Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, January 20, 2017

On A Day of Darkness, California Strives To Be A Light To The Nation

Proud to be Californian!

You know the expression, "As Goes California, So Goes the Country." It doesn't hurt to recall some history in this connection.

After all, California elevated that asshole Reagan into power and prominence years before the rest of America did. And we had our own idiotic anti-governmental tax revolts a whole decade before everybody else. And then we let Republican reactionaries whip up a draconian racist crackdown on precarious immigrants and recreational drug use in which the State Republican Party doubled down on white resentment politics rather than adapt to the needs of a rapidly diversifying electorate to the ruin of the party's viability in the State. Hell, we even already elected our own stupid stunt reality tee vee star to our highest office after a ridiculous substance-free killer clown special election spectacle with the Governator.

And do you know what else?

We saw through Reagan's anti-government anti-democratic anti-civilizational gimcrackery before the rest of the country did. We reaped the ruinous harvest of debt and crumbling infrastructure and normative breakdown with which anti-tax revolts inevitably must be paid. The richly diversifying and secularizing reality of California's population soon overwhelmed the procedural tricks through which an entrenched minority of Republicans sought for years to obstruct the will of the people in the State legislature.

And now our State is run from top to bottom by Democrats. We run Sacramento with supermajorities. We are far from perfect or even reliably perfectionist. Of course, there are Democrats who are terrible, or corrupt, or corporatist, or who knows what -- and some are politically to the right of the constituencies they represent and one might well want them primaried while others might be vulnerable to Republican takeovers which would weaken the Democratic majority's power even if the individual Republican replacement were not, in the abstract, more than marginally worse than the imperfect Democrat. As I never cease reminding my fellow Democratic lefties (whether liberal, sustainable, social democratic, democratic socialist, anti-racist, queer-feminist, or all of the above like me), partisan politics is all about diverse winning coalitions that do better as coalitions than the alternatives actually on offer, organizing campaigns for best policy proposals and candidates actually on offer, given the diversity of stakeholders with whom we actually share our world, our time, our problems, and our possibilities. Partisan politics is a contingent, convulsive, compromised, costly effort -- there are no certain victories, there are no secure accomplishments, there is never total and lasting consensus, there is no occasion for purity of choice or conduct, only best compromises to build on, and there is no justification for self-congratulation, only battles won together for now to be celebrated briefly together before the next building effort.

But here in California there are strong women, people of color, queers, differently enabled people conspicuous among our public servants, and they reflect (though not yet enough) the knowledge, needs, strength, skills, creativity inhering in the real diversity of our people. We celebrate our diversity and are now working to secure the well-being of us all. In what less than a decade ago under a Republican governor and in the face of Republican obstruction was often called "a failed state," we have implemented Keynesian macroeconomics, harm-reduction policy models, and climate science to transform our priorities and our practices. (Republicans have as little patience for these disciplines as they do for evolutionary theory or women's healthcare decisions.)

We are now solvent and prosperous and growing. (How much of that is another round of irrational exuberance whomped up by the robo-feudalist VC con-artists of Silicon Valley I leave to the side for once.) We are struggling to get closer and closer to a living wage paid for by ever more and more progressive taxes. We are investing in public education, we are building vast sustainable public works in energy and transportation.

We are working to contain climate catastrophe through regulations that will extend across the country since California on its own is the sixth largest economy on earth and it is easier to treat us as the national standard

We are modeling best practices and creative new legislation to make voting easier for every citizen as is our fundamental right, to ensure trustworthy elections, to regulate the ownership and use of guns, to end the racist war on drugs. (As we can and must still turn the tide from jails to homes and schools, from incarceration to care, from military occupation to accountable and representative community policing.)

It is to be hoped that somehow California will find a way to protect the Affordable Care Act here while we await the end of the Trump-interruption, perhaps in concert with other Cascadian states like Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and an Arizona full of seniors dependent on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security ready to flip blue. Certainly California State lawsuits and deep-pocketed California insurance company lobbyists can muck up dismantlement of the ACA long enough to give Democrats a chance to make the unqualified, unfit, unpopular, unacceptable Trump a one-term president, one hopes still leaving enough ACA intact by the end to repair and then build on.

We are even beginning to implement the formalization of long-standing professional norms (for example, the expectation that presidential candidates release their taxes to the public to ensure that they have no conflicts of interest nor have engaged in illegal or inappropriate conduct) the violation of which by Trump (also Sanders, by the way) has endangered the Republic of which our State is a part. If Trump wants to be re-elected, he will have to submit his taxes if he is to have his name on the ballot in this State the population of which is too large for any candidate to dismiss, even if they have no expectation of winning it.

California has been here already and points the way forward.

California is the Resistance. Trump lost here by millions, he will never be our President.

California is the Living Alternative. You can be California or you can be Kansas. You decide.

California is building better shared futures, here and now and together, for all Americans.

During the Trump interruption, California will be America's greatest laboratory of democracy.


Esebian said...

Let's hope so, and that the Trump derail only lasts one term.

Dale Carrico said...

Your lips, Goddess' ears.