What Happened to the California Dream? originally appeared at Speak Out California.
How long have people been making fun of us left-coast, tree-hugging, frisbee-tossing, granola-crunching, animal-loving, tofu-eating, yoga-practicing, peacenik eco-nuts?
The thing is, people are starting to realize that all of these ridiculed things are good for us— and for the country and the planet. They are the right choices.
Sure, everyone had a good laugh. But it’s a few years later now and the consequences of years of bad choices are catching up. People who mocked tofu-eaters and Frisbee-tossers are realizing they don’t want to be fat and out of shape–some are even dying of heart attacks and diabetes. Granola and tofu are good for you, especially compared to the fast food, meat and white breat that were being eaten in their stead.
And what about the eco-nuts? They aren’t looking all that nutty today, are they? The people who laughed about tree-hugging econ-nuts are spending $60 to fill their gas tanks and worryng about their coastal property values declining as the water rises. Meanwhile Californians are driving hybrids in proportions greater than the rest of the country. Who is laughing now?
California used to lead the way. It used to be the “conventional wisdom” that innovative, inspiring and progressive ideas came from California and spread across the country. But unfortunately California also led a national wave of conservative-inspired tax-cutting. We ate our seed corn, and allowed our schools and legal system and highways and other crucial infrastructure to deteriorate. And rather than pay taxes we racked up debt.
But we learned from that and now California is waking up. We just tossed out a Congressman for trying to get rid of the Endangered Species Act. We are standing up to the big oil companies and demanding fuel economy and air quality standards. We are standing up to the big tobacco companies and pioneering smoking bans in restaurants and bars. California is pioneering stem cell research. And we are working on finding the way to providing universal health care!
California is beginning to lead the way again.
So the next time you hear someone laugh at people for doing something you know in your heart is the right thing to do, remind them that bad choices eventually lead to bad outcomes.
And, by the way, now that we are living with the alternative, that whole “peace and love” thing is looking a whole lot better, too. Oh yeah.
(Photo with permission)