California Is Worth Fighting For

Is California a lost cause, politically? There are more than a few people making the case that it is, and that the only worthwhile vote for people who believe in common sense, freedom of speech, and property rights is the one they cast with their feet. More people are leaving California than are moving in, which is a new and dismaying trend.

But it’s not just businesses and families who are giving up on the California Dream. The birthplace of Ronald Reagan’s political career and spiritual home to freedom and westward progress is now a fully non-functioning one-party state, with a Democrat governor, majority Democrat state Senate, and a supermajority of Democrats in the state Assembly. In the upcoming November election, there’s no Republican candidate to choose from in 10 of the 24 open Assembly seats in Los Angeles County, and the Senate race is a choice between two flavors of doctrinaire leftists, Dianne Feinstein and Kevin de León.

The choice of metaphors to fully illustrate what we face behind the Blue Curtain is dizzying. Should I say that we are in the locker room at halftime down a ridiculous number of points, so many that officials have switched to a running clock? Maybe it’s more apt to say that we are a patient on an operating table who’s flatlining and the defibrillator is shorting out. Perhaps California Republicans are like a battered spouse, so broken by the roller coaster of punishment and reward that we have Stockholm Syndrome. Sadly, they all work.

Some experts say that the only way to return California to her former glory as a reddish state is let it all burn. Only then can Republicans rebuild, rising from the ashes like the fabled phoenix.

They’re wrong. California is worth fighting for, and the time to have that fight is right now, before it’s too late.

Lest you think, from your perch in a state with no income tax, or one where you can actually be a registered Republican and not worry about losing friends or your livelihood or even your health, that the sorry state of California politics doesn’t affect you, think again. Almost every bad idea in current American nanny statehood came from out west. When a state this big mandates that textbooks, for example, highlight the contributions of LGBT people, companies aren’t printing two sets of books. The entire country falls in line. When our legislators, “drunk on virtue” as Lionel Shriver says, ban plastic straws, bags and God knows what else, companies around the country trip over themselves to show their allegiance to the mighty once-Golden State.

And don’t forget that when all those departing California head to colder or more humid climes, they take their poor voting habits with them.

The most destructive thing my adopted home state does, however, is to encourage illegal immigration and fraudulent voting to such an extent that estimates now suggest that as many as 5 of our 55 electoral votes would be lost if we played by the rules.

For those of us who remain in California, however, this untenable lopsided governance cannot stand for a very simple reason—it’s no longer safe, or affordable. It’s also pretty close to no longer being fun to live here, and that is a crying shame. After emigrating from Jamaica as a child and settling in Florida, I came to California as soon as I could. Our amazing state—with its lack of humidity and flying bugs—has always been attractive to aspiring actors, creators and entrepreneurs, and used to evoke feelings of envy when others heard where you lived.

The natural resources we have plus the amazing (and very good-looking) people we attract should add up to a booming economy and vibrant, 21st century lifestyle. Instead, the streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles are literal cesspools, and we are afraid to walk anywhere lest a track-marked arm shoot out from one of the myriad tents that dot our sidewalks. Jerry Brown loves to point out that California has the fifth largest economy in the world. To paraphrase Bill Whittle, it’d be third if it weren’t being run into the ground.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, let me return to my bag of metaphors to give you good news. All is not lost. The GOP can and should turn things around and it can start today. We need to stay in the game. We need to not give up on the patient. We need to realize that we have a voice and we can use it to ditch our abusers.

Why am I hopeful? It is possible that I’m totally delusional. After all, I’m a mom of four who’s left her family for almost a full year in order to run against a Democrat incumbent in a district with 14.5 percent Republican registration. Only someone who can’t take no for an answer would do that. Then again, only someone truly stubborn would move to LA to become an actress and actually make a living for thirty years in TV and film, so I have that going for me. I don’t want to move away. I don’t like bullies, and I don’t want to let them win. Here’s the game plan:

Los Angeles is key. In raw numbers we have more registered Republicans here than in almost every other county in the USA. So what if we’re outnumbered? We are not alone. Every conservative living in California needs to realize that. It’s easy to think you are flying solo, since it’s likely that you have to hide your true thoughts and opinions from friends and co-workers. Why do you think Decline To State is a bigger registration identification than Republican? It’s so that people can keep their jobs. And remember: Even if they’re evenly split between left- and right-leaning, anyone whose response is “none of your business” is a friend of freedom.

Moreover, we are the home of many of the brightest lights of the conservative movement and of its great thinkers—Victor Davis Hanson, Kurt Schlichter, Bill Whittle, the late, great Andrew Breitbart, Thomas Sowell, and the editors of this magazine. Just the radio shows of Dennis Prager, Larry Elder, John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou, Jennifer Horn and others should remind you that the immutable law of supply and demand is at work here in La La Land.

Next, if the definition of a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged by reality, are we ever in luck! The State Assembly and Senate have let so many criminals out of jail; and reduced the definition of what used to be felonies; and Los Angeles and San Francisco have such feckless, pro-crime leadership, that new conservatives are being minted every day. My own campaign video tells the truth about what it’s like to live here now, and it’s not pretty. And because I’m part of the new Republican Party, it’s even available in my not-perfect Spanish. Normal people are noticing that the kids aren’t alright after all.

Even the entertainment industry, where the GOP ceded so much ground, has Gary Sinese (who’s group of closeted conservatives in the Biz still exists although formally disbanded in 2016), Tim Allen, John Voight, Patricia Heaton, Stacey Dash and others all willing to speak up against incredible odds. Artists and visionaries like Peter Duke (full disclosure—he took my headshots back in the late 80s) and Sabo are shaking up the establishment and making people think, which is the first step towards voting for freedom.

California has been the ATM for every politician in every other state for far too long. We even used our tremendous manpower to make millions of phone calls on behalf of Donald Trump’s campaign for president—into other states. It’s time for the physician to heal thyself and for the cobbler’s kid to get some shoes (I told you there were too many metaphors to choose from!). Pundits and putative expert commentators (cough, Hugh Hewitt, cough) have to stop telling us that our state is a lost cause.

If you want to make a real difference this election, find a conservative California candidate and send him or her money and share their information on social media. People are waking up all over the state to the fact that the good intentions of one-party rule have led us straight to a hell filled with encampments, lawlessness and unaffordability.

Miracles can and do happen. And in 1980, those college kids facing the Russian pros in one ice hockey game for Olympic glory weren’t told by Herb Brooks to let it go, to forget it, that no-one would think worse of them for losing when so overmatched. He said,

“Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here, tonight, boys. . . . Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them. And we shut them down because we can! . . . . This is your time. Their time is done. It’s over. . . . Screw ’em. This is your time. Now go out there and take it.”

California conservatives, it’s our time. Now go out there and take it.

Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

About Roxanne Beckford Hoge

Roxanne Beckford was born in Kingston, Jamaica. She was graduated from Davidson College with a degree in psychology in 1986, then arrived in Southern California in the late 1980s to become a working actor. She starting out playing Whitley's cousin on "A Different World" and continued to appear in television and movie roles even while marrying her husband and having and raising four children. Roxanne is the co-owner of an online retailer, and ran for State Assembly, in 2018, which was quite the civics lesson for a mom with a minivan.

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