Eleven Mystic Hills And The Blue Pacific Under A Cloud Of Of Abuse
"It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling in the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and it's advancing wall of potato-patch fog beyond, and smoke and goldenness in the late afternoon of time."
~Jack Kerouac, On The Road
Okay, I know I am being a bit obsessive with the new San Francisco photos I have done this past few months, but I am still smiling from the incredible time Alan and I had in the city this fall. Am I downright giddy? Yes, but there is a serious side to me as well, and there is another dynamic about the city that has broken my heart and that is what I want to talk about right now.
There is a drama playing out in San Francisco, all surrounding the conviction of domestic violence charges earlier this year of San Francisco's sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. Briefly, last New Years Eve, Mirkarim and his wife Eleana Lopez engaged in an argument, that resulted in Mirkarimi grabbing his wife's arm so tightly that a sizable bruise was left. The next day Lopez shared what had happened with next door neighbor Ivory Madison. Madison videotaped Lopez's tearful recounting of the encounter a day earlier with her husband. This issue was apparently about Mirkarimi's fear that Lopez would leave the country with their young son and return to her native Venezuela.
Long story short... Mirkarimi was arrested, and plead guilty to a lesser charge of the misdemeanor false imprisonment. The top sheriff of San Francisco was sentenced to three years probation, one year of domestic violence batterers classes, parenting classes, a hundred hours of community service, fines and court fees, and in addition he is not allowed to carry a firearm. The top cop of San Francisco isn't allowed to carry a gun. Does it get any more embarrassing than that?
The Mayor of San Francisco suspended Mirkarimi, in an attempt to remove him permanently from office, but there was an appeal process and it took 9 of the 11 San Francisco supervisors to oust him for good, but in the end the result of the vote was 7 to remove, 4 to reinstate. He got to keep his job by just 2 votes. And there he sits... smugly... the embarrassment of San Francisco. Engaging in twit fights with the mayor and pretending he is above it all. A convicted domestic violence abuser running the sheriff's department.
I grew up in a family of abusers. My parents like to put each other through hell... and did. There were NO innocents there, and I am sure there is a bigger picture going on in Mirkarimi's house as well. But no one really knows what goes on when the door is shut. What I do know is that abuse leaves scars... deep ones. Scars that aren't immediately seen on the outside, but if you listen to the abuser and the abused you can hear the scars. We choose different words that other people. We hide from intimacy sometimes. We choose our associations carefully. We cry silently sometimes because we would rather be alone, than enter into one more dysfunctional relationship. Abuse doesn't just determine who we see romantically, it enters into every single relationship we have. For the rest of our lives.
I chose my husband carefully. There were a lot of great guys who never had a chance with me because of all the fears I had. Would I be a good spouse? Sharing DNA with abusers can weigh heavily on a person. I found a good man, he loves me, and I thank GOD for him every single day. He is well aware of all my shortcomings, and he loves me anyway. Just as I am. No need to pretend. He just loves me. That isn't easy to find, but somehow I did. So when I look at San Francisco, especially from the east side of the bay, I can't help but feel a deep sadness. It's a beautiful city, with beautiful people, and it deserves better than to settle for anything less than the best representation of her. Ross Mirkarimi went from abusing his wife, to abusing his city. It's shameful.
On a more positive note, there is a recall campaign started to remove Mirkarimi for good. One of the supervisors who voted to reinstate has lost her seat on the Board of Supervisors in Tuesday's election, due in part to a video uploaded to YouTube by Ivory Madison and San Francisco Women For Accountability, which is an advocay group for abused women. I could not be more impressed with Ms. Madison's courage to do the right thing by reporting Mirkarim to the authorities and then continuing to advocate for women by making the video to remove Supervisor Christina Olague. With any luck, all of the supervisors who voted to reinstate him will eventually be removed from their jobs. Politics should not be a part of an issue this serious, but it has been, and now politics will be the remedy. Well, politics and good old fashioned education about domestic abuse. It's a long road, but there is light waiting at the end of the journey.