Searching for the Future

  • Posted: March 25, 2021
  • Category: Blog
  • 1 Comment
Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Print pagePDF pageEmail page

There’s something going on in California. I’m not sure what currents are roiling the urban waters of the Golden State. Maybe my perception of a kerfuffle in the zeitgeist is a version of Carly Simon’s “clouds in my coffee”, simply the phantoms of spectral shapes given life by the misogynistic racism echoing in the empty spaces of my fascist skull cavity. But I do feel something is different.

It is easy for outsiders to make fun of California – and Californians. Out in fly over country as we look up at the contrails, the manners and customs of the Blue Coast balloon invite the needles of parody. But in our brief moments of honesty, we must admit those needles to be gripped with envious fingers.

I have always thought that God smiled when he made California. It is a land of milk and honey, a land of promise and plenty, difficult of explanation to those not there. Back in the day my wife and I began our life as a family in Southern California, spending ten good years in the San Gabriel Valley. What made us leave? A need to be closer to family, an uneasy feeling about the schools or simply a restless spirit drove our departure for Colorado some thirty-five years ago.

But in my time there, a sense of Ulysses among the Lotus Eaters always hovered in the background, although Ulysses and the Island of Sirens was probably the more apt metaphor. In any case, we made the move to Colorado in 1984 and I think my family is much the better for it, even though times were hard for many years before fortune smiled.

But the fact is, two of my children and their families moved back to California. And since my life now revolves around my children and grandchildren, I spend a lot of time in California. Which explanation bears witness to my familiarity with California and Californians through an intimate acquaintance of some fifty years. And from that perspective, I think there is something going on, something I am unsure of, something I hesitate to give a name.

When I follow my better half into the Target store at the Encinitas Ranch Town Center, outside the entrance I see the petitioners table, virtually a permanent fixture these 10 years past. But I am heartened to see that now instead of passionate Anthropologie clad waifs trailed by their hipster boyfriends in support of Greenpeace’s utopian fantasies, it is now fifty-something suburbanites seeking my signature to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom.

But then on visiting the California classic burger joint, In-N-Out, for lunch, my 7 year old granddaughter refuses to use their plastic straws “because she doesn’t want to kill the sea turtles”. And then I am whipsawed once more while indulging my retirement hobby of eavesdropping while my wife shops. It has been my experience that life as a domesticated old man confers a cloak of invisibility upon me, thus I am unseen when one suburban mom glances around to ensure privacy before confiding to the other, “I don’t want to send my daughter to XXX High because gay and transgender is the cool fad there.”

Those of us with too much time on our hands and too familiar with living in our head lose sight of life as it is lived. Those of us too familiar with the old ways are blind to the new world coming into existence around us. It might be wise of those who believe themselves wise to remember the truth in that near century old ad campaign, even though oft spoken in jest,– “It happens first in California.”

Back in the Reagan years I was a great fan of Tom Clancy’s books. “The Hunt for Red October” is still a favorite movie. The realities of submarine warfare were a recurring theme in the Clancy  novels. A submerged submarine at rest, silent and unmoving, saw its surroundings with great clarity using the ears of its sensitive sonar, but when the submarine moved, it was blinded by the sound of its own movement.

That simple, obvious and timeless truth has stuck with me. As my mother cautioned me years before, echoing countless generations of mothers before her, “Whenever you open your mouth, you’re ears close”. The same is true of pundits, social media influencers/followers and I am sad to say, blog writers. We are so busy talking, writing, thinking that we miss what is right in front of us.

I do try to heed this advice, difficult as it is. I can’t help but see my California children through the eyes of a father and grandfather. That rose colored miasma of affection colors my vision, but I do on occasion try to see through that fog of love and familiarity, that bias of expectation, hope and parental admonition.

I believe I speak dispassionately when I say that the California members of my family are decidedly Adorable, in all senses of the word. And it is their eyes and their hearts that experience this new emerging world with clearer senses than my own. I can only watch the wind in the trees and wonder at what it brings on its wings, in the sense that my own father watched me break free from our family’s life and traditions of the soil, shaped by uncounted generations of villagers and peasants that came before us, only in America becoming freeholders of their land.

Spending a few weeks in the California sunshine, away from the Colorado winter, I temporarily live in a bubble of California – idealized. North County San Diego is a really nice place. The weather is of course a Beach Boys melody. Range Rovers and Teslas abound as well as those of the German triumvirate, BMW, Audi and Mercedes. Houses are a mix of suburban California ranches and two-story stucco, with a million dollar price tag on “starter homes”.

On my more cynical days, I see North County as a 21st Century version of the pre-Civil War Delta South – a plantation economy. To be sure there are no slaves, but every week day, the plush neighborhoods of North County are flooded with landscapers, construction laborers and service people.

These folks, overwhelmingly Hispanic, manicure the lush landscaping, do the grunt demolition and construction created by North County’s HGTV driven need for “updating” as well as maintaining the infrastructure necessary to a North County lifestyle. It need hardly be said that these “service workers” do not live here, instead commuting long distances from less sedate and pampered enclaves where the lingua franca is not English.

The owners of these lifestyles and houses spend their days plying the professional trades and executive suites of Adorable America, our very own master class. Here in North County San Diego, the year of Covid was just a bump in the road if that. Salaried jobs continued uninterrupted even bringing a substantial perk with it, no commuting. Another bonus was the steep rise in real estate values and stock option values turbocharged by the flood of money from Washington’s frenzied printing presses.

But just as clouds have their silver linings, honey jars draw flies. The Year of Covid brought the shuttering of classrooms with the kids now “learning remotely”. To be sure there was a silver lining for some as the demand for nannies, au pairs, baby sitters and the like skyrocketed. Grandparents found themselves once more welcomed by their career driven children. It is difficult to move the world’s levers when harangued by a cranky 3rd Grader.

This particular fly in the ointment may be a worrisome loose thread threatening to unravel the seamless garment of the multi-ethnic, responsibly sourced and sustainable future proclaimed by those shills of the Progressive Left, the mainstream media. If the Adorable community holds anything sacred, it is Education, the Eucharist of the Adorable community.

The manicured yards of North County neighborhoods recently resembled a Spartan phalanx, with a shield wall of signs Supporting Black Communities. As the college education required to live in these neighborhoods inoculates against satire, the irony of these houses and their yard signs goes largely unnoticed. But now in 2021, there is an ominous breaking of ranks. These new signs, an outbreak of acne in these earnestly scrubbed politically correct streets, carry the message, “Back to School!”. This is a worrisome rumble in the well-kept suburban streets of North County, a citadel of the nanny state so beloved by Adorable America.

I remember my daughter calling and wanting to talk to me just prior to the 2016 election, “because I was the only person she knew who might vote for Donald Trump”. On Election Day, my son-in-law’s softball game was canceled because the players were emotionally upset, hugging each other and in tears over Trump’s election.

But last fall, I saw two families wearing “MAGA” hats at my daughter’s church. Things seem to have changed. This spring, most of the mini-mart newsstands in the area carry the New York Post rather than the New York Times, another new and surprising development. At the local Wal-Mart in North County, there is a busy table outside the entrance soliciting signatures for “Trump – 2024”.

In answer to your question, yes they do have Wal-Mart stores here. One of the more amusing sights in North County is a large and apparently thriving Wal-Mart sharing a parking lot with that outpost of Shangri-La in Adorable America – REI.

It seems there are fissures in the once monolithic political landscape of Adorable North County. Is it a San Andreas Fault or simply a sun-dried crack in the mud? Is it just here or is it elsewhere? It is hard to tell because there is a heavy pall of political correctness in North County. The people here have survived the rigors of the educational ladder and prospered in the shark tanks of Corporate America. They have taken the watchword of their grandparents in WWII, given it new meaning and made it their own – “Loose lips sink careers”.

But it may be of little consequence in any case. An outsider with too much time on his hands and too little to do finds entertainment in watching the onslaught of “service people” arriving each morning. They work long hours and they work hard. By and large they seem well mannered, friendly and sharing of casual chit chat with that invisible old man wandering around.

In many respects, I see my own grandparents in these people making the North County lifestyle possible. My grandparents came into this country as penniless Ukrainians, eager to make a new life. They worked as migrant labor until they could save enough to buy their own land. I think these “service people” are not so different.

These “service people” far outnumber those in the Adorable enclaves. I suspect they came here in search of a better life, not to be wards of the State or peons indebted to their Adorable patrons for their livelihood. Those comfortable with that life remained behind in Mexico or Central America.

And let us not forget that the Christian faith of these “service people” is a robust presence in their lives, not the sterile lip service of Catholic Lite or the Social Justice Methodism preferred by Adorable America. These “service people” might find abortion and rainbow flags a deal breaker. As the police retreat from their barrios, they might come to see the balkanized spoils system of Critical Race Theory as simply an American face on the corrupt and violent cultures they sought to leave behind.

Perhaps the future of California will be different from that envisioned by Nancy Pelosi and Kamala Harris.

 

 

One Response to “Searching for the Future”

  1. Judy Spreier says:

    Enjoyed your blog Bill

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Email Updates

  • Categories

  • What I’m Reading

    What I’m Reading

    The Twelfth Department
    By William Ryan

    What happens when we forget, or never bothered to learn, what we believe in and why we believe? What happens when the emotional whirls of Facebook and Twitter are the depths of our understanding? Evil, great evil, is regularly found lurking in the unexamined depths of good intentions. Mathew Arnold put our present political climate in memorable words years ago:

    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night

    Novels, good stories, provide a lens to see life, including our beliefs, without camouflage. As an example, JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the finest Bible commentaries ever written. Progressive political ideals may lack in recent electoral success, but have undisputed possession of today’s moral high ground. And while death and taxes may be the only sure bets, the eventual victory of those holding the high ground have very good odds in any battle.
    And so fiction provides a look at eventual victories. There is no question that the outlines of today’s progressive agenda can be clearly seen in other times and places. William Ryan takes us to a time and place fondly imagined, idealized at the time, by the forefather’s of todays progressive leadership. In The Twelfth Department, we see a police captain in 1930’s Moscow. Captain Alexei Korolev is just a man trying to be a good father, a good citizen, a good police officer. In many ways Alexei is a fortunate man, with a good reputation and many more material advantages than the average citizen. But a high profile murder brings him into ambiguous circumstances. The tone of the book is respectful of life in Moscow, with no axes to grind. It is just a portrait of a man trying to do his job, bringing a gruesome killer to justice, among ordinary human beings seeking only to live normal lives in a progressive paradise.

  • Recent Comments