There’s something unique about California voters. They know they’re in a sinking boat, and yet refuse being thrown life preservers because they’re waiting for a delivery of bottled water.
In reality, the coming demise of California will have little to do with yesterday’s defeat of all of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ballot initiatives. After all, the slide started long ago and still has a way to go, so, on the map of the impact on overall California failure, yesterday’s vote takes up about as much space as a fruit fly on Michael Moore’s gut.
California is a mess. If the state could be summed up in one photograph, it would be Nick Nolte’s mug shot. They’ve got earthquakes, fires, mudslides and a $35 billion deficit Ã¢â‚¬â€œmeaning that either somebody’s asleep at the wheel, or they were accidentally sent J-Lo’s American Express bill.
Sensing something needed to be done, a couple of years ago California voters showed Governor Gray Davis the door. Then they voted in somebody who promised to try and to something, anything, to turn the state around. They don’t like him, either.
California’s problem is that they recognize the problem but aren’t willing to do anything about it. They’re like homeowners who are suffering from mice infestation, so they buy a cat– then have it declawed and keep it locked in a closet–eventually dumping it off at the Humane Society because it chewed up some of the winter coats. The mice remain, despite the homeowners hope that the temporary jitters of a declawed cat living in a closet would have driven them off. It never does.
Just before California voters recalled Governor Gray Davis, Standard & Poor’s lowered California’s credit rating three notches, down to a level which requires them to put up collateral just to go to the neighbor’s to borrow a cup of sugar.
The grapes in “The Grape State” may be the “of wrath” kind if things don’t turn around quickly, and from all indications, Californians don’t want them to.
My favorite of the California ballot defeats has to be Prop. 75, which would have required public employee unions to obtain written consent of members to use dues or fees for political purposes. If you are a California union employee and opposed this, your own money was spent on millions of dollars worth of ads to defeat you. Don’t complain or you’ll be run over with your own car.
All of that “public” money is of course, collectively, tax money.
In “Democracy in America“, Alexis de Tocqueville wrote:
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.”
In this area, California is on a “Lewis & Clark” style expedition, and are, like Sacajawea (if she were a “between films” actor) guiding the nation toward discovering de Tocqueville’s promised land of impending fiscal and governmental doom.
This will all be recognized at the next ceremony of the “Political Darwin Awards”. Hopefully the rest of the nation can take note of, and learn from, the disaster that California is turning out to be, but don’t bank on it.
Nice try, Arnold. “Next!”
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