Politics

Red California

“Daddy, let’s say hi to that guy!” my five-year-old chirped as my husband bumped down the road in our golf cart. My husband glanced over to see an older man watering his front yard with a hose.

“Sure, let’s say hi to that guy,” my husband happily obliged.

As my son innocently waved, the man with the hose turned to look, wave at the ready. Suddenly his arm stopped mid-wave and the gesture turned into a brandished middle finger pointed at my husband and his cartload of two- and five-year-old children.

A little shocked by this sudden hostility, my husband didn’t even give a second thought to his blue t-shirt with “Trump” printed on the front of it. He, as any busy parent of young children would understand, had thrown on the nearest semi-clean shirt available as he hustled out the door, shrieking children in tow. He wasn’t trying to make a political statement with his shirt, he merely wanted to be clothed in public.

You may be thinking, You live in California, what do you expect? But surprisingly enough, we are in an extremely pro-Trump area. The middle-finger-wagging man is actually an anomaly here. Even in the surrounding areas there are large numbers of Trump supporters. I recently read an article that states the president has raised more money in California than all but two of the Democrat challengers. Most of these donations have been in small increments, meaning less than one hundred dollars at a time. These donations are coming mainly from the Central Valley, the suburban segments of Southern California, the Inland Empire and the rural north. This comes as no surprise to me, as driving through the center of the state on the way to Northern California I have seen nothing but signs supporting President Trump.

A man I admire very much, Victor Davis Hanson has accurately described California as the United States’ first third-world state. One of the characteristics of a third-world country that he cites is two, rather than three, classes. In California we have the wealthy elite and the poor or working poor. There is not much in between. Certainly, where I live, I see a struggling working class and the unemployed. The workers work long, often odd hours, have kids to raise, little to no childcare options—which typically results in one parent staying home with the children. If they are lucky, they may have the older generation (grandparents) to help out. This group of people are likely responsible for some of the small incremental donations mentioned above. They are lucky if they can afford a twenty-dollar donation, as the state sucks them dry with more and more taxes on their hard-earned money.

California was not always a reliably Democrat state. From 1952 through 1988, Republicans won every presidential election except the loss of Barry Goldwater in 1964. So before you respond to stories about California’s demise with proclamations of “Burn California!” and “You get what you vote for,” or otherwise damn the entire population of California, take a moment to think of the poor souls who watch their votes go down the drain each election as their voices are drowned out by the clamor of the out-of-touch ruling class.

And when you see a young child eagerly waving from a golf cart…just smile and return the wave.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Shelly Mateer

Shelly Mateer is a former CIA officer and author of "Single in the CIA, Mission: Stand Down" and the "Mingling in the CIA" series, as well as a children’s picture book, “Mommy Thinks She's a Monster.” She's also the creator of the Cooking in the CIA app and the BurpMitt® product line. Her books are inspired and influenced by her experiences working undercover for the CIA's Directorate of Operations.

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