For former Californians like me, our days consist of at least two head shakes whenever news of our former home state crawls across the transom. Almost every day, there’s a report out of that beautiful state that generates pity and bemusement at the latest outlandish event.
Last week we learned a billionaire venture capitalist finally accomplished a dream by getting enough signatures to put a measure on the ballot asking voters if they want to divide California into three states.
Tim Draper, the iconoclast behind the plan, understands the state is a disaster, but only Californians would think that the solution lies in making more Californias.
After all, that’s like thinking you’ll help your crazy uncle, who keeps trying to set the house on fire, by cloning him instead of getting him to the doctor.
We all love California, and want it to be saved. Yes, to rescue our own memories but also to bring back the freedom and possibilities a state like California offers to the American people.
Draper explained to Fox News’ Tucker Carlson that the current California government is “failing our kids, it’s not safe here, a lot of homeless people, a lot of big problems, the education system is just about the worst in all 50 states … so it needs a revamp and a restart.”
He’s right, but his litany of problems was brought on by liberal policies, not because the state is too big.
“California isn't circling the drain because it’s too big to govern. The state is a basket case because ruling Democrats have an unquenchable thirst for emptying the prisons, enabling an exploding homeless population and jacking up every imaginable tax,” said Johnny Phillips, a columnist with the Orange County Register and host at KABC Radio in Southern California.
“Since the 1990s the state and its voters have drifted far to the left,” Phillips added. “I fear that splitting the state into three would just give Democrats two more states to wreck and four more U.S. Senate seats that they would use to inflict more damage on the rest of the country.”
In his interview with Tucker Carlson, Draper confirmed Phillips’ concern. When asked why the rest of the country would allow the creation of a bunch more Californias, Draper explained: “The rest of the country will want to do what’s right for California. It takes up the same landmass as 15 states on the east coast, the population is the equivalent, an average of six or seven states. It’s appropriate to have California represented by at least three states.”
There’s the confession – California should have six senators because it’s big. And that is exactly the argument the Founders knew to thwart if our union was to survive.
Equal representation matters – especially when there is a disparity in size and power. You know, just in case a state got big, went crazy, and became a volcano of horrible ideas that could ruin paradise while banishing people with opposing viewpoints.
More people might be persuaded if we could name the new states “California,” “Bride of California,” and “Califormageddon.” All in the name of transparency, of course.
Draper is clearly more of an idealist than a realist. He told Carlson: “I think these three new states are going to empower people, to realize what’s possible in government, and then all these governments will realize they can do a better job. Then they could compete with one another down the road for citizens.”
To be a venture capitalist one needs to be a visionary but also an optimist. Draper is a registered Republican, a supporter of school vouchers and was an early investor in Skype and Tesla. He, like your humble columnist, was also involved in the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger during his first run for governor of California. That, too, was a visionary leap of faith, ultimately betrayed by someone who was thinking more of his housekeeper than he was of his responsibilities to his family and constituents.
We all love California, and want it to be saved. Yes, to rescue our own memories but also to bring back the freedom and possibilities a state like California offers to the American people. The only way that’s going to happen is when her people decide they deserve better and kick the bums out of Sacramento who are ruining that great state with awful policies. But they’ll need a champion like Draper to help them do it.
Instead of trying to divide California into three states, Draper should be working to unite the state and improve the lives of its people. He can do that by working to elect officials at the state and federal level who will replace far-left Big Government policies with sensible government that respects individual freedom, reduces the huge tax burden on Californians, and -- if I may borrow a phrase -- will Make California Great Again.