Candlelight Vigil in the Inner Orange

A light breeze blew over the coffee waters of the lake in Rancho Santa Margarita as five people stood in silence for forty five minutes to commemorate the sacrifice of the now 1003 Americans who have died in Iraq, a spontaneous affirmation of the dignity of our soldiers still serving in Mr. Bush’s war. We made no partisan statement for any candidate. We just stood as the children of some of the participants galloped over the stairway leading down from a shopping center to the lake.

To do this kind of thing in the heart of the Orange calls for strength and courage. There was no shouting of our views, no guilt trips slung at passers-bys.

“My son wanted to know what this was about,” said a Portola Hills resident named Robin. “I explained that it was about the war in Iraq. He said ‘Didn’t they invade us?’ No, I told him. They didn’t.”

It was the divisiveness precipitated by this rash action that united us in our silence. Participants confided their exhaustion with the skewed facts that their children picked up — was it from the schools, their friends, or television? They were tired of the fusillades launched at those who questioned why we were there. And we asked “What about the Iraqis?”

I dreaded that someone would ask us why we were standing there, holding the stout white emergency candles that the event organizer had brought. We were close to Dove Canyon and Coto de Caza, gated communities which voted nearly solidly Republican. No one mentioned this. I am sure we all felt the pressure of those cyclopean partisans as they gazed upon us. No one chanted, no one held up a sign. We just stood there, in holy silence, waiting out the forty five minutes, giving a speck of our lives to the cause of reason in our foreign affairs.

5 Comments so far

  1. Ray (unregistered) on September 9th, 2004 @ 11:50 pm

    Its kinda funny I was just commenting to my friend tonight over dinner that its like no one in this county(specificly the beach towns, well, okay, corona del mar) has any idea of whats really going on- or do they and could care less? Its crazy- this president has SENT over 1000 americans to die(not counting afghanistan)- for nothing, and we’re also 250 + billion dollars in debt now as a country thanks to him. And still, Ive seen the most Bush bumper stickers and even signs hanging from the McMansions in my new hood promoting him than Ive seen anywhere in the country
    .
    Okay, so obviously Im new to the oc, so can somebody please tell me where did all these loonies come from and how did they get so goddamn rich?!
    I think I need some history to really understand whats going on here.

    Dont they understand that their grandkids are gonna have to pay that debt off?

    joel: your brave and i think what you did was great


  2. Grant (unregistered) on September 10th, 2004 @ 10:09 am

    Ray-
    I think you’ve got it wrong, they didn’t become rich by being crazy republican, they are Republicans because they are rich. Why they support this president, I don’t know. I can understand them supporting a Republican president that was for less government and less regulation of the economy, but that isn’t President Bush.

    OC has historyicly been hugely Republican. Many in OC are super religious and moralistic, so I’m sure that lends support to President Bush. But the Republican here are fanatical in a way that they aren’t in other parts of the country. At least that’s my view of it.

    Now, I have no idea why this is or the real history of it. Maybe somebody else can answer that question better.


  3. Miles (unregistered) on September 10th, 2004 @ 12:03 pm

    You need to get out of Corona Del Mar a bit, my friend! The misconception is that the OC is filled with rich white people with a few Asian professionals thrown in for variety. Lift the sheets, though, and you’ll find a lot more economic and ethnic variety than the stereotype suggests. Indeed, Santa Ana tops the list of cities with the largest portion of Spanish speakers and Anaheim is fourth on that list. It also topped the list of a recent study on urban hardship with a huge number of working poor struggling to survive in a relatively high cost environment. And, though they’ve cleaned up the motels near Disneyland (heaven forbid we give the tourists the wrong impression) there are still many places in Anaheim I wouldn’t recommend you wander around in at night.

    As for the strong support of the right wing in the OC, I suspect that it is restricted to the stereotype OC residents (see above). B-1 Bob (Bob Dornan) was thrown out and now at least part of the OC is represented in Congress by Loretta Sanchez. There is also a strong conservative-but-not-right-wing component in the OC, but they tend to be lumped in with the far right wing (of which we have more than a few).

    I also suspect that the strong support of Bush in OC (at least within the stereotype) is a product of a pragmatic (if short term) economic assessment — though the Bush policies may be running up a huge deficit, his tax cuts place the majority of the burden on the (shrinking) middle class and working poor.

    As for historical reasons why OC is known as leaning far to the right, I can only offer a few guesses. First, white flight from LA county — particularly after the Watts riots of ’65. (If you were of a mind to relocate from LA and had the $$$, would you go east to Pomona or San Bernardino, north to Valencia or down to the beaches in Orange County?) Second, the importance of the aerospace industry in Orange County, particularly in the ’60s thru the ’80s. Like many other people, aerospace workers tend to vote their pocket books and the perception is usually that Republicans are better for defense spending than Democrats. Third, Orange County was also the choice for summer beach homes for those with some means (i.e., $$$) before the property values went nuts. When they retired, they retired to … you guessed it, their property in Orange County.


  4. ray (unregistered) on September 10th, 2004 @ 2:55 pm

    thanks for the info, that does put things into perspective. Esp. the white flight.

    Like I said, I just moved from La- in a bit of a rush, and found a place in corona del mar 5 blocks from the beach -and believe it or not- cheap! After the dust started to settle though, I started to notice things like how everyone is white, and I hate to say it but very “stereotypical OCish.” Luckily Ive found some safe havens and very cool people (alas none in CDM though) and hope to meet many more in the coming months. I have a feeling its just my part of town that lead to the uniculture shock.

    Are there any 9/11 sevices in the oc tomorrow?


  5. ocswing (unregistered) on September 10th, 2004 @ 4:48 pm

    I don’t necessarily believe that OC is strictly republican, but they generally have the majority so our county is considered such in a largely democrat state.

    My own stereotype is that South County and the beaches have a lot of the rich white people. Farther inland and North County, there is a ton of diversity. However, that’s just my perspective and I don’t have any real numbers. So being in CDM is definitely in the middle of that.



Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.