A Navy veteran of the tumultuous Vietnam and Nixon years, he served his country from inside that chaotic White House. I cannot sing his praises enough! As a writer and a brother, a mentor and a friend, this man has had a life-long effect on me and so many others. Enjoy the spell he weaves with his mastery of prose and attention to detail that only his style surpasses.
It has become all too easy for the rest of us in the nation to dismiss what happens in the Land of Fruits and Nuts these days. The truth is that we all had better show more concern for what is happening out there. The Golden State has emerged as both a cultural trend setter and a political crystal ball. It is the world’s fifth largest economy. As such, we ignore or discount it at our own peril.
Alright, you Californians no longer have any right to poke fun at or criticize the folks in Florida over anything to do with their state politics or voting issues. They are off the hook and you guys are on. If you keep it up you are likely to set new standards for comedic politics.
So what gives me as an Arizonan the right to concern myself with or criticize the politics of a state I do not live in? For starters, all five of my grandchildren are currently living there. Anything that impacts their little lives shall not escape my attention and I will comment on it at the very least. Since I live in a bordering state, I spend a lot of time in California. While there I pay the same sales taxes that resident Californians do and I am subject to most of their state level statutes. That being the case, I feel the state officials there owe me a reasonable amount of service and attention.
In a broader and less personal sense, California has become a political powerhouse through shear size and economic importance. It exerts a tremendous amount of influence on the culture of the nation if not the world. It has been blessed with resources and natural wonders too numerous to mention. It has a rich history and a reputation for a free-wheeling, innovative entrepreneurial sprit that enables farsighted and talented citizens to build fortunes beyond their dreams.
In spite of all it has going for it, California has become little more than a political echo chamber for the left. This adherence to such a monolithic political philosophy and its resultant dominance has set the stage for an unparalleled crisis in the state.
The state treasury is facing a thirty eight billion dollar deficit while its citizens pay what has to be one of the highest percentages in the nation of their income to fund draconian tax codes set up to pay for lofty and often unnecessary social programs, most of which were actually designed to cater to special interests. People and businesses are fleeing the state at an alarming rate resulting in reduced revenues and amplifying the negative effects of an already shaky national economy.
Times are hard all over but such a set of fiscal circumstances in a state not only bespeak of poor management but screams of corruption at all levels. In short the fix is in. Special interests are in fiscal control and therefore political control of just about all branches of the state government. Ideological checks and balances can’t work because conservative viewpoints and initiatives are systematically squelched.
Having grown up in Alabama, I am no stranger to weird politics. Need I mention Jim Folsom or George Wallace? In his last run for governor I personally heard Jim Folsom say that we the citizens of Alabama should re-elect him because he had already stolen all he wanted from the state and if we put a new guy in office he would steal more than he Folsom would. You can’t get any weirder than the truth in politics I guess. Wallace’s exploits were well covered nationally but his and his wife’s administrations at the state level are still legendary. Both pale in comparison to Mr. Davis and his current crew in Sacramento when it comes to sheer ineptitude and fiscal naiveté.
There is more than enough blame to go around however. You Californians voted him in. Not only that, but you voted all those high taxes on yourselves and all those weird regulations that make running a business in your state like trying to hang wallpaper with one arm tied behind your back using only a crowbar at midnight. If you are expecting me to feel sorry for you, don’t.
This recall farce is a classic study in confusion. At first look, it is like trying to get a splinter out of your finger using a chainsaw. There should not have to be a recall process. Like impeachment it is a last ditch tool to correct situations such as exist in the state today. No one should want to use it and maybe it needs to be even harder to initiate than it is but at this point those are all moot questions. The die is cast. Hopefully, this will make public officials at all levels more mindful of their obligations to the voting public.
At last count you guys are going to have close to 200 from which to choose your replacement governor. Congratulations. But look on the bright side. Each of those candidates has to pony up $ 3,500. Times 200 that’s a cool $700,000 – a nice start on the 38 billion if it weren’t for the fact that projected costs for the recall election will be 67 million dollars plus. Makes you wonder if the cure isn’t worse than the disease.
The alternative is simply more of the same. The state is just before entering the junk bond market. Business as usual is just not a viable option at this point. You Californians, like your politicians, are just going to have to face the music. Things are going to get a lot worse before they even start to get better. Whoever you select out of the 200 to be your next governor will need your total and unified support if he/she is to have a prayer of restoring any kind of fiscal order in Sacramento. His or her ability, experience, skills or leadership; although important, won’t mean a thing without the wholehearted support of ALL of you.
Politics mirrors life in that you get out of it only what you put into it. Failing to vote or inform yourself from a trustworthy source about what your elected officials are up to is one of the quickest ways I know of to lose control over their behavior in your behalf. Listening to and believing all they tell you without confirming it independently is another. Voter apathy and ignorance are the root causes of political corruption. If some sharpie in political office thinks he can get away with something he is sure going to try.
I wish you guys nothing but the best. As I have stated I feel I have a pretty important vested interest in the outcome of events out there. The Founding Fathers of this nation had a vast and enduring faith in the wisdom and will of the people. Get in there and fix this mess so the rest of us can build on your example.