When the federal government fails, as it will happen in the upcoming years, the States should step up.
I’m waking up in fear this morning. I fear that what is supposed to be the most productive part of my life will come to pass during the Trump years. Yes, he can be reelected. If I didn’t think so, then I would not have learned anything from yesterday’s elections. I fear that by the time my son and my daughter get ready to go to College, most of the lives that they remember would have taken place in a dark time, one in which social and technological progress not only slowed down, but actually stopped and reversed as a result of the voice of the people. Climate change initiatives? Dinged. Obama’s cancer initiative? Maybe gone. Healthcare reform? It would take a miracle for the Affordable Care Act not to be repealed, and not in favor of anything good. Citizens United? Uphold. Financial markets regulation? Frank Dodd is in grave danger. Most social reforms necessary for the country to be successful in the information era are likely to be neglected and discouraged. That’s what the United States of America voted for. If you don’t think so then you are not paying attention.
Some people woke up with hope. “Trump cannot be that bad”. “He’s smarter than he looks”. “Now he will do the right thing”. Balloony. I don’t buy it. Just look at the people standing next to him last night. Come to terms with the new imperial order: Trump had on his side Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie. Our new first lady? A catalogue wife that has failed miserably at demonstrating that there is something palpable in her brain. His sons? Entitled millionaires better known as hunters of African wild life. In yesterday’s acceptance speech Donald Trump was particularly generous with Ben Carson. Think about it for a second. Ben Carson. In this unfortunate world, we are likely to have a Surgeon General who essentially doesn’t believe in science. We heard this morning that the head of the EPA transition team is a climate change denier.
We are hearing from about everybody, including our beloved Stephen Colbert, that it’s the time to heal and hug the political adversary. Allow me to disagree. In the same day that the country elected Trump, California passed taxes for education, stricter gun control, a ban on plastic bags, legalized marijuana and provided law enforcers and the judicial system with a way to reduce sentences in non-violent crimes. We also torpedoed a proposition sponsored by owners of large estates aimed to impede the construction of the high-speed rail that would connect the Bay Area with Southern California. We passed a thoughtful proposition to “advise” the state’s elected officials to use their authority to overturn a Federal Election Commission decision that has flooded politics with money. We have one of the highest minimum wages in the nation. We have the highest standards and highest taxes for gasoline. We are pulling in the opposite direction. The right one we think. Our needs and our beliefs are not aligned with those of the winners of the recent elections. It’s a bad marriage. I argue, strongly, that we are not represented by this new federal government. It’s time to make it clear.
California is essentially a technocracy. Our industries focus on futurism, and not only in San Francisco, Silicon Valley or Los Angeles. We build electric cars. We build the databases, information systems and networking intelligence that has enabled the era in which we live. We create intelligent manufacturing and intelligent agriculture. We make social progress in our lifetimes, launching cultural revolutions one after the other. We are not perfect. We are far from it. But we recognize it and we are working as a diverse team to build a “tomorrow” that brings real opportunity and prosperity. Allow me one word to describe our State: Science. Social and technological. We starve for visionaries. We can’t be governed by people with ideas that are decades old.
Many of you may argue that this column looks nationalistic and self-promoting. That would be partially true if not for the fact that my roots are not in California. Rather than an act of chance, living here has been a decision of which I’m prouder than ever. My 8-years old daughter’s reaction to the election and her parents’ opinions was to make an artistic sign that commemorates California. Optimism in times of darkness. When we hit bottom, we can only go high. As we have never been isolationists, we welcome to our coalition whoever wants to be part of it. California it’s not only a place. It’s an American concept. The bottom line is that it’s the time to act local. In the light of Tuesday’s results, I’m committed to my community more than yesterday. I’m committed to understand the challenges of the California people, starting with my neighbors and my school district. I’m committed to pay more attention to my State Senate and Assembly. I’m committed to hold my elected officers in Washington accountable to stop the devolution that the new leaders have in mind. Obstructionism? Yes. As I said, this column is not really about hugging the winners.
In these times of darkness I find hope in the federal system. For the first time in my life, I will be an advocate of State rights. How ironic. I find myself beyond the middle of my life path, hungry for a cause and a vision and a better world for my children. I invite you to understand the demographic, regional and political changes. I invite you to think about the ways to reach out and bring meaningful information to the rural communities. But I also would like to ask you a personal question. Would you stay in a bad marriage, one in which your goals are the opposite of your significant other? Do you realize that one half of this country is preventing the progress that the other half is starving for? And in that deadly mix, do you understand that the anxiety is building in the most progressive parts of this experiment called the United States?