opening in the Industrial Center showed that Clarians are willing and able to organize and fundraise for the Republican Party. The SCV GOP has some (i.e., all) real local power-players on its side. At OLPH, we learned that a combination of country music, beer, food, line dancing, and kid-friendly carnival games benefiting a religious organization can still draw a crowd. Clearly, the conservative spirit remains alive and well in SCV. So let the rest of California drive their Priuses to protests of big business and planned parenthood fundraisers. We’ll be the red valley in the heart[6] of this blue state.

[2]The story, as covered by The Signal, is here
[3]Alleged by me.
[4]Person who sees that those with sufficient money get their way in Santa Clarita
[5]Blog down
[6]Kidney region is probably more accurate

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I thought it was appropriate, in light of recent financial crises, to have a modest grand opening...with grapes and $5.00 wine than a $30,000.00 per person spread that the barack hussein obama camp had in Hollywood, just one day before.

Now if we can focus on the important tasks like making a run at CALIFORNIA becoming a "red" state once again...and make sure McCain-Palin wins the election.