Getting Back From Cali, back from Cali, gettin' back from Cali, I really think so...
My wife and I flew back to California earlier this month to attend to some family issues, a memorial for her sister and the graduation of our grandson from high school. It was definitely a double edged sword. It was great getting together with family and friends that we haven’t seen in a year or more. My wife’s other sister and her husband made the trek out from Colorado, and 2 of her nieces came all the way out from Maryland to join her other niece that lives in Marin County. We enjoyed a fantastic cruise on San Francisco bay aboard the 3 masted schooner Freda-B (named after my wife’s mother, which can sometimes be seen in McCovey Cove during S.F. Giant Games) where we deposited her sister’s ashes in McCovey Cove so she would always have a place at her beloved Giants home games. To top it off we saw some whales on the return trip. For my money it’s the best way to view San Francisco these days, from the bay, because no one that I talked too wants to actually go into the city anymore. We stayed for a week before flying home to North Carolina. While it was great being back in California, the rolling hills of Sonoma County, Bodega Bay, the bay cruise, everything brought back fond memories and more than a touch of homesickness, still we became anxious to go back home. For myself at least, the old saying of “it’s a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there” was especially true. It makes me both sad and angry that the one party state government of California that has turned the most (in my humble opinion) beautiful state in the union into a cesspool, of drugs, crime, homelessness and quite frankly despair. It disgusts me. Everywhere we went, every store we shopped at, most of the people had scowls on their faces, they all seemed decidedly unhappy. The draconian and stupid covid restrictions inflicted on the people of California seem to have taken their toll, you still see a great many people wearing their face diapers. In Ca hardly anyone says hello to you, and if you do say hello to someone, they look at you like you’re some kind of freak, wary of becoming a victim of one of the many crimes that go unprosecuted these days, there’s no trust of strangers anymore. It was interesting talking with some of the left leaning members of my wife’s family. One of the things that have constantly perplexed me about liberals, especially older ones, is that back in the 60’s they were all for freedom of speech, were absolute defenders of civil liberties, and never trusted the government, the establishment. Nowadays it’s the exact opposite. The vast majority of leftists now embrace what can only be labeled as an authoritarian regime, believe that censorship of “misinformation” is a good thing, and that the weaponization of the justice department against half of the country is justified, civil rights be damned. Anyway, I refrained from entering into political discussions for the most part, because I didn’t want to start any fights during the short time we were there, we wanted to enjoy the time, not spend it arguing. So what happened came as a bit of a shock, when one of my wife’s nieces and I got into a discussion about the whole trans-women in sports issue. Her and I have had some rather spirited political debates in the past, and I braced myself for another one, but it didn’t happen. Instead, we had a respectful and peaceful talk, it was very refreshing, and gave me hope that maybe the worm is slowly turning. I also talked to my brother in law about R.F.K. Jr and his recent statement where he said he believes, as do I, that the C.I.A. had his Uncle John assassinated. I thought this would be a safe topic to broach as he is a diehard Democrat, and therefore might be inclined to believe what RFK Jr was saying. It was the exact opposite! I thought to myself, here’s a liberal who has said on numerous occasions how he mistrusts the government, saying that he doesn’t believe the C.I.A. could be capable of something like that. Once again worms are turning, and bizzarro world, keeps getting more and more bizarre
I was very happy when we got back home, the first thing I did was to fetch my dogs from the kennel they were staying. They reacted like they had been released from prison, even though the boarding kennel where we kept them did a phenomenal job, even providing a video feed so I could check in on them, which I did constantly. Marie and I were very excited that our grandson flew back with us to stay for a week, but I think he experienced quite a bit of culture shock. For a 17 year old kid, the difference between suburban California and a small rural town in N.C. is quite extreme, and sad to say, he was very happy to get back home. That was disappointing to say the least, we had planned to show him some of the beautiful parts of N.C., but because Marie came down with a stomach virus that laid her up for 4 days, and him staying up till 1 or two in the morning and then not getting up till noon, our plans never materialized except a day trip to Nags Head, which even I thought was mediocre (even though in the space of a week, we had visited both coasts, which was kinda cool.) We had hoped that he would embrace the low key N.C. lifestyle, but I think a couple of things sort of blew his mind. First was the climate, the heat and humidity that is vastly different from the Bay Area. The other was cultural, now don’t get me wrong, my grandson has never uttered a racist word, on the other hand I’ve never seen him with a black friend, simply because the black population where he lives is around 2 percent, here its over 50 and being in that situation for the first time had to have somewhat of an effect, black culture is very evident here, but what’s also very evident here is the way people get along, the racial thing is not ignored, we all just get along. In California the subtle racism, that blacks are somehow inferior and need the white man’s help has become ingrained in their liberal society. I’m not saying that that sentiment doesn’t exist in Carolina, but with the southern Bible belt mentality that pervades here, I believe that it is not the engrained brainwashing that California suffers from.
I chatted briefly with a neighbor after we returned home. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how moving to N.C. from California was like moving to a different country. It’s more than a bit sad when some Americans think other Americans aren’t worth the time to understand. In N.C. there is a visceral dislike, especially among the older, conservative leaning citizens towards Californians, “I wish an earthquake would make California fall into the ocean” is something I’ve heard more than once. In California a lot of people think every white person from the south is either a redneck, hillbilly or married to their cousin, and southern culture is beneath their dignity. Looking at both, they couldn’t be more incorrect. There remains a lot of good things about California, the weather, Northern California with its forests and mountain ranges, the California coast is incredibly beautiful, and there are a lot of hard working, moral, God fearing people still there, granted a lot of them have moved out of the state, but there are great people who haven’t forsaken the state just yet. One thing I noticed, is to a certain degree Californians have become spoiled by abundance, and don’t have an appreciation for what they have been blessed with. We walked into a grocery store that we used to frequent and I couldn’t help but smile, fresh produce, good meat, an amazing variety of products that we just don’t have in N.C., and yet there are all these people with frowns and scowls on their faces, unappreciative of their blessings. As far as the perception of N.C. and the south in general, west coasters couldn’t be more off base. Yes, there are rednecks and hillbillies. Guess what? California has more than a few of those as well. The idea that southerners are somehow backward and ignorant, intolerant and bigoted is ridiculous. As I wrote before, Tarboro’s population is over 50% black, if you follow the thinking of west coasters, you would think there would be race riots every other weekend. For instance, in California, especially before we left, there were dozens of “Black Lives Matter” bumper stickers and yard signs, (usually put there by white liberals), in N.C. I’ve maybe seen half a dozen of them but at least those people were black! I truly believe California could do with a good dose of southern hospitality and southern sensibility, but with Ca having a one party, liberal controlled government, their downward spiral will undoubtedly continue. Despite what Governor Hairdoo thinks, or his attempts to gaslight people, the facts just can’t be ignored. According to the census bureau, Ca ranks first in poverty. Data from the federal government shows that over 25% of America’s homeless, approximately 130,000 people are in Ca, with Los Angeles county alone having over half of those people at around 70,000, the majority of whom are unsheltered. California can boast of having the highest marginal individual income tax rate of 13.30%, compare that to North Carolina’s rate of 4.75%. Other facts include the office occupancy rate in San Francisco at 39% meaning 60% of office space is vacant. Mayor London Breed can make all the excuses she wants, saying that S.F. is not the hellhole the media portrays it as and yes reported violent crime is down, but property crime is way up. With the city’s population dwindling that kind of makes sense, there are fewer people to violently victimize, and the criminals that are still there are robbing and stealing more because of the insane policy of not prosecuting any theft under $1,000. Open air drug markets and the almost 8,000 homeless people, many of whom suffer from serious mental health and substance abuse problems, have made one of the most beautiful cities in the world into a dystopian nightmare. Instead of reallocating money to deal with the mental and substance abuse problems of the homeless, they spend money to basically enable them in their destructive behavior. For instance, in Rohnert Park where we used to live, a homeless camp was moved from the street to an empty lot, where they were given new tents, and (this is a good thing, I’ll give them that ) outhouses. Until the state government stops incentivizing the homeless to come to Ca the problem will obviously persist. North Carolina homeless population as of 2022 was around 9,000 which calculates out to around 1.5% of the total homeless population, I haven’t spent enough time here to say definitively what N.C. does that is different than Ca, but it's obvious they are doing something right, the fact that N.C has had a net increase in population of approximately 250,000 since 2020 says they are doing something right. Compare that to Ca which has seen a net decrease in population since 2020 of 500,000 people, for perspective the entire state of Wyoming has a population of 580,000.
So to sum it all up, the saying that Ca is a very nice place to visit, but you don’t want to live there, at least to my thinking, is true. I encourage everyone to visit Ca, especially Northern California, see the wine country and visit Safari West, where my daughter, son-in law and grandson work, take a cruise on the Freda B, take a trip up the coast from S.F to Ft. Bragg, check out Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta National parks, there is so much to do and see that will amaze and astound, and like I wrote earlier there are still great people in Ca. I don’t want it to fall into the Pacific Ocean, I pray the state can change and revert back to its once revered status as the go to place for everyone. Only the people can do that, and unfortunately, with the iron grip the Democrat party has on elections I don’t see that happening anytime soon. So that leaves only prayer to save this once great state. Pray for them, they certainly need it.
Rock On California Survivors, (my thoughts and prayers are with you)