Sometimes I worry that I am becoming a Gloomy Gus with all the negative stuff I write about our tarnished golden state, but I’m a regular Pollyanna compared to the most eloquent prose of Victor Davis Hanson. I was scouring the blogs earlier this morning and found this must-read link on Russ Steele’s site. http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/california-the-road-warrior-is-here/?singlepage=true I’d suggest reading the rest of my screed before you go to Victor’s, because after you read his you’ll probably want to kill yourself or sell everything you own (except for your firearms) and move to a cave somewhere in the tundra of Alaska.
Like the link says, Victor compares living in the Central Valley to Mel Gibson’s apocalyptic Road Warrior future, desolate and populated by roving homosexual biker gangs whose only purpose in life is to rape, pillage and find enough gasoline to get to the next scene of their raping and pillaging.
There are certainly some aspects of Hanson’s scenario I can agree with. On our recent road trip to the central coast, we first had to navigate our way through the valley to get there. We took a left on Highway 99 at Sacramento, which was once the main artery of north-south traffic before I-5. The old road is narrow and in many places resembles the aftermath of a meteor shower with craters and pockmarks. As soon as it was convenient we exited stage right to hook up with the Interstate, where we believed our journey would be expedited.
And it was, until we passed the urban wasteland of bankrupt Stockton. After that we passed field after field of dead orchards with signs blaming Pelosi, Reid and Boxer for stealing their water. We pulled over at Anderson’s for a bowl of pea soup, which was the last enjoyable experience we had on the freeway. Every mile or so I had to hit the breaks as traffic would slow to a crawl, speed up to 70mph and then slow down again. By the time we got off at Kettleman City I felt like I’d been beaten with a tire iron.
In comparison, traveling on Highway 1 around San Luis Obisbo was a piece of cake. Everybody drove humanely, at a much slower pace. There were a few signs of the recession here and there, but for the most part the coast towns seemed to be weathering the bad times without much pain. (And weather does have a lot to do with it. Who can be happy in bone-dry 110 degree heat?)
On our way back we took 101 north. The fertile fields were awash with the bounty of the land. Fruits, nuts, vegetables, and miles of vineyards stretching as far as the eye could see. If there is a shortage of water there, it certainly wasn’t evident. We passed by the turnoff to Hollister, where I was reminded of the birth of the outlaw biker legend when a gang of rowdies took over the town in 1947.
Which brings us back to the present, and a future that Victor Hansen blames on the progressive policies of an out of touch government that caters to the coastal elites. In reading the comments following his piece, there is much anger out there in the blogo-hinterlands, as in this gem from a Mr. Jack Mehoff: “California is getting what it tolerated. They deserve it. They earned, now they need to own it, and I’m laughing.” Why he is laughing is anyone’s guess, but then we don’t know Jack.
And it is one of the few things we do own in this debt-ridden state. I’ll agree that much of the blame goes to the heavy-handed Democrats in Sacto and DC, but an unhealthy amount should also be pinned on inept city officials who overspent and smooth-talking developers who overbuilt.
Like the coast, we residents of the hill and mountain country are somewhat insulated from the devastation of the valley, until we have to run the gauntlet. We ignore the ugliness, only stopping long enough to fill the gas tank and our bellies before continuing on our journey from one nice place to another. How much longer will it be before the ugliness comes up the road to our town? We ignore it at our peril.