“You know what would make America better? If California would just fall into the sea.”
I received this insight when I asked for questions after a Tulsa Oklahoma Rotary Club presentation on how businesses were making money going green.
That comment is not unusual. Over the years working across America's Heartlands, I have heard pretty negative opinions on California.
Maybe the Golden State is listening to the feedback?
Last week California’s Secretary of State qualified a ballot initiative that will allow Californians to vote on leaving the Union. Think: Britain and their vote on leaving the EU. Fittingly, the press is calling the ballot initiative CalExit.
That might seem like the deal of the century to Heartland Americans. But is it?
CalExit supported by a third of Californians
For those of you who like our wines or Disney movies, please know that CalExit is still below the radar for most Californians. But with the election of Donald Trump, it is gaining support.
Look no further than California if you are seeking a reason, other than voter fraud, for why President Donald Trump did not win the popular vote. Nearly 9 million Californians voted for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Our president got less than 4.5 million votes in the state. If all of the 2 million to 3 million fraudulent voters President Trump is investigating had voted in California, he would have still lost the state’s popular vote.
Before Trump's election, 1 in 5 Californians would have voted for secession. The newest polls show a third of Californians would vote to leave the Union. And this is before President Trump has done anything measurable like messing up California’s booming economy or challenging the state’s ability to control its own pollution. If that happens? CalExit could pass with a huge majority.
Is CalExit good for you?
Here is how I answered the Tulsa gentleman’s comment that America would be better off without California.
I asked him if he likes ketchup with his fries. He did. I pointed out that 90 percent of all tomatoes are grown in California.
I asked if he thought we should be using drones to kill terrorists when it was safer than putting our best and bravest in harms’ way. He did. I shared with him that General Atomic, headquartered in San Diego, is America’s drone tech leader.
Not wanting to put him on the spot more than I was enjoying, I then listed the following as reasons why losing California may not be such a good idea for America:
- California is the fifth largest economy in the world. Its economy is twice the size of Texas, the second largest state economy. Only China, Japan, Germany and the U.K. have larger economies than California. And California has figured out how to grow its economy while also reducing pollution.
- California is the world’s technology innovation center. Silicon Valley is now focused on developing artificial intelligence, predictive software and the Internet of Things. These technologies will enable Heartland America to build smart factories and restore their region as a global manufacturing center.
- California is the world’s movie capital. Much of digital gaming is headquartered in California. Mea culpa, our San Fernando Valley is the world’s porn movie capital. But for better or worse, it is California that drives America’s global brand image. California is also the reason, along with football, that we love our big screen TVs.
- California is a breadbasket to the U.S. and the world. It is the world’s fifth largest supplier of food and agriculture.
- California produces more oil than all other states other than Texas and North Dakota.
- California pays more money to the federal government than it receives. In case you are wondering, the five most dependent states to the federal government are Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee.
How about returning to a UNITED States?
Have we really come to a point where California might vote for secession?
United, we are pretty awesome.
For example, if you haven’t visited Tulsa recently, you should. Millennials, moving into its downtown, are providing the underlying support for Tulsa’s new in-town housing, innovative restaurants and the coolest minor league baseball stadium in the country. I know many of these millennials. They are trying hard to help their state adopt sustainable practices like solar and farm-to-fork dining.
I lived in Atlanta for 20 years. For me, Atlantans define what it means to be gracious and caring.
I was born in St. Louis -- full of good, straight-talking folks you can trust. And where else in the world can you get toasted ravioli?
The point is that we have more going for us than against us. For the most part, we like and admire one another. We should.
With only a population of around 300 million, among 7 billion, we have built the largest economy in the world. Our air and water quality is the envy of the world. Our military is the best because our bravest are dedicated to world peace and service to others. (God bless and protect them.) While the world continues to harm and discriminate because of race, religion or sexual orientation, we stand as diversity’s beacon proclaiming that all human beings have value.
Come on Californians, Heartland Americans, President Trump and Congress, let’s vote for healthy children, clean air and water, more and better paying jobs, respect for all and a safer world.
Then let’s work together to make it happen.
Image credit: Flickr/Alex
Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!