The contradiction of Cal-exit
Views 88 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 2 - 14 - 2017 | By: Cameron Lee
Though many people threatened to leave the country when Trump was elected, a group of Californians are intent on actually doing it – and taking the entire state with them.
Members of “Yes California” are now collecting signatures for a petition to get the ball rolling on a Scotland-style national referendum, claiming that California’s values and economic interests would best be served if it were to part ways with the 49 other states. As appealing as it might sound to go our own way, “Calexit” would be a major step backwards for the values that many of its proponents claim to hold.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that California is a liberal powerhouse in U.S. politics; our state’s 55 electoral votes have not gone to a Republican candidate since 1988, and 38 House Democrats represent Californian districts. This level of political clout may not be sufficient to guarantee that Californian liberals will always get their way, but it certainly shifts national political discourse a bit farther to the left than it might be otherwise.
Many Californians are genuinely worried that the Trump administration will show no compassion toward undocumented immigrants, no regard for the rights of American Muslims, and pose a military threat to the well being of people in other nations. If this concern for others is sincere, then leaving becomes unacceptable; to secede is to abandon the people we claim to care about, as it seems unlikely that their causes would gain greater support if a large group of liberal voices were no longer part of the conversation.
Even though independence would allow California greater autonomy to promote progressive values within our borders, it would give us absolutely no control over which issues are tackled in the United States as a whole. Leaving the country would prevent us from electing officials who will provide strong opposition to military engagements with high human costs and little purpose. Climate change will not be managed because California alone has limited emissions; we need to get the rest of the nation on board as well. Proponents may tout Calexit as a progressive victory, but the real winners will be the conservatives who can now pursue their policy goals without interference from “California liberals.”
With that in mind, it may be worth noting that Louis Marinelli and Marcus Evans – the founders of Yes California – do not quite fit the model of “California liberals.” Two years ago, both Marinelli and Evans were registered members of the Republican Party, and Marinelli campaigned against the legalization of same-sex marriage as a member of the National Organization for Marriage until 2011 when he had a change of heart. While plenty of people change their views over the course of time, it seems rather unlikely that Marinelli and Evans would be the sort of progressives who are so troubled by the political trends in the US that they would consider secession to be the only option.
Though I assert that secession is not an acceptable choice for California, I concede that my objection is purely rooted in concern for the well being of those outside of our state. Though Calexiters (questionably) assert that California would be more economically prosperous without ties to the US, to do so would be to selfishly pursue our own interests while abandoning those who we claim to care about.