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In favor of secession

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In favor of secession

Secession is the only credible course of action for a state as cool as California.

Secession is the only credible course of action for a state as cool as California.

Edgar Soria Garcia

Secession is the only credible course of action for a state as cool as California.

Edgar Soria Garcia

Edgar Soria Garcia

Secession is the only credible course of action for a state as cool as California.

Mark Fernquest, News Editor

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I may not surf, smoke pot, be transgender or ride a skateboard, but by Goddess I’m as Californian as you can get.

I spent my privileged and misguided youth hiking the open, Oak-studded coastal foothills bordering Silicon Valley, in the shadows of Koko the sign language-speaking gorilla and the atomic Stanford Linear Accelerator and Ken Kesey and his acid-eating Merry Pranksters.

Freedom runs through my veins like electricity through a silicon wafer.

I’ve always been a secessionist at heart. And lately, what with the situation in Washington, that secessionist urge has been crawling up from my heart towards my mouth. It wants to express itself, and I fear if I don’t let it, I will just up and puke. So I’m putting my pen to paper in hopes it will incite a movement.

Blasphemy? Perhaps. But here goes:

California lies at the far western edge of human civilization and as such is the last human frontier. It’s an experiment in culture, technology and economics. It’s where things get born. It’s the crucible of the future.

This I know because a college professor explained it to me at UC Santa Cruz one fine day in 1991. I knew it was the truth then, and I doubly know it is now 28 years later.

Scarcely burdened by the cultural and historical baggage of our forebears, California’s a place where we can break with tradition, innovate, experiment and, dammit, live good lives (housing crises be damned).

We Californians have forged ahead for decades to create the counterculture, to form new religions, to experiment in new ways of living, to embrace yoga, acupuncture, meditation, didgeridoos and hang drums, to brew good beer, to create new industries, and to surf and ride skateboards and bikes in the heart of the warm summer sun.

California has long been the laughingstock of the rest of the Union. People make jokes about the People’s Republic of Berkeley, the hippies, the queers. But those who make fun of the Golden State fail to acknowledge just how powerful and important it is.

It’s time we had the last laugh.

California’s economy is the largest in the United States, with a $2.9 trillion gross state product as of 2017. As a sovereign nation, California would rank as the world’s fifth largest economy.

How do we do it? We know how; so let’s own it. We do it by kicking ass across the entire economic spectrum.

I could bore you with numbers, but this is an opinion piece and that goes against policy. JK — hard facts are required, but dammit, numbers are boring, and I’m on a roll here.

We grow shit-tons of lettuce, garlic, almonds and fruit. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California’s farms and ranches received more than $50 billion in cash receipts for their output in 2017.

We write shit-tons of code. The statistics portal Statista claims California’s information technology sector produced $242.65 billion in 2017.

We produce shit-tons of video games; The Hollywood Reporter insists 900 California-based video game companies employ more than 33,000 workers and comprise a large portion of the state’s $32 annual billion software publishing sector.

We ferment shit-tons of grapes. Yes, Sonoma, I’m talking about YOU. The North Bay Business Journal reported that total U.S. retail value of wines produced in Sonoma County alone was $7.6 billion in 2014! I wonder what the hell it is now?

We entertain shit-tons of tourists. Sonomacounty.com reports visitors spent a record $132.4 billion in California in 2017. Imagine how much that will increase with thousands of miles of additional beach lining the newly-formed California East Coast? (Read on, friends — you’ll understand)

We make shit-tons of porn. While the gross annual sales of the California porn industry are not known, Dan Miller, managing editor of AVN, a porn trade publication, says, “The safe estimate is to say it’s worth billions.”

We brew shit-tons of the best beer in the world: According to the California Craft Brewers Association, craft breweries contributed $7.3 billion to the state’s economy in 2016, up from $6.5 in 2014 — AND the industry supports more than 49,000 jobs across the state.

All that, and we’re still sitting on a helluva lot of liquid dinosaur bones. Oilprice.com says the petroleum industry’s total economic value for California is larger than that of 15 combined other U.S. state economies (I don’t know which 15 states they are, and quite frankly I don’t care).

As for the marijuana industry, I wouldn’t dare belittle it with statistics. While I’m not an advocate of marijuana use, I’m proud to live in the pioneering heart of the global marijuana industry. Let’s be honest: Marijuana is as Californian as…silicon wafers.

So, how will the plan for nationhood proceed?

We will elect a Person of the People, our own Prezident. A California native. Someone born with freedom running through their veins. Someone like…me. This person, this Prezident, will declare our independence from the greater Union and sign trade agreements with the newly formed Greater Pacific Rim Economic Matrix. S(h)e will mint a new currency, the CALI, and peg it to our GDP.

Our brave soldiers will head east, to repel hostile Union forces on the Nevada Front. When time permits — perhaps during extended ceasefires — they will dig a moat the entire length of the border. With the aid of precisely-positioned, deep-earth eco-explosives, discrete earthquakes will systematically shake our new nation completely off the North American tectonic plate, to float further west, into certain glory. Our National Sea Force will moor California to the ocean floor 25 miles off the Nevada coast, establishing it, irrevocably, as an independent nation.

I mean, border wall, schmorder wall. There won’t be a border wall issue when the southern border of our great nation opens onto the San Diego Strait now, will there? Furthermore, San Diego Beach will be an open port for all Mexican nationals. Why? Cuz that’s how we roll. Free passage to Nevada on the next high-speed ferry awaits anyone who doesn’t like it.

So, laugh away, America. Laugh as California comes not just untethered but altogether unmoored and floats towards a greater future. Just try not to choke on your Cheetos® — because this time we won’t be there to perform the historical California Heimlich that saves the Union.

Will I be accused of treason by the Federal Trumpocracy for proposing this? I don’t know. I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.

Secession is the way to go.

California Forever!

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About the Contributors
Mark Fernquest, News editor

Mark Fernquest is in his first year at Santa Rosa Junior College. In his second semester at the Oak Leaf, he is now News Editor.

Edgar Soria Garcia, Illustrations Editor

Edgar Soria Garcia is a journalism major in his fourth year at SRJC, with hopes to transfer to CSUF in 2020. In his second semester at the Oak Leaf, he...

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