The Bible mentions mansions in Heaven. That’s a beautiful thing because there are no mansions in Santa Maria.
Imagine an alien from another galaxy landing on Earth, or more specifically, Santa Barbara County. Let’s call this alien Mr. Spock and attribute to him the type of intelligence and logic exhibited by the fictional character on “Star Trek.” Spock would arrive here and look around, realizing he knows nothing about the civilization he has found himself in. But in his incredible capacity for seeing things logically, he’d probably draw some interesting conclusions.
Perhaps one of Spock’s first observations would be that on one end of Santa Barbara County, enormous structures containing 10 or more bedrooms, seven or more bathrooms, two or more kitchens — one located indoors, and another situated outdoors — plus a separate section built to accommodate multiple shiny high-tech vehicles. And then he’d notice that on the other end of the county there are many smaller structures, by comparison. And these smaller structures contain three or fewer bedrooms, and two or fewer bathrooms, one kitchen, and a space for one of maybe two older, less shiny vehicles.
His assumption, based on his alien logic, is that the structures with 10 or more bedrooms, seven or more bathrooms, and two or more kitchens are designed to accommodate several people, perhaps several families. While the smaller structures are intended for one, two, or possibly three people. A small family, maybe. And obviously not for more than a single family.
After all, why would one or two people, or even three or four people, need a structure with eight, nine, or 10 thousand square feet, complete with 10 bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and two kitchens? Including one inside and one outside? Not to mention a separate elaborate structure designed to accommodate multiple high-tech machines? It just isn’t logical.
But, in fact, Spock would come to learn the opposite. Indeed, he would come to witness the perverse reverse.
The enormous structures are very often designed for one person, or maybe two, or in some situations, a small family. Whereas the small structures accommodate not one, not even two, but often three families squeezing into an arrangement with three or fewer bedrooms, two or fewer bathrooms, and a small garage converted into a living space for as many as four, five, or more people.
Spock would discover that in this new world he’s arrived in, some people enjoy an extravagant lifestyle and enjoy an abundance of creature comforts, while others — most, in fact — have very little, and sometimes nothing at all. They’re struggling to get by. I’d imagine Spock would question the economic justice inherent in this alien social system. And that the vast disparity of wealth must be intentional. But why?
Before you allow your imagination to get too far away from reality, let me be clear. I’m not suggesting that people with large homes and extravagant lifestyles, and an abundance of wealth, don’t deserve what they have. If they worked hard and earned what they have, more power to them. I celebrate their success right along with them.
However, if and when super-wealthy people use the power of their vote, which is undoubtedly one of the most important individual rights we have as Americans, to perpetuate an economic status quo that protects their wealth and abundance while arbitrarily limiting the economic opportunities of those with very little, and in many cases, nothing at all, well, that is not only wrong, it is outrageous, and it is immoral. And, yet, tragically, this happens in Santa Barbara County consistently and continually.
Wealthy families on the South Coast who own extravagant property or multiple properties get richer while working families in the North County, who have the potential for tremendous economic opportunities but are denied it through the power of votes in the South County — including, believe it or not, “progressive” and “woke” students in Isla Vista — fall further and further behind.
What might Mr. Spock say? Oh, I suppose he’d say what he always says … “I don’t understand, Captain. It isn’t logical. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. This civilization, Captain, is economically very uncivilized. Beam me up, Scotty!”