The right's permanent campaign in favor of their pro-sprawl (and anti-Democratic Party) message
Image: cover from a 2011 magazine issue put out by conservative media commentator Glenn Beck.
Last week, someone sent a link from the Biloxi (MS) Sun-Herald to an e-list I'm on, a screed letter to the editor about how the Congress for the New Urbanism, which did a lot of charrette work in Biloxi after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, is basically a plot to destroy individualism and the good life as we know it.
From "Vetting Connie Moran [the city's mayor]":
In downtown Ocean Springs there is a project that is mixed-use zoning. mixed-use zoning is where land is zoned to be commercial and residential. Usually it is store-front shops on bottom, office and apartments on top.
So the person who sent the link suggested that maybe New Urbanists did something wrong by sending out images of density common in center cities, that somehow if different images were sent, people would respond different.
There was a parallel thread on the list about Bill Maher's piece asking why the right is so worked up about Pres. Obama.
I connected the threads, and wrote this:
there's nothing "new" with this, at least dating from the Clinton Administration. I distinctly remember being surprised seeing bumper stickers excoriating Clinton, reading "Don't blame me, I voted for Bush." Since that election, conservatives have never stopped "organizing" against Democrats, which they call communists and the radical left, amongst other terms.
It's a permanent campaign.
The key is that they have never gone off message. Since 1988.
It's the same by the way, with the Biloxi Sun-Herald op ed. You can call it anti-CNU, it's really just another shade of anti-planning or at least anti-anti-sprawl planning, therefore pro-automobile, pro-separated uses, pro tract housing, etc. It doesn't matter what photos you show. It's not about that.
If there is pro-transit activity, they organize against it. Same thing with CNU or new urbanism related activities in podunk kinds of places, where it can sound strange...
Again, they stay on message, and don't let any opportunity to push their message go untapped.
This can't be ignored by people and organizations who are pro-transit, pro-planning, pro-railroad, anti-sprawl contingent.
It will waste a lot of time to counter the threat, but it has to be done.
(I guess the Koch Brothers learned from Charles Stewart Mott, George Soros, and other rich progressives who supported progressive organizations and causes. The problem is that conservative interests tend to have a lot more money to pour into anti-progressive causes.)
Labels: car culture and automobility, community organizing, electoral politics and influence, protest and advocacy, sprawl, sustainable land use and resource planning, urban design/placemaking, urban revitalization