Remember the Summer of Love?
Some 100,000 "free spirits" converged on San Francisco's Haight-Asbury district in 1967 to break the norm. They all were suspicious of government.
Fast-forward 48 years. The San Francisco County Board of Supervisors has become the anti-free spirit movement. They embrace government reach into all aspects of your life where you are doing things that they disagree with. The latest is drinking soda.
The supervisors want warnings placed on ads for sugary drinks that appear within their city stating they may be hazardous to your health. This comes after an unsuccessful effort to tax soda and other sugary drinks.
Yes, the same city that got into the proverbial face of the establishment is now getting in the face of the people underscoring that you can move so far to the left that you actually can find yourself on the extreme right.
San Francisco, at one time, was all about getting government out of your personal life and not dictating what you could do to your body. This was the mecca for free love, drugs, hippies, and anything else that up ended the social norm.
Now they are hell-bent on being Big Brother.
Of course, they don't see it that way. They're only trying to protect you from yourself. And they are only doing what is right and healthy. Yes, Archie Bunker has gone liberal in name only.
In San Francisco, the government knows best, not the individual.
Tolerance only applies to those who fit in the San Francisco mold of values. Drug addicts shooting up in the streets get more love than someone drinking a Big Gulp.
Addicts get free needles and government help. Big Gulp drinkers get shunned, are targeted with ads aimed at shaming them out of their unhealthy behavior, and they get threatened with sin taxes.
But if the truth be known, San Francisco doesn't need to engage in government shenanigans such as dictating advertising and slapping sin taxes on soda and such to stop the habits those at City Hall deem unhealthy and therefore anti-social. San Francisco is slowly driving out the working class and others that are the big indulgers in soda as opposed to vices that the wealthy and the young Turks of the Internet economy consume.
Is their truth to claims that abuse of sugar can lead to health complications and even death? Yes.
But here's the kicker - so can abuse of alcohol, drugs, and even sex.
So what does the City of San Francisco do about the health consequences of those three "vices"?
They fund government outreach programs to counsel them, to get them away from their addictions and - in worse case scenarios - to help them in their final days.
Soda - which is still considered a legal drink in the United States for individuals of all ages - is stigmatized.
And if sugar is such a hideous poison, why is San Francisco stopping at soda advertising? Why not target any advertisements for sweets like Ghirardelli Chocolate or upscale Nob Hill restaurants that serve items with sugar in them?
The answer is simple. The attack on soda is as much a political socio-economic stance as anything else. If it wasn't, the city would be requiring all advertisement for items that excess use has been proven to cause health problems or death to include warnings.
You could show up at a gathering in San Francisco wearing nothing but sandals and your birthday suit and no one would flinch. But show up with a Big Gulp in one hand and a pack of candy cigarettes in the other and assuming the crowd doesn't stone you to death first, they'll parade you down to Union Square for a good old-fashioned public shaming.
San Francisco has never been about anything goes. If it was, it wouldn't be a civilized city. However the city has strayed far from its Gold Rush roots and the Summer of Love it likes to embrace in its drive to exert more and more government dictates and controls over individuals.
The warnings they want on soda advertising probably will be ineffective in the end. That, however, isn't the point. It's another way Big Brother is trying to either control your life or tell you how to live it.
San Francisco likes to think it is in the face of oppressive government but in many ways they embrace a local government that is just as intrusive - if not more so - than the federal government.
The City of San Francisco isn't about to stay out of your bedroom if you take a Pepsi or energy drink into it.
This column is the opinion of Dennis Wyatt and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.