"The history of Liberty is the history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of the limitation of governmental power, not the increase of it." — Woodrow Wilson
2004 is going to be a bumpy ride. Call it instinct or paranoia, hope or hesitation, I feel a fight coming, and it's going to get ugly. As our daily lives continue to be color-coded perpetual orange fear mongering has become a domestic product.
Determined to undermine civil liberties in the name of national security, neo conservatives are having their way with citizens of the United States. Using lies and innuendo, the ruling corporate dictatorship wants everyone to know the world is a darker place, while they systematically turn out the lights. Which makes it that much easier to loot, rape and pillage the planet in the name of free market capitalism.
Did I say it was going to be a bumpy ride?
As the "Either you're with us or you're against us" dichotomy further undermines civil discourse along the home front, growing tensions are bound to erupt. The current name-calling is only the beginning. We all know there will be marching in the street. What then? When does anti-Bush become anti-American, sedition or treason?
Who we are as a nation of states will be decided amidst the Bush Administration's "War on Terror." Really a "Campaign of Fear," we as a people must resist the call to panic. Beneath the spin of Homeland Security and international hatred there is a chessboard of political intrigue fit to frighten children. Oil is the main game, and the people of the Middle East and Persian Gulf nothing more than pawns in a geopolitical game of lifeboat.
A presidential election only adds to the chaos. Free speech will be tested as never before. As Californians we must remain diligent to the possibility a Federal government willing to drop a billion dollar arsenal on an impoverished nation half way around the world to further it's long term interests might not have the best interests of California in mind when making such decisions.
Here at home a war on terror will also be waged. Globalization is already being felt by those unable to find work. Tax cuts will trickle down to spending cuts on essentials such as education and health care. And yes, many children will be left behind. Environmental regulation will continue to be dismantled which will further anger concerned Californians, encouraging environmental activists to speak out and take to the streets beside those marching for an end to Iraqi occupation and those demanding economic justice.
With all this in mind I have decided my new year's resolution will be to adopt the mantra "California First." Both vague and focused it will shape all considerations. Local issues dictated by state legislation will move to the forefront of this dialogue. Housing, population, immigration, transportation, agricultural and wetland preservation, are issues Californians must figure out for themselves.
With his 100-day grace period coming to an end, I will once again turn my attention to Governor Schwartzenegger, and his attempts to right the ship of state and steer it away from bureaucratic malfeasance that typifies state leadership. Something tells me Arnold will not bring the change he promised, only more political posturing that would accomplish little in promoting economic and ecological sustainability.
As the rest of the nation spins under control of an unelected President and his cabinet of corporate cronies, California must stay strong. Not only do we need to put our own house in order, we also need to take the lead in protecting our civil rights because the federal government has the exact opposite in mind.
With that said, my resolution for 2004 is "California First!" Bush can mess with Texas all he wants, he just needs to keep his greedy friends (Arnold not included) out of the Golden State.