In the last few days, the Governator (a Republican!) has come forward with vision and with ideas. And he knows that California, the 5th or 6th largest economy in the world, with 37 million people, can be a leader and shape the national agenda.
The things he's proposed:
- More schools.
- Healthcare for all Californians--including illegal immigrants.
- New dams.
- New infrastructure.
- Reducing carbon emissions.
- Fixing electoral boundaries ("The Hapsburg monarchy had more turnover than the California legislature" was a witty line).
Etc. etc. etc. Quothe the Governor:
Not only can we lead California into the future, we can show the nation and the world how to get there. We can do this because we have the economic strength, we have the population and the technological force of a nation-state.
Exactly. I was not a fan of Arnie, mostly because he claims he's a Republican (though reaction to his proposals is far warmer from Democrats than from Republicans here in California). But I'm starting to be proud of him. And some of his rhetoric is good for us out here, so routinely ignored or denigrated by Washington. As the LA Times wrote on Monday:
California has its problems. None of us can deny that. But we're working to fix them. We're progressive and dynamic. We can ski in the morning and sun in the afternoon (I've done that). We have San Fran and San Diego, two of the nicest cities in the country. We have LA which, for all its stucco, sprawl, traffic, and smoke, is a dynamic and diverse city that goes far beyond the Hollywood stereotype. We have our beach cities, we have our northern cities. We have mountains and deserts.
"What a prosperous, peaceful, golden state in which we live and work and raise our families," he said. "We should never forget the joys and blessings of being Californians." Around the world, he said, people "ache to have what we so often take for granted."
And it seems now like we might be getting some vision to go along with all our blessings.