California secession debate is not simply a red and blue issue

Reposted from Jeff Morrissette's moveoncalifornia.org from November, 2004. Jeff Morrissette is not affiliated with Yes California as we have been unable to locate him. The following content has been reposted to preserve the historical record of his respectable attempt at California independence in the mid-2000s.

Some common ground is beginning to emerge that frames the discussion of an independent California in a different light. While Move On California was founded in reaction to the disappointment of George Bush’s re-election, there are some very good reasons why a majority of Californians should at least consider moving down the path toward independence. 

 

red

If you are a red voter there are some legitimate grounds for considering the creation of an independent California. Bottom line: it makes sense fiscally and will lead to a government that is more accountable to the people of California.

For every dollar California taxpayers send to the federal government, about 78-cents is returned to the state. Contrast that with other states, e.g. the state of New Mexico gets a whopping $2.34 back for every dollar that goes to Washington. Others getting more than their fair share include—North Dakota, $2.04; Alaska $1.91; Mississippi, $1.88; West Virginia, $1.81; Montana, $1.65; Alabama, $1.64; South Dakota, $1.58; Hawaii, $1.56; Arkansas, $1.55.

Those states are getting a pretty good return on investment, don’t you think? But what it really comes down to is Californians are subsidizing these states. The guys holding the purse strings in Washington are playing us like a violin.
Imagine what California could do with that extra 20-plus cents?

Ask yourself this question—Could we as Californians form a government that is more efficient and responsive to the needs of Californians than the federal government? Be careful before you answer that. If you said “No” then you must ask yourself if you really think our federal government is efficient and responsive. Do you think the combined special interests in all the other states really take to heart the interests of the people of California?

The fact is, under our current relationship with the federal government, California taxpayers are getting ripped-off. We are losing money that could be better directed toward the needs of people in this state. Admittedly, California has had its share of budgetary and management problems. But don’t you think we could do better if the albatross of the federal government was removed? An independent California would demand more accountability from its leaders. It’s easier for Californians to “throw the bums out” of Sacramento than getting rid of the pork barrel spending champions of other states.

Consider those states listed above and then play match the U.S. Senator. Why does New Mexico get so much money? Answer: Sen. Pete Domenici who has been the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee for how long? Alaska has pork champion Ted Stevens. West Virginia has Robert Byrd. Mississippi has Trent Lott. South Dakota HAD Tom Daschle. These senators from small states wield an incredible amount of power and it is astonishingly disproportionate to the larger states.

Yes, I know that’s how the framers of the original government set it up. Yes, I know the intent of the bicameral legislative body was meant to balance the power of the small states and large states. But something seems terribly out of balance when the collective voice of California’s 53 congressional representatives doesn’t amount to more than a squeak compared to one Pete Domenici or one Robert Byrd.

Now you might say it’s the fault of Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. The answer is to vote for a Republican senator from California. Hmm, great idea. And then we could wait around for that unnamed Republican senator from California to weasel their way into a position of power and influence to redirect more money back to our state. How long would that take? 10, 15, 20, 30 years? And what guarantee do we have of that happening? Are we going to pin the hopes of California’s future on one, or possibly, two, senators to fight against the entrenched dominance of a federal system that is already full of inbreds?

Isn’t the easiest way of cutting the purse strings to take away the purse?

Let’s understand something about California voters. They tend to vote blue with their hearts when it comes to social values. They tend to vote red with their minds when it comes to fiscal restraint. In an independent California isn’t it possible we could actually create a society that offered the best of both worlds? Really, seriously, California independence makes sense because our spending would be more in tune with the hearts and minds of Californians.

Would it be perfect? No. Could it be better than what we presently have? I think you have to say, “Yes.”

 

blue

Blue voters are almost as hesitant about secession as red voters. There is a fear among Democrats that supporting a California independence movement will further tilt the country against social political reforms favored by those left of center. But the alternatives may be just as frightening.

Not only are Californians seeing more and more of there taxes siphoned off to other, predominantly red, states, there seems no possible way to reverse this trend short of outright independence. That means California tax dollars that could go to better education and improved social services in our state will continue to subsidize pet projects and special interests in other, mostly red, states.

The fact is the influence of religious conservatives in Middle America and the South is growing. With Christian conservative families growing at a rate greater than 25% of urban moderate and liberal households, the voting influence of culturally conservative states will continue to dominate elections, politics and policy for generations to come.

Granted, California has a mix of conservatives and liberals like other states. But the make-up of our state is quite different than most others. The middle is bigger. There is a larger proportion of people in the middle who may be fiscally conservative, but are socially progressive. This blend of fiscal sensibility and social responsibility means California can build a future with the best of both worlds.

An independent California free of our tax subsidy for other states would be able to direct more of its wealth inward. The case can be made that we could cut taxes and have more money to support California’s educational and social structure at the same time.

I realize that most Californians, red or blue, don’t see the state of emergency right now. But what will happen down the road when we see more of our rights and freedoms taken away? What will happen if religious conservatives in other states introduce federal legislation banning stem cell research? That would be a direct assault on the mandate of California voters. What if religious conservatives decide to fight stem cell research in the federal courts and the case makes it all the way to a Supreme Court stacked with newly appointed social conservatives like Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia? That isn’t too farfetched.

Dr. James Dobson, the evangelical religious radio commentator, has already fired the first salvo in the Supreme Court debate by announcing that he will target vulnerable Democratic senators if they attempt to challenge Supreme Court nominees that are socially conservative. Dobson wields a lot of influence and the religious conservatives, who remember the failed nomination of Robert Bork, will have more fire power in their arsenal this time around. We might as well get ready for a Supreme Court that will make landmark decisions that roll back the clock on civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights and all other kinds of freedoms that are the hallmark of a tolerant society.

Consequently, the pursuit of an independent California may be the only alternative in providing a safe haven for people that want to protect their freedoms. The Christian conservative agenda wants to take those freedoms away and recreate a society in their own sanctified and sanitized image. When that begins to happen, even the moderates and non-religious conservatives will rebel.

The stark difference will be seen when the religious conservatives take over the FCC. If you or I are skipping across channels and we land on the 700 Club we exercise our right to watch or not watch. If the religious conservative skips through the channels and lands on something they think is objectionable, they DEMAND it be taken off the air. In a free society you can choose to watch or not watch. In a society dominated by cultural conservatives THEY are going to make choices for you. Just wait and see. The Christian equivalent of a “wardrobe malfunction” is a woman taking the bonnet off her head. Sorry, that may sound a little extreme, but my exaggeration really isn’t that far off the mark.

Recently someone chastised me for my "perceived" anti-Christian views and proceeded to pontificate about America being founded on Judeo-Christian values. Then when I went to his web profile I discovered that among his interests were porn, girls who can drink guys under the table and big booty b*tches—yeah, great examples of Judeo-Christian values. To top it off this guy’s idol was Andy Warhol—now there was a real Bible thumper! Good luck finding big booty b*tches when they make John Ashcroft the internet czar. So typical of religious hypocrisy. They preach morals and secretly watch Desperate Housewives.

Let me make this very clear—I am not anti-Christian. I believe that people of all faiths have the right to their personal beliefs and freedom of worship. Just don’t try to impose your faith on everyone else.

When it comes right down to it, I don’t think a majority of Californians—liberal, moderate or conservative—want to live in a society dominated by people who see things through the lens of the Christian worldview. Californians won’t stand for it. It’s just a question of how long it will take for people in California to see the emerging handwriting on the wall.