The Not So Golden State

My wife and I have been gone from California for going on six years. Neither of us particularly miss it.

Sure, we miss the beauty of California, I particularly miss the hills and mountains. The sight of Mount Tamalpias, seen from southern Sonoma County where we lived a quarter century, in the gloaming with commuters hurrying their way home is an image I’ll always have as a touchstone. We miss the majesty of the ocean. We miss a lifetime of friends. But we don’t miss California, for what it has become.

The first time I wrote, in these pages, about what a cluster California was turning into, was seven years ago. But I had been writing in various forums and venues about it for a couple of decades. It was a long slow march, the road to Progressive Utopia. The change was so gradual that, living in the middle of it, most people barel\y noticed it until some outrageous event or another happened. Over the years I wrote about things that most people ignored that now, in hindsight, I was ahead of the curve.

Lately I’ve been seeing more and more groups popping up in social media of California ex-pats, and people who want to be ex-pats. So many of them are seeking greener pastures where life is simpler and the boot of government is a little less heavy. Businesses large and small are moving away, and the shift in population out of the Golden State can best be described at this point as an exodus. In the period between 2010 and 2020 California had a net loss in population of 1.3 million, and as of the 2020 census, it lost a seat in Congress as a result.

In many ways the past decade was the exact reverse of the great migration to California during the Depression and World War 2.

So it was the other day, as I was reading the tales of more people leaving the Golden State, that I ran across a piece titled Thoughts from a Recovering Californian. Written by Anne Mason at the Sacred Osiris blog, it’s received a ton of pop since it was published, and rightfully so. The author, who came to California in the first decade of this century, settled in San Francisco and later across the Golden Gate in Marin County… hmmm, sounds familiar. As a non-native she only saw the changes over the past couple of decades, but those changes profoundly impacted her and her family to the point that they felt compelled to relocate to Texas. I imagine that she feels a good deal of the bitterness and betrayal that I feel as a California native born in the 1950s and as someone who knew California in its glory, with its limitless opportunity, before it was ruined.

But, in her conclusion, Ms. Mason notes discovering the same thing we did… there is an entire, better, world outside of California that is not fouled up beyond all repair like California is. We have found that better world in Wyoming, after watching our first home outside California, Nevada, getting ruined like California already was, only much faster.

I truly hope that those who’ve reached the end of their California Dream; like Ms. Mason, like my wife and I, like more than a million others in the past decade, can find their way out before the state, inevitably, collapses both economically and socially. There really is a land of hope, full of friendly people and prosperity outside of California.

We will welcome you.

Leaving_California_sign - *CUP

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