Bill Whalen

An independence rally behind the California flag? Choose one of these dates

If California’s feeling a little forlorn these days, it might be the one-two punch of postpartum non-secession depression – we’ve had a Brexit, maybe a Frexit, depending on how the French election plays out, but Calexit is a no-go for now – coupled with other states revisiting their historic roots while America’s nation-state finds its way in this turbulent time of angry populism.

A week ago, while San Francisco went without power and Californians in other parts fought off a Weed Day hangover, Texas celebrated San Jacinto Day and the final battle in the Texas Revolution of 1836.

Next Thursday, Rhode Island holds its statewide Independence Day honoring its breakaway from Great Britain two months before the American colonies did it en masse in Philadelphia.

And California?

Feel free to choose a date for our starting point – the declaration of independence from Mexico (June 14, 1846), the discovery of flakes of gold in the American River (Jan. 24, 1848), or becoming the 31st star on the American flag (Sept. 9, 1850).

On the other hand, we live in an age when many a Californian thinks of “Bear Republic” as a cold beverage bottled in Northern California as opposed to a 19th century immigrant movement. Perhaps we need a more modern starting date for rallying behind the state flag.

My candidates:

February’s Academy Award Ceremony. The Sunday February/March date varies, but the images of California glamour doesn’t.

The argument for: No other event captures our entertainment community at its creative best and its condescending, narcissistic worst.

The argument against: If the celebration outside is anything like what transpires inside Hollywood’s Dolby Theater, the day will be slow-moving and forever trying to atone for the previous year’s mistakes.

May 14. On that date in 1944, George Lucas enters the world in Modesto (if you live in Silicon Valley, a galaxy far, far away).

The argument for: “American Graffiti” and a $1 billion art museum he’s funding in Los Angeles.

The argument against: Nerds will want to move it up to May 4 (“May the Fourth Be With You”). Isn’t it time someone said no to the tech community?

June 17. On that date in 1994, O.J. Simpson goes for a ride on the 405 and California begins its descent into a Kardashian-exemplified age of unwarranted fame and fortune.

The argument for: The ratings for last year’s “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” showed we’re still not over that Greek tragedy.

The argument against: You won’t get it from an American president spawned from the reality world that Robert Kardashian, one of O.J.’s “dream team” attorneys, inadvertently fathered.

Oct. 22. On that day in 1948, in Baldwin Park, the opening of the first In-N-Out burger stand and a fast-food empire that today counts 300 restaurants in five states.

The argument for: What California food establishment makes out-of-staters more envious?

The argument against: Other than the usual suspects (vegans, animal lovers), a laic freaking out at the thought of lauding a Christian-centric operation which writes Biblical references on drink cups.

November’s Election Day. In honor of what transpired on Nov. 3, 1998, the first in an ongoing series of Democratic landslides that hurtled the Golden State on its present path of progressive lab/occasional freak show.

The argument for: It’s who we are politically – an unending conversation of taxation, regulation and railing against red states.

The argument against: Why bother – even if Republicans tried to kill this via the ballot, they’d probably come up short.

The logical choice, of course, is none of the aforementioned. June 14, the revolt against a government and a short-lived republic is the answer. It speaks to California’s independent spirit. And it dovetails with anti-government hostility – today’s disgruntled Californians thinking it’s 1846, with better cell reception and cradle-to-grave entitlement.

The state should throw itself a party. Maybe the Kardashians will attend – if you pay them an appearance fee.

Bill Whalen is a Hoover Institution research fellow and former speechwriter for Gov. Pete Wilson. Whalen can be contacted at whalenoped@gmail.com.

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