I’m tired of out-of-state politicians bashing California again and again. I’m not naïve to the challenges we face: crumbling infrastructure, a massive state deficit, a stressed education system, underfunded pensions, unemployment, water shortages and a number of other issues that dumbfound us all.
But here’s what I’d like to tell the California bashers:
That iPhone you used to tweet your displeasure with us? We invented that. And twitter too. And Facebook, Angry Birds, Words with Friends, Google, Gmail, eBay, Craigslist and more.
And that citrus and almond salad you just had? I’d bet my next paycheck the lettuce came from the Central Coast, the citrus from the Central Valley and the almonds from the North State. Oh and the wine you washed it down with? That’s ours too.
The TV show you watched while you ate it? Californians probably wrote, directed, produced and acted in it.
We’re also making amazing advances in medicine using biotechnology, developing cutting-edge alternative fuel technology and just landed a rover on Mars. No big deal.
And no matter what happens we’ll always have Big Sur, Lake Tahoe, San Diego, Monterey, Mt. Lassen, the redwoods, Hollywood, the Golden Gate, Mt. Whitney, the OC, Yosemite, the Sierras, the ability to surf in the morning and ski in the afternoon and the best weather on the planet.
California is home to so much that’s right with this country. We’re a diverse, quirky bunch. Weird even. And I like that about us.
We dream and think big. But more than that, we still posses a pioneering spirit that compels us to take that dream and turn it in to reality. We’re home to some of the greatest innovators and entrepreneurs the world has ever seen. When Mark Zuckerberg realized he’d changed the world did he go to Texas? No. He came to California.
We have a long way to go. It’s going to take a generation of leaders who check their egos and differences at the door and commit to solving our problems. I’m not convinced that generation has arrived but I see signs of hope. The answers aren’t easy and it’s going to take time but we can’t let the next generation grow up believing we’re anything less than we are.
Our greatness isn’t guaranteed. It’s fragile. And it’s easy to see gridlock and become jaded.
It’s time to stop feeling defeated and overwhelmed by our problems. It’s time to stand together, get to work and fix our state. Together we can do it. After all, we’re California. We’re awesome.