Gov. Jerry Brown told us in his recent State of the State address that, of course, nearly all is well in California on his watch. The real state of this state is not so sweet, though. Beneath the sheen applied by the governor, there is a thickening layer of corrosion, boorish politics and just plain silliness.
California is so politically polarized that it threatens to rip apart. Various proposals would rend the state into two, three and even six new states. Stark political, cultural and economic differences are driving the proposals. The convulsions caused by polarization across the state are palpable.
“Divisive issues abound and are intensified in a state as diverse and large as California,” Hoover Institution fellow Richard Sousa wrote a year ago.
Shouldn’t the governor be trying to unify the warring groups before the situation blows up?
At the same time, California is, some observers believe, in a state of rebellion against the union. There is a strong appetite for a “Calexit” in which the state would assert its independence.
In part, the revolt is being fueled by California’s status as a “sanctuary state” and several municipalities’ claim to be “sanctuary cities” that shelter non-residents who are refusing to take the legal route to emigrate to the U.S. and cut in front of the those who are. California “is very, very close to the beginning of a civil war,” former White House aide and television personality Ben Stein recently said on Fox News. “I hope it’s not with bloodshed. I hope it’s just with litigation.”
Independence efforts are also being stoked by a faction that believes California is simply too good to be part of such a backward nation. This group is dedicated to its own version of “California values,” and its “resistance” to the Trump administration agenda, none which are necessarily in harmony with the values of most who of the residents of the state’s blue counties.
Kerry Jackson is a fellow with the Center for California Reform at the Pacific Research Institute.