During a recent stroll around the west steps of the state Capitol, I eyed a group of “Yes California Independence Campaign” handing out the state flag. The flag contains a wonderful image of a bear that harkens back to the 1846 “Bear Flag Revolt,” when residents of Alta California declared themselves independent of Mexico for a few weeks. The revolution was rendered meaningless after the U.S. government raised its flag at Sonoma.
Unlike a well-publicized past effort to chop California into six separate American states, these “Yes” folks actually want the Golden State to become its own, independent nation. Such an idea would have been mocked out of hand before the Brexit vote, but the national media — always looking for some local angle on an international event — have been reporting on burgeoning independence movements in California, Texas, and elsewhere.
“What about the U.S. Constitution?” I asked one of the group’s friendly supporters. The group would call a constitutional convention and craft a new one. U.S. independence movements typically try to get out from under the thumb of an overly oppressive federal government. Given the left-wing politics of California, here’s a movement that would appeal to those who think the federal government isn’t nearly meddlesome enough.
At first, I recoiled at the type of constitution that would result from a series of town-hall meetings in places such as Berkeley, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and Santa Barbara. Then again, the independence folks might want to spare their time and money. As worthless and unprincipled as the California Republican Party has been, its disappearance from the political scene over the past couple of decades has meant that Democrats can do pretty much what they want without any pushback. Why rewrite the U.S. Constitution when you can gut it legislatively?
In June, I reported on a bill that would have criminalized think tanks and corporations that questioned the current dogma about man-made global warming. The bill died, but it’s amazing so many legislators were supportive of a direct assault on the First Amendment — even if the assaulting was done under the guise of “unfair competition laws.”