2016 was a Douglas Adams kind of year. That is not an insult to the late, great author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. No, it is more on point in recognizing that 2016 felt like we were taking a long, arduous journey in his Improbability Drive powered space craft. We saw events that made us all scratch our heads and go, “Huh? What the hell? How did that even happen?” Well, it happened because even the most improbable of things have the possibility of reality. And 2016 was like rolling snake eyes ten times in a row: sure as heck unlikely, but technically possible. Now we have to deal with the asshole at the table who thinks he is brilliant because he bet on those snake eyes and won. Ninety-nine percent of the time, he is a loser, so when he wins, he makes everyone suffer. Yay for us all. [insert sarcasm… please].
So how does this come back around to California? Well that is a great question and I am happy to pretend you actually asked it! 2016 taught us a very harsh mathematical reality. The improbable is possible. Between Brexit and Trump, the world is in shock. Some people would be inclined to think we need to calm things down, try to find our sanity, use our golf clap and fake smiles and attempt to pretend we are not lurking at the edge of disaster. But I was thinking about that. Now, I’m not a doctor or anything, but in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, Yosemite Sam hits his head and loses his memory (kind of like how we seemed to forget our moral responsibility to not cast stupid votes) and while Bugs definitely took advantage of Sam, and pretended like everything was just like it should be, Sam didn’t get better until he was hit on the head again. Maybe, just maybe, we don’t need a “coming together” and holding hands solution, which primarily involves sticking our heads in the sand for the next four years praying the fallout won’t be too bad when we dig ourselves back out. Perhaps what we need is another hit on the head (or kick in the arse). Maybe we need to embrace the improbable, ride that space ship, own it and use it. California is poised to do exactly that.
California is the third largest state in the union in acreage, but has the greatest population. It is followed, not even remotely closely, by Texas. In fact, you can easily fit Ohio’s entire population in the difference. Likewise, California contributes roughly $300 billion in federal taxes every year. And, you guessed it, that is a lot more than anyone else. California ranks 46th (out fifty states) for receiving federal money in return. The four states receiving less are Kansas, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware. The combined population of those four states is 16,315,125 (as per census bureau 2013). Compare that to California’s population of 38,332,521 citizens. The fact is that California is paying more and getting a lot less for it. They have more citizens to care for, which includes ensuring their safety, human, and civil rights, maintaining infrastructure, and providing education. To top it off, Californians have less voting power than any other state, as much as 3.6 times less than some states (which means it takes 3 1/2 voters in California to almost equate to one vote in some other states.)
Now, using Trump’s own ‘good deal, bad deal’ analogy, California is not in a healthy relationship with the United States. As reported by Reuters in June of 2016, California surpassed France and skyrocketed from the eighth largest economy in the world in 2014 to sixth at present, with a 4.1% real terms growth. So, considering California’s robust and stable economy, perhaps it should take a feather out of Trump’s hat and renegotiate the terms of its position in the Union. Believe it or not, California may be willing to take Trump to task.
Calexit. I know you have seen the memes, played them off as a loser’s fantasy, but who thought Britain would leave the EU or the US would have an oompaloompa as president? The truth behind the meme is that this is actually real. A committee for Yes California is presently preparing the petitions necessary to place an exit option on the ballot for Californians to consider. Should it garner the half a million signatures required to put it on the 2018 ballot, California could definitely see a change of standing with the federal government. The ballot measure is actually a call for a special election in 2019 to determine the desires of Californian citizens. Neither measure would immediately result in the secession of California from the United States. It merely paves the way for that process with the support of the population. The first vote is to create the opportunity to secede, the second is to pursue that opportunity.
Yes California’s website yescalifornia.org provides many compelling reasons and statistics to support the position of secession. However, I am not quite ready to endorse actually leaving the United States, just yet. Trump does make the offer so tempting, however. What I do support, what I will endorse, is signing the petition and even voting yes on the 2018 proposition. Does that sound contradictory? Maybe. But it won’t when I explain why.
Far separated from all the reasons listed on Yes California’s website, I see a different, but equally valuable opportunity. The truth is, the petition and even the initial vote are for nothing more than to have an open discussion, a public debate. Discussions and debates hurt no one. In fact, California has absolutely nothing to lose from this discussion, but the whole country could gain from it. How? Let me tell you what I see.
I see an extremely dangerous and fundamentally extremist administration coming into power, with a compromised, narcissist, wanna-be dictator leading it. We have already witnessed a dismemberment of our core values, like equality, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to protest, and our freedom of speech. We are at the cusp of entering a new world order, where women no longer have the right to govern their own bodies, marriage equality is reversed, religious dogma is taught as science, immigrants are hunted down, religious freedom means the right to choose what denomination of Christian you want to be, a crashing economy, police states where citizens have no recourse for abuse of power or brutality, misogyny is welcomed, homophobia is encouraged, racial tensions and hate crimes are intensified and wars are fought, sacrificing the lives of our children, parents, siblings, and friends, for the financial benefit of warmongers, or, worse yet, Trumpaloompa’s pride. Millions of people are about to lose their healthcare options. People are going to die as a result. We are standing on the edge of this precipice. And how do we stop it? How can we keep the country from tumbling over? Well, California might can.
Placing secession on the ballot sends an absolute message to Washington DC. That message says bluntly, “Don’t go where we can’t follow.” In essence, placing this measure on the ballot and voting yes in 2018 puts a leash on Trump and Washington. As much as they don’t care about the West Coast state, they do love its money. They know an historic vote to leave the Union would cause chaos, for them, and lead to other states joining suit. The Religious Right, Alt Right, would discover quickly it does not have a mandate to turn back the clock and stuff their contradictory morals down everyone’s throats. If the Golden State can stand unified in its own self interest against Washington DC, it could literally save the nation and ensure the continuation of this democratic republic experiment.
But, what if Washington doesn’t play nice? What if they continue down that dark path in spite of California’s attempt to reign in sanity by whopping the country over the head? Well, then they have options and have opened the door for others, as well. If Trump tries to burn down everything the US stands for and with the swipe of a pen undoes decades of hard fought for rights and freedoms, if the American dream is lost, then California would have the option and opportunity of dreaming anew.
However, and given what 2016 brought us I almost dare not say this, the former is more likely than the latter. Meaning, it is more probable the leash will hold this beast back and keep it somewhat tame. If it holds, it could save the nation. If it doesn’t, the nation was already lost.
So, to summarize: I think Yes California is doing the right thing for right now. We may not completely agree on the reasons, although I do not disagree with any of their points, as they are all valid, but by themselves, for me, would not be enough to take on the enormous challenge involved in creating a new nation. But, added to the dismal prospects of the Trump Kingdom, or Trumpdom, I can find absolutely nothing but benefit in continuing this conversation into 2019. The more seriously we look at it, the more seriously DC will take it, and, therefore, the greater an impact it can have. Sometimes you have to threaten to quit for your boss to realize how important you really are and, perhaps, you should be afforded more respect for your contributions. In the end, the US needs California a lot more than California needs the US.
So, in my continued interest to promote equality for all people, end misogyny and promote women’s rights, human rights and civil liberties, I am going to support the discussion of this measure, support the petition and a 2018 yes vote. It is not treason, it is not unAmerican or unpatriotic. In fact, it could be the most patriotic thing most people do, as it affords a genuine opportunity to reign in an illegitimate administration and prevent it from imposing radical changes not supported by the majority of citizens. It is utterly peaceful but displays strength and power. It is like a protest with options. I like it.
We are One Woman, One World.
For more information about Yes California, to contribute, ask questions, find local chapters, find events, or visit their blog : http://www.yescalifornia.org/
Links: More ways to find me or colleagues of mine to check out!