Fur. Menthols. Gas-powered cars. K-9 dogs. Natural gas hook-ups. Oil drilling. Travel to “red states.” Firearm sales. Declawed cats. Gas stations. Background checks. Foie gras. Doctor’s advice. Thinking. Balloons.
These are just some of the things that California elected and appointed officials have banned in the past year or so.
Could we please have a ban on bans?
The reasons given for the bans are varied – Police dogs are racist, fur is cruel, gas cars and drilling will kill everyone on the planet, landlord background checks are, um, racist and poorist, guns are guns and guns are bad, giving money to Texas (ignoring the fact that thousands of Californians are literally giving all their money to Texas by moving there) is bad because Texas is a troglodytic cesspool, and doctors can only say what the CDC says they can say, no matter whether or not the CDC is wrong or stupid or evil.
On the flip side, admittedly, a number of things have been un-banned recently – loitering for prostitution purposes, jaywalking (because having to cross the street at the light is racist), shoplifting, dealing drugs, and standing on the sidewalk naked while screaming at invisible people and throwing feces at visible people – all of these are now essentially a-ok with lawmakers.
Putting aside – momentarily – the ideological/political “reasons” for the bans and unbans, a question must be asked of the various electeds at different levels of government: Don’t you have anything better to do?
California has a raft of actual real problems. Electricity, water, transportation, education, employment, housing, crime, debt – each of these issues – which just happen to be the basics of any civilized society since, well, civilization started – require intelligent, in-depth, sober (maybe not literally, that would be asking too much,) consideration if the state is to survive into the future with even a hint of the California Dream of the past.
Then why are the Powers that Fee spending so much time and energy on what can only be described as lesser – if not pointlessly destructive – issues?
A few potential – but still, for now, non-ideological – answers come to the fore.
First: way too much time to fill. One of the most compelling reasons for a part-time State Legislature is that it would compress the time available to be stupid. If a tighter focus is forced by limits and guardrails (a limit on the number of bills a legislator can bring forward in a session, maybe) it could lessen at the sheer number of just plain batty ideas being brought to the floor for a vote. You know, idle hands and all that.
Second: It is very easy. Writing bills and laws about declawed cats and racist dogs is simple. They do not require any work to justify beyond the initial idea and then, maybe, a quick Google search to find an example of something or other that supports your idea. Done and dusted and the legislator gets that inner glow of having accomplished something, even though they have not.
Third: Except for the actual hard work that needs to be done that is not being done because it is hard, there is not really much left that needs to be done. The state has a civil code, a criminal code, and election system, cops, teachers, firefighters, etc. – none of that needs to be invented (even though almost all of it needs to be improved). In a sense, the foundational work is done and – until Silicon Valley starts implanting everyone with brain chips – much of the rest involves the unglamourous difficult work of, for lack of a better term, renovating. The silly, the virtuey, the narrowcasted is what is left and can even be used as an excuse to avoid the real work.
In other words, much of what the Legislature has been turning out over the past few years has been the equivalent of looking at the massive pile of work on your desk, sighing, and playing just one more game of computer solitaire.
It is activity without meaning, unless it has political and/or ideological ramifications and then the silly becomes insidious.
Each of the bans – by their very nature – limit freedom, constrain people, and work to create a society that looks to its government – either in fear or in thrall or even anticipation – to solve even its most minor problems.
They do not address the core problems facing the state and serve only to distract from the true needs of Californians and delay their potential resolution.
The house is left to burn, but the mailbox gets re-painted.
If you are at all interested, here is a selection of stories – mostly from your very own California Globe – detailing many of the bans and unbans referenced:
- How Biden Can Win… and Trump and Newsom and DeSantis, Too - November 27, 2023
- About Last Week…California Democrats Seem to Know They Have a Problem - November 26, 2023
- Happy Decolonization Weekend! - November 23, 2023