Throughout my time as the California National Party’s press secretary I’ve spoken to journalists from all over California, the United States, and the world. Through these conversations, I hope to persuade the media — and by extension, the readers that trust them — that independence is the best path forward for California.
Of course, this is a tall order when advancing such a bold (but by no means novel) idea as Californian independence. The reporters, editors, and producers I’ve talked to run the gamut from friendly and curious to doubtful and even hostile, but the one thing they almost all have in common is that they feel independence is impossible, or at least highly implausible.
Not that I blame our media friends for being skeptical. After all, we’re an unorthodox upstart advocating an unorthodox solution — it’d be strange if they didn’t doubt us! But it does mean that before we can even begin convincing our fellow Californians on the merits of independence, we must first convince the media of its feasibility.
The one exception to this rule has been the international press. Reporters from Europe, Australia, and South America have reached out to us, and the articles they’ve produced display an open-mindedness, fairness, and positivity of a caliber I’ve yet to encounter stateside. And I believe I know why.
For I’ve also noticed that these articles are invariably accompanied by photographs of California’s most iconic people and places — the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hollywood sign, Arnold Schwarzenegger — and point out that California is both the tech and entertainment capital of the world. I don’t feel this is a coincidence.
California holds a very special place in the world’s imagination. Mention California, and people — even if they’ve never visited — visualize sunny beaches lined with palm trees, giant redwood forests, tumbleweeds blowing across crimson-skied deserts, cable cars climbing foggy, rolling hills, and (of course) Disneyland. My wife (a fifth-generation Californian) talks about how when traveling abroad, people’s eyes light up whenever she tells them she’s from California. Mention California’s history and people’s minds travel from the gold rush through the birth of the film industry, from Haight-Ashbury in the 60s to the tech miracles of Silicon Valley. The Californian Dream is imbedded in humanity’s consciousness, and people worldwide know it’s the place to go to fulfill your wildest aspirations.
And now, in the dark days of 2017, when a new breed of violent, reactionary nationalism has engulfed democracies in Europe and America, California stands out as one of liberal democracy’s last remaining bastions — a place that not only embodies and nurtures progressive values like freedom, equality, inclusion, and social (as well as environmental) consciousness, but also has the means and strength to defend these values against the authoritarian assault emerging from the White House.
This world of ours, distraught by a global resurgence of extremism, is pinning its hopes on California to save not just itself, but also democratic values. As America — once the world’s guardian of freedom and progress — sees its institutions, ideals, and integrity crumble under a big, orange thumb, people worldwide are rooting for us to assume the mantle as the model and influence for the values we hold dear.
For if we Californians become independent, we will have it in our power to preserve these values. We can provide for our citizens and our land without interference from thousands of miles away. We can set an example in areas like immigration policy, trade policy, and civil liberties. And once we take our seat at the community of nations, we can positively influence the world by being a leader in climate action, equality, and innovation — hell, we can even launch our own damn satellites, as Governor Brown proclaimed.
The world knows this — which is why we don’t need to convince international media that independence is possible. It’s almost beside the point, in their view — the world wants us to succeed, because the world needs us to succeed. We are the world’s greatest hope against the rising tide of oppression.
So, fellow Californians: when we get tired and exhausted during the fight for independence, when we feel worn down by our work and by the upcoming resistance from the status quo, when the Trump Administration has shocked and awed our spirit and our sanity, remember that we are not alone. We can take heart knowing that we have friends and allies in every corner of the Earth who are watching us closely, crossing their fingers, and supporting us however they can.
Even though they may be far away, they are still standing with us as we bring about the ultimate California Dream: a free, democratic, and independent California Republic.