Robert Bridge, RT, January 14, 2020
The foundation of the ‘American Dream’ has long been the family home, complete with backyard and picket fence. Now that dream is endangered as progressives say the lifestyle reeks of elitism and damages the environment.
Once again, yet another sacred American cow is heading for the PC slaughterhouse. This time the victim is the iconic tree-lined suburbs with its manicured lawns and single family homes. These neighborhoods are seen as the final frontier for those Americans – the majority of whom are white – with the financial means to separate themselves from the bright lights of the big city.
The bull crashed out of the gates in December when Ibraheem Samirah, a newly elected Democrat from the state of Virginia, proposed a bill that shook the gentrified neighborhoods of his state to their very foundations. In an effort to alleviate a purported housing shortage, Samirah is targeting single-family homes in every community across the northeastern state to make way for “affordable multi-family units”.
The bill would require all localities to “allow development or redevelopment of ‘middle housing’ residential units upon each lot zoned for single-family residential use. Middle housing is defined as two-family residential units, including duplexes, townhouses, cottages, and any similar structure. . . ”
Samirah, a 27-year-old dentist of Palestinian decent, told Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) that American suburbs were “mostly white and wealthy” and that local zoning code discriminates against poor people who need housing. The young Virginia lawmaker, who is enamored by the so-called Green New Deal sponsored by the Democratic freshman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, went on to criticize suburbs for being “bad for the environment” with the argument that dense neighborhoods are “more energy efficient.”
Never mind, however, that by introducing new zoning laws, together with ‘affordable multi-family housing,’ the once green and pristine areas that have made the suburbs so attractive will eventually vanish.
Needless to say, many Republicans are enraged by such ideas, which they view as yet more attempts by the radical fringe of the Democratic Party to reshape the face of America with progressive legislation. After all, an integral part of the ‘American Dream’ and the ‘pursuit of happiness’ is about acquiring a plot of land for a home where a family can live in peace, security and comfort. It is this peace of mind that urban living is at pains to provide its denizens.
Yet that fact has not slowed the surveyors and the bulldozers in an increasing number of neighborhoods. Changes to local zoning laws, in the name of promoting ‘equity,’ have already happened in the cities of Minneapolis, Austin, and Seattle, whereas the state of Oregon blocked the ability of localities to grant single-family zoning entirely.
Meanwhile, other commentators see a different motivation behind these draconian measures. Vincent James, the host of The Red Elephants, a conservative channel on YouTube, argues that changes to local zoning codes is a way of the Democrats to boost their voter base.
“By forcefully integrating other racial categories into certain towns across the country, [the Democratic Party] can . . . replace the constituency of the Republican Party forever, gaining complete control of the country,” James said.
Whatever the case may be, that was just the beginning of the Democrat’s effort to destroy American suburbia together with private home ownership.
Welcome to the suburbs – and climate change
Samirah’s plan got a boost from Kian Goh, assistant professor of urban planning at the University of California, Los Angeles, who argued in the pages of The Nation that Americans need to “seriously question the ideal of private home ownership.”
Pointing to the wildfires that have devastated large swaths of California forest and residential areas, Goh postulated that “Cheap energy . . . and the idealization of individual home ownership have created the scorching landscapes we face today. Cheap energy is untenable in the face of climate emergency. And individual home ownership should be seriously questioned.”
It would be hard to find another sentence that better encapsulates the deep chasm that now separates the Democratic and Republican Parties than that. After all, it is no secret that Republicans are fierce climate-change deniers, while any talk of backtracking on the American tradition of private home ownership is viewed as nothing less than a direct assault on Capitalism.
Had Goh stopped right there, her argument would have been inflammatory enough. Not content, however, with connecting climate change to home ownership, she dipped her quill into the poisoned well of xenophobia, suggesting that racism was a motivating factor that led millions of (White) Americans to migrate to the suburbs.
“In and around so many cities . . . racist lending practices, systemic criminalization of the poor and people of color . . . favored one kind of residential development: single-family houses for those deemed qualified, which typically meant White, middle-class families,” Goh argued.
“Expansionist, individualist, and exclusionary patterns of housing became synonymous with freedom and self-sufficiency.”
Once again, ‘white oppression’ is the usual suspect, this time behind the spread of ‘elitist’ suburban neighborhoods across the Heartland. That accusation not only greatly simplifies matters, it damages Goh’s central argument by unnecessarily dragging the question of race into the picture. The fact is, America’s suburbs are more diversified than ever before.
William Frey, a demographer from the Brookings Institution, has documented what he calls “melting pot suburbs,” where minorities now comprise some 35 percent of the population. Contrary to what some Democrats believe, there is no ‘Whites Only’ sign on the approach ramp to America’s suburbs.
In fact, many urban areas are experiencing just the opposite from what was once documented as ‘White flight’ as more people migrate away from the ‘soulless suburbs’ and back into the heart of the bustling city. For many Americans, the honeymoon with the stultifying suburbs – complicated as it has become with daily commutes into the city and lack of cultural venues – is coming to an end.
Instead of citing the bogeyman of ‘racism’ as a reason for bringing the city to the suburbs, which are already witnessing ample diversity, the Democrats should find ways of making American cities clean, safe and livable once again for their citizens.
Indeed, why should the suburbs be compelled to rewrite their zoning codes to accommodate more people when the top-ten most dangerous cities in America are under Democratic leadership? At the same time, the top-ten cities for homelessness identify as ‘sanctuary cities’, Democrat-controlled cities that provide refuge to illegal immigrants, thereby exasperating the financial burden on their residents.
Is this rush to change the zoning codes of suburban neighborhoods across the nation just another way of the Democrats acknowledging that their policies are dramatically failing the American people?