Greetings from Fortress California.
For those of you unfortunate enough to live in other states roiled more by the unfolding disaster that Donald Trump’s presidency is fast becoming, our condolences. We here on the Left Coast will continue to hold the line until disaster passes.
As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, this is where the resistance is headquartered, swathed in red, white and blue, but mostly blue:
We’ve got a smart, no-bull governor leading the fight to stop Trump and his coal-loving, climate-hating cronies from destroying Mother Earth.
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We’ve got proudly self-proclaimed sanctuary cities and stand-up municipal officials who’ve told the president where to stick his dangerously inflammatory Muslim travel ban and preposterous, solar-equipped border wall.
We’ve also got the most diverse population in America, one that is largely deaf to the dog whistles of Trump and his supporters, many of whom seem to have flunked the “melting pot” part of eighth-grade Civics. To those who would seek to divide us rather than unite, the message from California’s sunny shores, its verdant farmlands, mountains majesty, and the hottest damn desert this side of the Sahara, should resonate loudly with each galling Trump gaffe. Yes, you won the battle last November, but not the war. That you can never win, and never will.
This is not to say the Golden State is all golden.
That same smart, environmentally protective governor? He wants to build a bullet train to nowhere instead of devoting our precious tax dollars to more practical needs, such as constructing drought-busting water storage facilities, or funding giant air mattresses to help us all get through the day when the Big One finally sends everything west of I-5 floating out to sea.
Yet for all its imperfections, life in California is simply less stressful for many of us. We’re not so frequently at war with each other as those of you elsewhere. We’re not so fearful of people who don’t look or behave like us because, hey, those people? They are us. Maybe it doesn’t hurt that we’ve got the greatest human equalizer on our side: ethnic cuisine. Belizean, Bangladeshi, Ethiopian, Persian, Israeli, Peruvian. You name it, we’ve got it. Take that, Kansas.
In reality, California is not so much a state as it is a state of mind. It is a place for the most part of tolerance and inclusion, of life and the pursuit of happiness, the very essence of what this land of opportunity called America is supposed to be about.
And here’s the best part. We’ve still got plenty of room. Join us. The welcome mat is out.
David Freed is a pilot, novelist and former reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He can be contacted at David-Freed.com.