Independence is California’s Best Solution to Trump
By: Jay Rooney
In the new year, Californians will face a very real existential challenge to our way of being. This challenge will come in the form of an unprecedented, unchecked conservative attack on California values. The social safety net that has protected us for decades, the efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change (of which California has been a world leader), the civil rights of our fellow Californians… all will be under direct and immediate assault by Donald Trump. And here’s the rub: it’s an attack paid for by the people of California.
California Is Under Attack, and Californians Will Pay for It
As Trump and his cabinet lay waste to America—as they fulfill their promises to gut the EPA, cripple public schools, and capriciously launch another devastating war—Californians everywhere will open their wallets and foot the bill. Currently, our Federal taxes contribute almost $60 billion a year in direct subsidies to other states (in fact, the same states that elected Trump), and pour more money into the military than any other state. For every dollar we Californians pay in federal taxes, we only get $0.78 back. In other words, for every hundred dollars that comes out of your paycheck for Federal tax, twenty-two dollars goes to support states which, time after time, vote directly against our values.
So , California will be bankrolling Trump’s frightening, destructive agenda. Yet over two-thirds of Californians—67.2% of them—did not vote for him. And because we’re so under-represented in the electoral college, an electoral vote from California has only a third of the voting power as an electoral vote from Wyoming. Despite a record shortfall in popular votes—driven in large part by California—Trump won. We couldn’t stop him, because the system is stacked against us.
Is this fair? Is this right? Is this acceptable to you? If not, then let me present you the best—really, the only—viable way forward: California must declare independence from the United States and become its own country.
An Independent California Would Flourish
The upside is enormous: we’d be free to build a new government—a real democracy—that represents our interests and reflects our values. We can do away with America’s clearly broken and dysfunctional two-party system and adopt proportional representation, so all Californians can have a voice in how their country is run.
We’d have greater control over our own resources. Independence would free up money to finally upgrade our leaky water infrastructure and invest in desalination and other technologies that will help us meet the water needs of cities and farmers, while addressing important environmental concerns. We could make meaningful investments in clean energy, and conduct critical climate research without being stymied by science deniers like Trump and his posse.
We could create our own humane, sensible immigration policy that shields our innocent, hard-working brothers and sisters from deportation. San Francisco is on the verge of losing over $1 billion in federal funding over its status as a sanctuary city—wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to cut services that help Californians in order to stand up for our values?
An independent California would be in a better position to grow her economy, protect her people, and defend our natural environment. Really, why wouldn’t we aim for independence? California is more than a state: we are a nation. We have our own unique history, identity, values, and culture. We are the world’s fifth largest economy (bigger than the UK), and our population is larger than Canada’s. We can absolutely make it on our own. In fact, independence could even abate California’s perennial budget crises, since the $60 billion a year we pay in subsidies to other states would instead stay in California.
Independence Is an Attainable and Realistic Goal
Despite what naysayers may think, it’s actually quite viable. It wouldn’t even take a constitutional amendment; at most, an act of Congress would do the job—and if comments from leading Republicans are any indication, they’d be more than willing to let America’s economic engine go for purely ideological reasons.
Those who invoke the Civil War as an argument against independence overlook the fact that the world is much different today than it was in the 1860s. We are part of a global, interconnected civilization — the US declaring war on California would not only decimate their economy, but would also violate their treaty obligations to NATO and the UN. This was not the case during the civil war.
Furthermore, the UN Charter — of which the US is a signatory — explicitly lists political self-determination as a human right. Since the Constitution says that signed treaties are the “supreme law of the land,” the US would have to recognize and allow an independent California.
And, of course, the fact that the United States exists demonstrates precedence for Californian independence. If the United States can exist as its own political entity, then so can California. Those who disagree should renounce their American citizenship and ask the Queen for a British passport.
You Can Help Create an Independent California Republic
If an independent California sounds exciting to you, I invite you to join us at the California National Party as we work for our independence. We are a grassroots political party; a movement by Californians, for Californians, pursuing independence on a progressive platform. Our goal is a California Republic that takes care of its people, protects the environment, and inspires the world—for example, did you know we are the only political party that makes ending homelessness in California a priority?
We’re growing quickly—as of last month, we’ve counted nearly a thousand new members, with 7,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter. We have chapters throughout California—including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Marin, and Sonoma for the Bay Area—all growing more each day. We are completely member-funded and supported, and we need passionate people to help do the hard work that will ensure our success.
All Californians are welcome to help out. If you’re interested, be sure to read our platform and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. When you’re ready, join the movement for independence here and help us #FreeTheBear!
Jay Rooney is a California National Party member and spokesperson based in Berkeley. You may follow him on Twitter at @RamblingRooney.