…Ditto the rest of the West Coast. Also, the world, come to think of it.
Let’s stop calling Donald Trump’s batshit, frenzy-stirring, war-mongering, down-and-out-the-most-dangerous ever rhetoric toward North Korea anything but what it really is: A double-dog dare for Pyongyang to start lobbing warheads, whatever kind they have, at LA, SF, San Diego… hell, he’d probably settle for Santa Barbara.
Why? He wants us to die.
Doesn’t like our kind. Doesn’t approve of our ways. Doesn’t much care to know how we do it. He has, as a celebrity, as a candidate and as a president, been so routinely rejected and roundly rebuffed by the Golden State that he would like nothing better than for us, our money, our electorate, our curve-setting power, our tasty swells and our delicious tacos to disappear for good, evaporate.
I remember once upon a time, somewhere along the campaign trail last summer, old line conservatives comparing Trump to Reagan. Both were celebrities before they were politicians. Both possessed some kind of “outsider” charisma and charm and staying power and both were considered relative rubes when they entered the political arena, men who could generate a lot of buzz but likely to not be taken seriously.
On the surface, maybe. Sure. But scratch just beneath that and you couldn’t come up with a more disparate pair of animals than Trump and Reagan—and most of it boils down not only to substance over style, but good vs. evil. While Reagan was a legitimate star of both big and small screens, Trump settled for cameos in soft porn and sequels. While Reagan was a self-made son of a itinerant alcoholic shop clerk who moved his family from town to town in northern Illinois escaping bill collectors and landlords, Trump’s father was a slumlord who chased people of color from his Queens tenements.
Reagan worked his way through college, got a job as a local sportscaster and found his way into film and later politics. Trump lied and cheated his way through school, dodged the draft, was given what amounted to an honorary undergraduate degree before assuming control of the family empire, hitching his wagon to the shadiest of advisors in Roy Cohn, who taught him the dark arts of burning bridges, suing enemies into submission and taking advantage of the little guy. Over the past three decades, Trump has been involved in 4,095 lawsuits. That’s an alarming one lawsuit every 2.6 days of his adult life.
These lawsuits include branding, trademark, defamation, contract disputes, casino-related. campaign-related, employment, golf course, tax and government, personal injury, real estate-related and sexual harassment claims. He is not one of, but THE most litigated-against man in the country; the country he happens to be attempting to run.
Reagan, a man of letters who read voraciously and kept a meticulous journal, accounting for every day in office, vs. Trump who stumbles through words scrolling through a teleprompter like someone who’s trying to read aloud the ingredients of Mountain Dew.
Reagan, the seer of seers, the man who evoked the shining city upon a hill—a place of rampant tolerance, opportunity and forbearance—a man who didn’t believe in building fences or walls, but working on our mutual problems had this to say, in a truly Californian way, of the neighbors we welcome across borders.
…Versus a man who grabbed xenophobic middle America by the miserable pinky-white flabby mass of turkey necks and shook them into a white nationalist fervor with the chants of “Build a Wall’ in the places where no immigrants dare to… much less want to live.
Reagan was a product of halcyon California: Los Angeles and its fecund endless pastures that touched on the shores of Malibu, rows of bungalows splashed with the red of Spanish tile rooftops, perfumed in hyacinth and tucked among the citrus groves in Orange County, the wide open spaces of the as-yet untouched Santa Barbara coast.
In the late-’90s, I worked as a clerk at a map store in Century City. Even in his dotage, Reagan could be spotted, rain or shine, on his daily cordial past the Brentano’s books and the farmers’ market, plucking cherries from green baskets, shaking hands of proprietors and passersby and embracing children.
Reagan was essentially California, bright, optimistic, full of hope and varnish garnished with a little bit of fiction—and always looking to improve on yesterday with a better tomorrow. Trump is decidedly anti- our values because, frankly, he not only couldn’t make it, but isn’t taken seriously here. Since Trump took office, he has hovered only east of the Mississippi rallying the miserable, suicidal base with his cries of doom and destruction in Ohio, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee and New Jersey.
…Not even close to California. Not even two time zones away. In fact, he’s only crossed the Mississippi once and that was for Iowa.
Look at this map below. The area in color is where N. Korea’s missiles can reach. Coincidence?
California is the nation’s most populous state with 39 million residents. It is also the wealthiest, with a $2.4 trillion GDP in 2015. Our economy is ranked 6th in the world behind the United States, China, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom and slightly above France and Brazil (Russia is a distant 12th). Because of our population and power, we are traditionally one of the first stops for an incoming president. We are the nation’s bellwether in policy and promise. For his part, the only acknowledgement thus far in this administration that we exist is Trump’s dismissal of us as “out of control.”
Contrary to what he claims in light of his staggering loss here, that he did not campaign in California, Trump did visit the Golden State on the campaign trail. Last summer, he made stops in the Bay Area and Central Valley, the prior sparked violence at a San Jose rally in June. Only in the valley, California’s Bible Belt rife with Evangelicals, did Trump’s stop go smoothly.
All modern presidential predecessors have made California a priority stop within the first six months of taking office. In May 1977, Jimmy Carter visited Fresno to address the drought. Reagan came home to vacation at Rancho del Cielo, a 600-plus-acre spread in the Santa Ynez mountain range just above Santa Barbara in July, 1981. George Bush visited San Jose in April 1989. Bill Clinton couldn’t wait to get to Silicon Valley in February 1993. George W. Bush took time to stop in Los Angeles in May 2001 and Barack Obama twice visited California during his first seven months of office.
If Trump has done one thing, besides demean California, it’s threaten us. One of his first actions after taking the highest office in the land was to say he would remove federal funding if California voted to become a sanctuary state. “If we have to, we’ll defund,” he said. “We give tremendous amounts of money to California.” The federal government spends some $367.8 billion a year on California and economic studies show that’s between 78 and 99 cents on the dollar what Californians pay in. So while we are giving a proportional amount/more than our share (as opposed to the aforementioned states Trump has visited—all of them but New Jersey on the take), we are ostracized for it.
Of course, his ill-advised immigration plans from the wall to the Muslim travel ban to whatever the fuck Stephen Miller was talking about last week, wants to put an end to all pretense of civility, light and fairness that California has come to represent for those who come here.
By May, barely one in four residents here said they approved of the job Trump was doing, according to a poll conducted in by the Public Policy Institute of California. The support for Trump in California shrinking faster than his cerebral cortex as he continues to degrade and denigrate necessary dissenters like our former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, current governor Jerry Brown and former attorney general/current freshman senator Kamala Harris. These folks along with outspoken lawmakers like Ted Lieu, Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff are thorns in Trump’s side. They speak frankly and plainly about the fate of a union that needs our state to be whole. When that doesn’t appeal to the current occupant of the White House’s better judgement, they acknowledge that California and Californians will continue to create commerce, protect her residents and stand up against the tyranny coming from the Oval Office, perhaps at a grave cost.
It was obvious when Trump spoke off-the-cuff about unleashing on North Korea Tuesday, inadvertently naming the next Fast and Furious sequel “Fire and Fury”, that he knew they would point their cannons directly at his own worst enemy, California. “North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” he said. “They will be met with the fire and fury that the world has never seen. He [Kim Jong-un] has been very threatening beyond a normal statement. And as I said, they will be met with the fire and fury and, frankly, power, the likes of which this world has never seen before. Thank you.”
Here’s an idea: Trump and his supporters, including the Twitter bots, billionaire oligarchs, Fox & Friends propagandists and puffy, miserable whites who vote against their own interests in hopes of getting separate drinking fountains again, can all go live on Guam, North Korea’s purported practice target as they’re ramping off to send bombs across the Pacific. Guam residents, come on over and you can help us rebuild our democracy, our standing in the world and the planet… And while we figure out how to get back to normal with a California-first attitude, Trumpists can face down the scorched earth results of all their rhetoric, misdeeds and hatred as they continue to live their best lives as living, breathing, post-fact, tolerance-, healthcare- and education-free Onion headlines.
Oh, and as for not giving a shit about us in the interim, on behalf of the almost 40 million strong whose lives are now threatened by your baseless carelessness, we now say fuck you. Thank you.