Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why California First?

  The map below indicates which among the 50 U.S. states that have (1) a Democratic Governor and
Democrats in control of its legislature. In addition to California which has Democratic
  super-majorities in both houses of the its legislature and eight of eight elected executive offices
  filled by Democrats, the other five Democratic states are Oregon, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode
  Island, and Hawaii.

The headline and map above should trigger concerns among Californians. As of noon on January 20, 2017, the following California policies and traditions are threatened:
  • California's Integrated Plan for Addressing Climate Change and the related Safeguarding California climate change impacts adapation program.
  • The Covered California and MediCal universal health care program.
  • California's long history of Pro-Choice laws that began on June 14, 1967, when California Governor Ronald Reagan signed the groundbreaking Therapeutic Abortion Act.
  • California's State Trade Export Program; as one of only 3 of the 48 states in the continental United States to be Pacific Rim geographically-oriented, California is the largest exporting state to Asia, exporting $67.5 billion in goods to Asia in 2015, with China being the largest; in addition to the exports, every day a huge import volume of clothing, food, furniture, electronics, etc., passes through California's ports where members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union work; any significant alteration in this pattern will result in a recession in California.
  • As California cities and schools continue steps to protect undocumented immigrants from Trump,  California's large immigrant communities will need protection from potential repeats of the following deplorable federal programs:
    1. from 1930-1946 in the Mexican Repatriation program and beginning again in 1954 with Operation Wetback the federal government rounded up and deported one group of Californians - American citizens of Hispanic heritage, for which the State of California passed an official "Apology Act" in 2005 officially recognizing the "unconstitutional removal and coerced emigration of United States citizens and legal residents of Mexican descent" and apologizing "for the fundamental violations of their basic civil liberties and constitutional rights committed during the period of illegal deportation and coerced emigration."; and 
    2. from 1942-1945 the federal government rounded up another group of Californians - American citizens of Japanese heritage - and put them into concentration camps ultimately resulting in an apology, reparations and redress by the U.S. government in the late 20th Century;
    Since the 15th Century, California has been tied to Spanish speaking peoples, having been a Spanish Colony and then a Mexican State for the 285 years prior to becoming a state in the United States; since the 18th Century California migrants from Asia have been a significant element in the State's economy; since the mid-19th Century English speaking immigrants from the United States (many of whom were illegal immigrants when California was a Mexican State) plus other non-Spanish European migrants have arrived in large numbers.
  • California's legalization of recreational use of marijuana is under threat representing potential damage to the state's large marijuana industry.
Californians have to recognize that few, if any, other states have the political interest and will to confront the federal government on all these potential policy and economic conflicts using state and local government resources.

California is confronted with a reactionary Congress and Neoliberal Presidency. Further in the 45 states on the map above in Trumpist Orange, 84.4% of the U.S. population residing there have chosen to allow persons other than Democrats to control all, or a meaningful part, of their state government. It is consistent with the fact that while Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by 2,864,903 votes, without California counted in the totals Donald Trump won by 1,405,075.

When the headlines read 'Governor Moonbeam' Vows to Launch 'Own Damn Satellite' If Donald Trump Ignores Climate Change and the story told us...
In a barnburner speech on Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown vowed to defy any attempt by the future President to “mess with” the state’s earth science programs, telling a group of geophysicists in San Francisco, “We will persevere.”

“We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers and we’re ready to fight,” Brown told the American Geophysical Union to wild applause. “If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite.” pretty much gave us a feel for what the political and economic future looks like and it doesn't look like smooth sailing for those Californians who care about their descendants living in the year 2117.

While it is heartening to see the Women's March this weekend, take a hard look at that map above and this headline:

The map represents about 30 years of hard work by those committed to the Neoliberal ideology which asserts that market metaphors, metrics, and practices should permeate all fields of human life. The headline represents the state legislators they worked so hard to put into office.

To significantly change things by 2037, those tens of thousands of folks marching this weekend should in 2018 be slogging around hundreds of legislative districts nationwide supporting state legislative candidates sympathetic to their views to change future policies.

However Trump's "America First" speech is about now.

What Trump's "America First" speech means to Californians is that to continue to survive and thrive, we must embrace a "California First" attitude for the next four years.

It means smartly countering every piece of objectionable Congressional legislation, every damaging federal executive order, and every threatening federal court case filing.

It means: “If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite."

So that is why we must think of California First.