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When the party is over

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
October 9, 2003


"Disguise fair nature with hard-favoured rage: Then lend the eye a terrible aspect." — William Shakespeare

I'm glad the recall is over. It was making me crazy. Not only was I unhinged by the thought of Governor Schwartzenegger I was near certifiable. I'm over it now. This is not to say I am not worried. Worried doesn't even come close. Frustration and a sense of impending doom are fueling my dark mood. Arnold is merely the catalyst.

What bums me out most is the systematic dumbing down of the electoral process and a complete disregard for the seriousness of our situation. Voting seems almost counter intuitive, as it encourages the continuation of a corrupt and dysfunctional political system. As voters we are offered few choices other than those imposed by the Republican/Democrat duopoly. Apparently at odds with each other, they are still share the same vision, a vision that is failing the people of California.

Perhaps we are failing ourselves?

As I sort through emotional baggage created by the recall. I keep asking myself. "Where is this anger coming from?" Why the feral reaction to Arnold's efforts to replace Gray Davis? His films aren't that bad, in fact, some of them are even good. No, my anger was coming from that Twilight Zone place, where it seems the world is amiss and you're the only one who notices. William Shatner and the gremlin come to mind.

But I'm over it.

Instead of being angry at the inevitable chaos, I will simply accept it for the Karma it is. Californians elect the Governors we deserve. Perhaps this too is a natural progression of a state built on false promises. If stars blind us, so be it. Sooner or later historical blindness will be a luxury few can afford. Until then we might as well enjoy the "circus."

Now it's just a matter of timing and "I told you so."

It is also time for local municipalities start preparing to fend for themselves. As state and federal governments continue on the path of self-destruction. Those of us living in California must find ways to get by with less. Downsizing seems the right thing to do, as does upgrading. So yes, government should spend less and tax less. But it also means we should consider population limits in keeping with available resources. If we want sand on the beaches, clean air and water, safe communities, and stable economics all of us must be willing to sacrifice our collective sense of entitlement.

California is in a crisis long in the making. There is a way to mitigate for future market downturns and cultural calamities. Trusting big government to do anything, except make it worse is certainly not it. The recall is reason enough for Californians to demand fair elections and proportional representation under the law. California needs a parliamentary system where governance better reflects the diversity that is California. Have we failed ourselves by settling for less?

I keep asking myself, "What next?" "What's next?" And, "what the point of worrying about it anyway?" Governors come and go. Some do some good. Others do more. None however have found a way to steer California's ship of state towards the safe harbors of economic integrity and environmental sustainability. Until there is a fundamental change in our priorities, the state of California will continue down its current path to ruin.

Stargazing seems to be a priority, as does winning at all costs. Ecological destruction also seems to be a priority. Perhaps another priority should be reinventing government to better reflect shifting demographics and an expanded political discourse. As citizens we have no one but ourselves to blame for continuing to support the failed paradigm of two party politics. Locked in a love/hate symbiosis, insane budgets are batted around like toys while lives are marginalized as a matter of policy, and insecurity becomes the norm.

I know it doesn't matter but I plan to give the Governor a chance to prove my pessimism wrong. I maybe in shock, but its all I can come up with. I've been asking for change and it seems to have arrived. Let's hope things do get better and our Golden States regains it shine and we all live happy ever after.

How's that for a Hollywood ending?

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