Letter From California
03/02/08 0605.51 pst
San Jose, California
I have always felt a small stab of unfamiliar civic guilt for ignoring Calitics, Markos often mentions and even blogrolls them but I instinctively shy away; layering our federal nightmare over the current California horror show for a political perspective to spit out in text is really not a exercise I should subject my brain to on a regular basis.
Really. One of the most fantastic elements to our fantasy of politics is how normal everyone seems to interpret the scene, the President stole his office in 2000 and California had a do-over in 2002, intellectual chump usurpers and childish politicians the result, yet they couldn’t be beaten. The world warms with losing wars and reeking spew, Darth Cheney looms from DC with creepy evil, and even in Sacramento there resides another Saruman, crew-cut, slit-eyed, bought and paid for in his best line in my frequent dreams of disquiet.
“I am here. I am going to fok up your society,” Arnie says with Teutonic finality. Cigar smoke and Uzi shells emanate forthwith, he really means it, everyone walks around like this is the way life’s supposed to be and I just don’t go there. I’m sure y’all can understand.
Two factors are presently eroding my immature evasiveness, however. The first, of course, is a great blogger--nothing will attach me more to a cause and issue than a great writer and citizen willing to regularly publish. That’s precisely what Paine, Franklin, Adams and countless others did, so I pay attention when it happens. This time it’s dday, masterful pinch hitter at Hullabaloo. I am seriously creased I’ve missed his writing all this time at Calitics and I’ll have to go there to get it.
The other element is that although California politicians sometimes over-hype issues with pet histrionics about how scary things can be, this time we truly are in serious trouble with the most basic elements of society and Democracy in play and at risk.
As I understand it, for ten years Sacramento politicians have played a shell game of denial and evasion, putting off payments for anything under the sun for some magical mystical day in the future. Well, that day is here and California is $11 billion short.
The Terminator huddled with the rich cronies who enable him and came back with a classic New Republican revolutionary power answer: smash your society by not raising taxes.
28 state parks to close. Approximately 20,000 inmates immediately freed. $2.5 billion cuts to our children’s future in education. $1.6 billion cut to Medi-Cal. The list goes on very much longer.
This insanity invokes a singular question: do Californians want a government or not? If the answer is yes then taxes will have to be raised. End of story.
We need passionate Democratic fighters to make that plain easy case for our people. Against political chumps who are dangerous radicals—Republicans in the past routinely raised taxes, going back to the Stone Age wasn’t a vision for America they were willing to be responsible for, but the freaks in Sacramento sure think that way now. Does California possess such Democratic fighters of civic fortitude? I don’t know yet.
Finding out will mean a much more consistent perusal of the Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times, another traipse through the tulips for my life in America that’s going to be, Jesus. One of the reasons we’re in this incredible mess is the gross ineptness of American “journalism,” but I’ll have to put up with it to find out what’s going on. To the writers and workers at the San Francisco Chronicle I deeply admire and still am grateful for every day, I’m sorry. It’s the truth.
Ugh, this is going to be a long road with the Presidential sideshow in full swing, probably a very good reason Arnie and his goons are trying it now, they’re counting on citizens being weary and distracted. Wrong again, dudes, wrong again.